-Story by Devon McKenzie
Story courtesy of Boulevard Magazine, a Black Press Media publication
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Tucked away on a quiet street in the heart of South Oak Bay is Claudia de Veaux’s sanctuary — a 2,500-square-foot home built in 2012 with three bedrooms and three bathrooms.
But for Claudia, it’s more than just a home; it’s where she can breathe deeply, think clearly and take time for herself. Because when she’s not in Victoria, she’s in the thick of the tech industry in the Silicon Valley.
As a technical writer, Claudia spends weeks at a time away from home, so when she does get to come back to Oak Bay, she’s exactly where she wants to be.
“I grew up in Seattle, so I always loved the Pacific Northwest,” explains Claudia. “My sister moved here and married a Canadian and eventually, I decided I wanted to be here too, so I made a five-year plan to move here and I did it. Really, it was one of the only times I’ve actually had a concrete plan,” she says, laughing.
After moving to Victoria in 2001, Claudia bought a home on Beach Drive but eventually sold that property and moved to Saanich.
“It was central, I guess, but I always found myself back in Oak Bay — especially at the beach,” she explains. “Whether it was walking the dog, or just enjoying a walk alone, it was just where I wanted to be and so, the hunt was on.”
|A quiet corner in in the home. Don Denton photography|
After an entire year of looking, Claudia bought her Victoria Avenue home in 2016 and has been happily adding to the blank canvas a new home acquisition provides since then.
“I just love this house,” she says, motioning around the spacious and bright open concept living/dining/kitchen area, which is at the rear of the house overlooking a private, manicured back yard and standalone garage.
“My favourite part is all the wall space and natural light which is absolutely perfect for my art,” she adds.
Coming from an artistic family — many of her paintings are by her father and sister — the home offers ample wall room for the display of art in various forms. Along with her art collection, Claudia has a striking collection of vintage glass insulators which line the window sills through the kitchen. The natural backlighting makes the insulators sparkle and shows off each piece’s unique attributes.
“Collecting those, it’s addictive,” laughs Claudia. “I’m not usually big into the decorating aspect of a home, but with this house I’ve really been enjoying it.”
Another quirky feature in the kitchen is her collection of android figurines, a nod to her professional background, which she has cleverly displayed in the built-in wine rack in the kitchen.
“I don’t drink so it turned out to be the perfect use for that space,” she says, smiling.
|Robot like figurines in the kitchen. Don Denton photography|
Moving through the main floor, Claudia’s office is located near the front of her house. Aiming to travel less and find a better work/life balance, she wanted the perfect place to be able to work from home uninterrupted. A custom desk, which she had built to spec for her needs, fills the far and back wall of the room and a full, almost floor-to-ceiling window allows for plenty of natural light.
“I have no trouble working from home,” she says. “I find it very satisfying to be able to work from here when I can and having a beautiful office does help.”
Also at the anterior of the house, near the front door, is the staircase to the second floor. Stepped windows on the front of the house bathe the stairwell in natural light, which is accented with paper-look globe light fixtures that Claudia picked out herself. Again, more art dons the walls through the hall upstairs, which goes off at an angle. It’s a feature Claudia noticed right away.
“It just adds that little aspect of the unexpected, rather than just having a straight line to the back of the house,” she says.
Off the hall to the right and left are two guest bedrooms, which are vital as Claudia’s children and family love to come visit, as well as the guest bathroom. Ahead, at the end of the hall, is the ample, airy master bedroom and en suite bath which overlook neighbouring yards filled with mature trees.
“I love the view out back,” Claudia explains, adding that the whole bedroom has a very serene and tidy feel to it. “I almost feel like I’m walking into a room at a Four Seasons in the city, which is a pretty nice thing to be able to feel every time you come into your bedroom.”
|A view of the master bedroom. Don Denton photography|
It’s been just over two years since she moved in and Claudia says she couldn’t be happier.
“I always wanted a pretty house. Not necessarily cozy, but pretty, and that’s exactly what I’ve been able to create here. For me, this house is all about the art; I look at it and enjoy it every single day that I’m here,” she says.
“I moved here to get out of the rat race, I had some political motivations too, but either way, I was very driven to do it. Victoria is home now and I’m always happy when I come home.”
In a world where things are moving faster than ever and many things are in a constant state of flux, Claudia feels grounded in her Oak Bay oasis.
“I guess you could say Canada brings clarity,” she says, laughing.
|Claudia de Veaux looks over part of her glass insulator collection. Don Denton photography|
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