In a marvellous feat of engineering, a large, 1935 Tudor-style house has made its way from Oak Bay in Victoria to a waterfront property in Paradise Cove near Saltery Bay.
Towed by Nickel Bros from the lower Vancouver Island area to the qathet region, the move went seamlessly.
Eva Stuart, new owner of the home, said she became interested in the house because of its style. She said she and her late husband, who passed away last September, purchased the house together.
“We both liked the classic look,” said Stuart. “We have a lot of antiques and this house just fitted our taste. It’s maybe a bit bigger than what we would need but that’s the way it came.”
The house is 6,100 square feet in size, including the attic, which is finished, and is 900 square feet.
The house has beautiful style and a beautiful look, according to Stuart. She said it was previously situated on the waterfront in Oak Bay.
“Our property is waterfront, too, so it is definitely built for the waterfront,” added Stuart. “I am looking forward to living in it.”
Stuart said she and her husband took ownership of their Paradise Cove property last August. When they made a deal for the property last May, they started looking for a house that could be repurposed.
The perfect house was found on the internet, on the Nickel Bros website.
“We had been keeping our eye on the Nickel Bros. website for quite some time,” said Stuart. “Rather than building, which is very expensive, and takes a long time, especially with the shortage and prices of materials, we decided to buy a recycled house. It was just a matter of finding the right one. It’s absolutely perfect.”
Stuart said she and her husband moved to Powell River last August from Abbotsford to live in the Tudor home.
“We sold our farm,” said Stuart. “We had 60 acres and we moved over here. It’s a beautiful community here and I really like it. I wish my husband was still here. He would have been very excited about it. He was a contractor, also, so he would have been in his element with this new house.”
Stuart said Nickel Bros, the movers, are wonderful people.
“They didn’t go the extra mile for me, they went miles and miles,” said Stuart. “They worked nonstop to put that house on land in very unfavourable conditions.
“They had to wait until 4 am for the high tide and the wind was quite strong so the barge was difficult to keep steady, but they did it. We were all exhausted, but it was worth it.”
Stuart said people need to know there are other options than building in terms of owning a house.
“You can recycle a house,” said Stuart. “You can have a beautiful house. If no one had bought this house, it would have gone to a landfill. For me to replace this house with a new one, the cost would be at least three times what this one cost.”
Given its age, the house even has accommodation for a butler, said Stuart.
“I guess I’ll have to be in search of a butler,” she said, laughing.
Moving a mansion
Nickel Bros general manager Casjen Cramer said the move was intricate, given the size of the residence.
“Mansions don’t happen very often,” said Cramer.
In order to get the house off the Oak Bay property, Cramer said Nickel Bros had to map out the seabed in Oak Bay. They went to the extent of having divers in the water and used lines off the barge to put anchor points on rocks to micro-adjust the barge to its final position.
The barge used for the move is massive and has a 70-foot ramp on it. Deck space is 54 feet by 240 feet. The house weighed 220 tonnes with the moving gear underneath it.
Cramer said there were two other houses on the barge that came to the qathet region along with the Tudor house. He said winds are the movers’ nemesis and they had a big blow on delivery day. He added that throwing a 40-foot tall building on the barge, it’s like having a sail.
“We were within four hours of cancelling the move due to wind,” said Cramer.
However, conditions subsided to the point where the move could be carried out. It took two hours to get the barge into position for the offloading at Paradise Cove.
Cramer said the house was off-loaded on Stuart’s property in the early morning hours of February 27 onto the pre-excavated site. A foundation now needs to be built to support the residence. Once the foundation is built, the company will return to lower the house onto the foundation.
In terms of the size of the house that was moved, Cramer said it’s in the top five per cent.
“There was two months of planning and two months of execution,” said Cramer. “The move was completely uneventful. The interior has a few cracks in the drywall but the house is in pristine condition. Eva is thrilled.”