House of the Week: A Samuel Maclure Island Estate
If you can focus on the view and not the upkeep costs, this maybe the spot for you.
Price: $2,000,000 Details: Main House 11,671 sq/ft. 6 Beds, 7 Baths
Neighbourhood: Quamichan Lake, Vancouver Island (near Duncan)
The Skinny: If you were a big wheel in turn of the last century British Columbia, you had Samuel Maclure design you mansion for you. He built houses for B.T. Rogers (of Rogers Sugar fame), James Dunsmuir (his “house” is now Royal Roads University), and he also built the original Government House in Victoria. His stock-in-trade was Tudor behemoths and this “forgotten” property north of Victoria is textbook Maclure—huge scale, lots of wood and lots of land in a gorgeous setting on Quamichan lake outside Duncan. It seems to have been built in 1911 for a man named Robert Musgrave, but any further historical details seem lost.
The Pros: You’re buying a house by the most famous architect practicing in the West before 1950. You’re buying 17.85 acres on the water of a very pretty lake. There’s a tennis court, and there are numerous outbuildings (some of which are modern). The woodwork and stained glass work alone would probably cost a large portion of the purchase price were you to try to recreate them today. And best of all, the house has a name—Grove Hall—and that name is emblazoned upon the period gates that guard the long drive up to the main house. All of this for the price of a crummy house on a 33ft lot in Dunbar.
The Cons: In a word—maintenance. The original building is huge and it appears to have the original leaded glass everywhere. That alone would add up to an enormous heating bill every winter. And while some of the period rooms look perfect, the kitchen and the bathrooms and some of the bedrooms need a definite, and pricey, overhaul. Also, 11,671 sq/ft sounds sounds awesome, but wait until you have to do something like replace the wiring or refinish the floors and see what the bill comes in. Ditto maintaining 18 acres of grounds–you’ll need a gardening team to help you keep it in check. Also, while Quamichan is a really nice little lake, it lack the cachet that nearby Shawnigan Lake has. The tennis court is a disaster.
The Verdict: If you fly 96km northeast, you’ll find another Maclure mansion for sale. Built a year later than Grove Hall, it’s almost exactly the same size, on a lot that’s 1/16th the size and is for sale for $14,680,000. If you have deep enough pockets to restore this, you’d have one of the most impressive and historical estate in the entire province.
See full listing here.
[su_carousel source=”media: 10131,10130,10129,10128,10127,10125,10124,10123,10122,10134,10121,10120,10117,10133,10132″ width=”720″ height=”460″ items=”1″ title=”no”][su_custom_gallery][/su_carousel]