Budget Breakdown: An Architect Constructs a Plywood Hideaway for Her Family for $538K

This woodsy retreat’s island site in British Columbia meant working with mostly local builders and materials.

For architect Helen Pang and her family, Canada's Salt Spring Island represents more than a forested getaway—its history is as cherished as its natural splendor. A part of the Gulf Islands, located between mainland British Columbia and Vancouver Island, Salt Spring has a history that goes back thousands of years. It was first inhabited by First Nations people, who processed shellfish on its shores, leaving behind particles of shells that have eroded over time into a beautiful, pearlescent beach. Later, the island welcomed African Americans leaving California in the 1800s after discriminatory legislation was passed in the state. Diversity and respect for the land are intrinsic parts of life here.

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