House Beautiful: Cordova Bay home inspired by French country estates

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    House Beautiful: Cordova Bay home inspired by French country estates

    High above the sugar-white, log-strewn beaches and paddleboard-traced waters of Cordova Bay, a house stands on a cliff framed by vast evergreens and a view that seems lifted from a Tom Thomson painting.

    It’s the home of Ernie and Yvonne, who found a forested and pristine two-hectare property 25 years ago and decided to build a forever home there.

    Inspired by French country-style estates that they had admired while travelling in Europe, the waterfront home’s landscape also has the flavour of Tuscany and the English countryside. In the hot months, it is pungent with the scent of white roses, lavender and rosemary.

    A descending drive leads to the front door and opens onto a large circle, edged on one side by a high stone retaining wall and on the other by a porte-cochère.

    In the middle, surrounded by creamy hydrangeas, flowering cherry trees and scarlet begonias, is a pond and fountain with three giant, spouting, bronze carp.

    On the far side of the circle, the driveway leads round a corner, opening onto a spacious, hidden courtyard bounded by a high privacy hedge.

    The owners originally built three garages as part of the house, but several years later added a coach house across the square with room for a future caretaker suite above. Below are four garage doors leading into a large workshop, double-deep parking spaces and lifts for Ernie’s collection of rare cars.

    The 8,000-square-foot house is oriented toward the rising sun, the San Juans and Sidney…

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