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This week we’re revisiting some of the most popular summer stories from the archives. Here’s one:

This is, hands down, the most romantic story I’ve ever heard involving a house.

In the 1960s, Chessa Osburn’s maternal grandparents bought property on an island in Howe Sound, near Vancouver. They hired a young architect, fresh out of graduate school and himself a summer resident on the island (his parents owned a vacation home there, too), to design a small cabin for them. As they expected, he created a perfect waterfront retreat. Less expected, but welcome nonetheless: He and their daughter fell in love.

Chessa, co-founder of Twenty One Tonnes, one of our favorite boutiques in Vancouver (see her house tour here), is the product of their love. She grew up summering on the island, surrounded by cousins and aunts and uncles from both sides of her family, in this simple but breathtaking coastal cabin designed by her father and owned by her mother’s parents.

Today, the off-the-grid charmer continues to be her family’s happy place. “My entire extended family uses this home. My grandparents have passed away, and it’s now shared between my mother’s and her siblings’ families,” says Chessa, now married with two young children. “In the summer, we rope-swing off the lower deck into the ocean and swim off the stone quay, set the crab traps and hope for Dungeness for dinner, follow the small deer trails that crisscross the island through the forest. In the fall, we chop wood and restock the woodpiles, hunt for chanterelle mushrooms, and spend lots of time cooking and eating.”

Magical, right? Just like the story of how this home came to be.

Let’s take a peek around.

Photography by Gillian Stevens.

the entrance to the cedar clad home. it&#8\2\17;s situated on a cliff, with 14
Above: The entrance to the cedar-clad home. It’s situated on a cliff, with the water just below. At high tide, the house feels as if it’s hovering over the water, says Chessa. Her father designed the structure to blend into the landscape.

the entire cabin is just under 900 square feet but feels airy thanks to plentif 15
Above: The entire cabin is just under 900 square feet but feels airy thanks to plentiful and large windows that face the water.

the wicker set in the living area is &#8\2\20;actually all from when my gra 16
Above: The wicker set in the living area is “actually all from when my grandparents decorated the place in the 1970s!” says Chessa. Everything was kept simple and neutral to allow the views to take center stage.

the lower floor is open plan. here&#8\2\17;s the view from the kitchen into 17
Above: The lower floor is open-plan. Here’s the view from the kitchen into the dining area; the living room is just beyond, down a few steps. The pitched ceiling is made up of tongue-in-groove cedar planks.

chessa&#8\2\17;s father&#8\2\17;s design still feels fresh today. steps 18
Above: Chessa’s father’s design still feels fresh today. Steps here lead to an outdoor sitting area to the left, while the back door in the kitchen leads to another, larger deck. Above the cabinets are mementos from her grandmother, who was born and raised in El Salvador, and grandfather’s travels together.

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