Zane Erickson from ZED Studio believes every home has a soul, and dreaming of homes on a large luxury scale, Zane’s passion for design helps to navigate building realities. Tune in and learns how Zane navigates dreams and reality.
Episode launching November 28th at 11am.
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About the Speaker
ZANE ERICKSON: CEO & Luxury Home Designer
Every luxury home I design is an artful reflection of each client’s personality, life story, and exclusive lifestyle, meticulously crafted to elevate their aspirations to the pinnacle of opulent living.
Our design journey commences with a profound exploration of our clients’ unique backgrounds, dreams, achievements and daily routines, allowing us to craft designs that encapsulate their individuality. Our homes serve as timeless artistic expressions that contribute to our clients legacies, ensuring that their stories are woven into the very fabric of their living spaces. We firmly believe that a home should transcend its role as a mere shelter; it should stand as a living masterpiece, narrating the tales of its occupants, while preserving its inherent beauty for generations to come.
Check out Zane's projects here!
Here's the Full Transcript of this Episode
HAVAN EP #55
[00:00:00] Jennifer-Lee: And welcome back to Rami Film Studio, where we are recording another episode of HAVAN’s podcast, Measure Twice, Cut Once. How are you, Mike?
[00:00:10] Mike: I’m fantastic. Great to be back here. This is the final episode of Season Six. We’ve had some amazing conversations. Safe to say that we are ending today’s conversation on a very high note. We are working with some amazing people. And we have an amazing industry professional here today. Zane Erickson, the owner of Zed Design or Zed Studio, sorry. And welcome to Measure Twice, Cut Once.
[00:00:34] Zane: Thank you very much.
[00:00:37] Jennifer-Lee: I’m excited to have this guy. I met him a few times years ago and he’s always the life of the party. So, I can’t wait to get to know his design philosophy and talk about some of his projects. So, for people that don’t know you can you give us the little like origin story of Zane?
[00:00:53] Zane: The origin story of Zane. I grew up in Northern Alberta, like an hour out of Grand Prairie in a log house that my dad skidded with a big cat from one property to a quarter section that my grandpa had given to my dad and mom to live. And so, I grew up in abject poverty, no running water, we had to take like these old school milk jugs and go collect water for my grandpa’s well, bring it back. And I grew up chopping firewood, helping my dad build fences, shooting a 22, like at four years old. Like I just, I grew up very different and I’d run out on the brush piles and I think part of why that relates is I just grew up fantasizing about all these beautiful houses we would see when we would drive to Vancouver on summer vacations. And I just, I don’t know, you just, I have these memories of just like looking out the window, driving and seeing like mansion after mansion in West Van or Crescent Beach. And I would just I don’t know, I would just start dreaming about what would that be like growing up in a house like that. And then a couple of years, quite a few years later, we moved to Abbotsford when I was 12 years old and grew up in Abbotsford. Met my high school sweetheart, then we got married have six beautiful children in Abbotsford. Before we were 30 years old.
[00:02:20] Jennifer-Lee: Okay, you’re braver than all of us, put together. And how many siblings did you grow up with?
[00:02:23] Zane: I grew up with four siblings.
Jennifer-Lee: Oh, wow. Okay. So you’re no stranger.
Zane: Sorry, three, three siblings. I was the oldest. I was the… I was the first. And then my wife grew up with, in a house with six kids. She was the oldest of six. It’s the Valley, right? They put stuff in the dirt out in the Valley. So, we just grow different up there. As soon as you cross the bridge, right? It’s just a whole different game. It’s different vibe. That’s for sure.
[00:02:43] Mike: Yeah. So, you grew up in Fraser Valley and Abbotsford and how did you go from looking at these houses to doing what you’re doing? Was it part of your educational process or just a natural evolution?
[00:02:55] Zane: Yeah. I think like the first home I drew was in grade three, we had this like project and I started drawing a house in section. I just, I wondered what would happen if I just stacked all of the spaces on top of each other through a fireman’s pole in and like a rope ladder and stuff like that. I don’t know. Like I was fascinated with how and I was trying to imagine how all of these different parts of the house would work. I took drafting in grade 10 in high school, learned how to letter absolutely perfect line weight, all those things. And then I wanted to get married and my wonderful sweetheart, she also wanted to get married. And so, I was at a job fair at the end of grade 12. And I walked by this table and it was this wonderful man sitting there and he said you could draw houses for a living and I was like what? You can draw houses for a living? Are you serious? He’s yeah. And I signed up for a one-year course out of the University of the Fraser Valley and did my course. They told me several times I should quit. Drafting was not for me. I was way too out there. I didn’t like the rules. I was non-compliant from the get-go.
[00:04:09] Jennifer-Lee: And That’s why we like you, by the way. You were putting firemen poles in your home.
[00:04:11] Zane: I was. Yeah. You just described my dream house, by the way. Actually, we have a house right now that we’re designing with the fireman’s pole and like a six-story jungle gym. It’s crazy.
Jennifer-Lee: Oh, wow.
Yeah. Like we’re doing some wild stuff these days, but yeah. So, I went to a one-year drafting program, came out. It was all this promise. There was going to be all this work, of course, and there wasn’t any and my father-in-law called me up and said if you don’t have a job by Friday, this was a Monday, you’re not marrying my daughter.
Zane: So I had a job drywalling on Friday and I started doing all kinds of buildings around Vancouver here for over a year while I was still sending out resumes, trying to find somewhere to get a job drawing something at this point, I just, I would take any job that involved me sitting with a computer drawing stuff. I just wanted to draw. And so, I ended up getting a job with Westmark Consultants in North Vancouver. And I started working on the Canada Place pier extension, drawing the concrete rebar. Got to work on some bridge seismic upgrades at Buckland and Taylor. And I just enjoyed sitting down, drawing things. It was a, that’s how it all started for me.
[00:05:27] Jennifer-Lee: And even though you had to spend some time doing something that was not design related, doing drywalling, do you feel like that gave you a better understanding for when you did eventually get your foot in the design door?
[00:05:37] Zane: Yeah, absolutely. Knowing how to build or like the sequences that are involved in building, right? It really helps when you’re drawing to think about the trades and what they’re going through. I actually, I, on that segue, I stopped by a job site today and I was walking around and just looking at how the building was going and the low voltage tech, he was like, Hey, who are you? I’m like, oh, I designed the building. My name is Zane. And he’s can I talk to you about something? I’m like, yeah, sure. Let’s go. What you got? He’s could you please ask for there to be holes in your steel beams from now on? I just would love if there was a spot that I could run my LV wires through the steel beams. It would just be amazing. It would save me so much time. And it’s like the more you understand construction, the more those little things can I think make a difference.
[00:06:26] Jennifer-Lee: That’s great because I think a lot of times people, when they graduate, they have this idea of getting their foot in their dream job in many different industries and they don’t realize that sometimes it’s a blessing to work another job in that same realm that’s actually going to make you better at what you do down the road.
[00:06:41] Zane: Absolutely.
[00:06:42] Mike: I think there’s a lot of other people in this industry. And, we only meet people where they’re at today. Many of us in this industry had, for lack of a long road to get here. And it’s awesome hearing the stories about how did you get here, you didn’t just wake up one day and start designing these amazing houses. It was a lot of sacrifice and struggle that you had to make, but along the way, most of the best people in this industry had to go through that. And along the way, they picked up a great deal of skills as well that make them good at what they do. When did you decide you wanted to do this full time by yourself, right? Because it’s one thing to say, okay, I’m going to do what I love and work for someone else. It’s another thing to stick your neck out there and to go in business by your, on your own, right? What made you decide to do that? And what was that like for you?
[00:07:24] Zane: That’s a fascinating question. I, man, I created my own logo within three years of working for Mark Ankenman in Crescent Beach. So, I think I was, I think I landed my first job working for an architect by the time I was 24, somewhere in there. And worked for him for a couple I was there for five years, but two or three years in, there were these jobs already starting to filter through to me. And it was like Zane, you want to work 18, 19 hour days all the time?
[00:07:56] Zane: Here, draw this gazebo for somebody. And I did a pool gazebo for one of the people that had walked into the office. And Mark wasn’t going to draw a gazebo for anybody, but I was like, man, I worked on that gazebo. Perfect. And little things just start to come up like that, right? Little renovation jobs drawing a deck for somebody here, their little tenant improvements. Like I, it didn’t matter. I had six kids. My wife was a stay-at-home mom. I’m going to work 18 hours a day and make this all happen. That’s the, it’s the dream. I think that. Where a lot of people are going after it’s the what fuels you what’s that passion? And if you connect with your passion it just starts to like really drive you and that little woman is man. She’s part of my passion So are my children and it just like It’s like rocket fuel, I think, sometimes behind me and underneath me, just like the family part that pushes me on, but I love designing it’s so fascinating to meet people, if I go back to that gazebo, there was a pool they were just like, it’d be so nice if we could just sit out here and enjoy like some iced tea or a drink or, have my barbecue in the back. And I started asking questions. What kind of barbecue? What kind of vibe that you want? Who tell me more and just started to learn that interview process for people where. I know so much more about them than they were prepared for that I can draw it exactly the way they want it. And it, it’s just grown from there,
[00:09:29] Mike: Let’s talk a little about that because one of the things I was always impressed by with you is the type of questions you ask people. Let’s talk about the type of questions you ask and you do things different than a lot of other people. So, let’s figure out how it works for you, the type of questions you ask and what does knowing that information help you in regards to designing a better finished product for them, right?
[00:09:50] Zane: So, I have a very, I would, it’s, I call it an empathetic design process where I interview people quite extensively. I ask questions like what’s the favorite place. What’s your most favorite place you’ve ever been on a vacation. What was it like, what’s the moment you were there and you were like, this is the best day. And then I asked them to describe the environment they were in. I want to, because I want to understand what do you see as a person, right? So we could, I could ask for pretty pictures of houses, but that’s going to tell me a little bit about what is pretty. If I start to understand why that was the best day ever, I’m going to really start to understand why your kitchen is going to be the best kitchen ever because those highlight moments, I find they transfer over onto different things. I’ll ask what are you going to cook for your first meal in the new home? I ask questions like, cause usually when working with couples and with couples, I’ll, I asked the question, who’s the life of the party? And who’s looking after people like just to really get a sense of who they are and sometimes neither of them are life the party and both of them are the life of the party. It’s always like this mix of like weaving of these personalities, but somehow, what I love is these personalities have come together, and they’re in a position to build their dream house. And so, there’s a lot of, I don’t know golden nuggets of information in asking questions like that.
[00:11:19] Jennifer-Lee: And some people are so scared to get deep with their clients. And I love that you’re not afraid to ask some different questions because sometimes it’s very surface level when we look at design. But I love the fact that you’re like, what was your favorite moment on vacation? I would have never thought about that. But if I think about a lot of the aesthetics, I like are ones when I am in those resort hotels.
[00:11:37] Zane: Exactly. Okay, and if we talk about resort hotels everyone wants the deck off the master bedroom. And I’m like, let me guess. You had a spectacular vacation. There was a deck off the unit. You sat there every day, had your coffee and you want to recreate that. To which point most people say, yeah, and I’m like but this is your house. You’re probably going to go downstairs and get a coffee and walk out on it. So, I think it’s understanding it’s trying to find the much below the surface level, like you just said let’s get deeper into why you want that. And it’s fun to give people clarity. And then from that, what happens, why I ask these questions is because it gets people out of the box, they’ve been in thinking about their home because when we’re doing dream homes, we tend to gather all of these pictures. We put them together. We walk through friends’ houses. Maybe we’ve gone to developers and seen something that somebody else is building. And then they put those pieces together because they haven’t done hundreds of homes. They haven’t this hasn’t been their passion of their life. And so, they have a very, not constrained idea, but it’s not, it hasn’t been expanded. And so when I start asking these questions, those walls start to fall down and we, then we start sketching. And we start sketching loose ideas and just on paper and I give everybody sharpies and I’m just like, I, come on let’s just have some fun and let’s start like saying where things could be and from that, we go straight to the computer and we start drawing it in 3d. We’ve got the VR glasses sitting there so they can throw them on and start walking in the space. And it’s just it’s almost a little a bit like we all went back to third grade a little bit when I was drawing that first home. And we just say, what if, and. And it is amazing what comes out of those sessions with people.
[00:13:29] Mike: One of the things you said, and you’ve said this numerous times, is that soul is in every home. Can you talk about this? You’re talking the soul of your clients, you’re talking your soul and your creative process. Help us understand what you mean by that, because that’s such a powerful quote.
[00:13:44] Zane: I think the home itself has a soul. Cool. That’s it’s there’s a huge philosophy, right? Like sound waves itself. They say like they, they never stop. So, if you could, if the walls could talk, they would, all of those sounds are still in the particles of the building. And so I find a home has a soul. And so like when we bring people through a process and I’ll say this from. The architectural drafting design to the interior design to the energy consultant that works on it, the structural consultant the excavator, every trade layers onto the soul of the home, how the builder organizes it, how he brings everybody together, it all starts layering up the soul of the home and when clients walk into a building that has been built with care and attention and each person involved in it has really really put their best foot forward, it’s just a feeling you have when you walk through the space. It’s beautiful. You feel welcomed. You feel comfortable. It’s completely different than a building where you can tell there’s been tension the whole time and people have been fighting and it’s like you walk in you’re like, oh, it’s beautiful, but, something’s missing. I don’t know what it is. And we really aim to have that feeling throughout the whole process where all of the information is given up front, right? Too many times we – And I’ll say this just for the viewers – Too many times we’re giving budgets out to people that aren’t realistic. We’re and I’ve been guilty of this. I’ve drawn a home that I know people can’t afford because it was early in my career. Maybe not that they couldn’t afford it, but it was like, I should have said, I don’t think we’re going to be able to do that in your design and just do that from the very beginning. Give people the straight goods because all of these things, they all layer on to the soul of the home.
[00:15:40] Jennifer-Lee: As human beings, we also don’t like to disappoint people. No, we don’t. And that’s the hard thing. And your job has to be harder nowadays because we have so many things. We have social media. We’ve got Pinterest, which is part of that. Instagram all underneath the social media bracket. And a lot of people probably bring you photos and stuff. And again, going back to your point, is it realistic? A for your budget, realistic for the climate. People don’t think about some products are in certain areas around the world for a reason. And two, like a lot of people don’t talk about lifestyle. Like I know, Mike, you also have a lot of children. You have more kids than him, but a stone and different tiles and stuff. There’s certain ones that are good for pets or kids. And there’s a lot of things that people don’t realize that go in. Are you guys going to be rough on your home? Then here’s some materials that are going to endure that. Yeah. Or is your home a showpiece to you? Do you and your partner walk around and clean everything? Like again, do you clean a lot? Does it wear off when you clean?
[00:16:34] Zane: And it goes into again, if we go back to that interview process, if someone Yeah, is a playboy and he wants a show home. That’s a playboy home I’m doing one right now. That is like it is mint and He asked me to help him design his forever home. He’s I don’t have a wife. I don’t have kids I just I’m very successful
[00:16:56] Jennifer-Lee: Do you have his number?
[00:17:04] Zane: But like it was you know when you talk about what’s that what is it going to be lived in It’s really that understanding of the Person that you’re working with and what’s their, what are their goals for it? And, as you get seasoned and you get all of this wonderful gray everywhere you come along that process and you’re like, this is going to be awesome for you. This is where we’re not going to go. That’s not going to help. And those things, and they all contribute to the soul of the home and the whole experience.
[00:17:30] Mike: Hey, I got a quick question for you. We live in an era like, like Jennifer said, where there’s a lot of information at our fingertips, perhaps too much information. I do this all the time. I call it dream building. I motivate myself to work harder by looking at the home I want to build. So, what happens when I come to you and say, okay, here’s all my Pinterest photos and everything else. These are homes that were built in the last few years, which means the designs were done two or three or four or five years ago. So how do you a tell them that this is already outdated and b more importantly how do you design in advance of where we are right now so number one that home is timeless and number two it doesn’t already look like it’s aged by the time you’ve moved into it?
[00:18:06] Zane: Great question. The way I design is not based on a specific style. I think there’s So I was thinking about this today. I think there’s three different ways you can have a home design for you. I think there’s the first way where you just go find someone to draw for you. We would call that like a drafting person. And you just tell them everything you want in the home. You tell them where to go and they just draft it for you, right? You can come with Pinterest with examples and. Away they go, and they just draft it for you, and you, as the homeowner, have to be the creative director of that design. Then you can go to an architect, someone with a lot of high education who’s developed a specific style, or like a general style they want to do, and you can be like, hey, I really like what you do, I would like you to design me a home, please, this is the bedrooms and things I would like in it, and go do that, and they will do that. I’m somewhere here in the middle, where I’ve worked in high end architecture. I’ve looked after a lot of beautiful people with some great architects. I’ve been the drafter who was told what to do for a really long time. And I’ve come somewhere in the middle here where I think we start to interpret the actual couple that’s going to live in the house. And so, when you talk about style and fashion, I say, I’m going to interpret the people that are going to live in the home in a way where that home will always reflect who they are. And I think that is a, just a little bit more empathetic or holistic approach to design where it’s not about style. It’s not about fashion. Obviously, I do enough work that I know not to make mistakes now. And I can weave that. philosophy of who they are into the home in a way where it’s an expression of them, and that expression will continue to be beautiful because it’s designed and built in a way that will always be unique.
[00:19:59] Mike: Excellent. We want to get into some of the projects you’ve done and how you managed to figure them out, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t take just a couple moments to quickly thank our podcast partners. So, we’re going to take a brief break. We’ll be right back. And then let’s dig into these homes and talk a little bit more, some specifics.
[00:20:20] Zane: Sounds good.
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[00:21:38] Zane: Amazing.
[00:21:39] Mike: All right, we’re back with Zane from ZED Studio. Now we’re going to talk about a couple projects, so we’re going to go deep. But before we do that, there’s a word in our business that starts with P, and it tends to make people a little bit frustrated at times because it can take some time to get a permit. Yeah, our favorite word. Sure. Oh, no, there’s only one. So anytime you’re doing anything that’s unique, anything that’s custom, there could be challenges getting approval. So, talk about maybe before we get into the projects, a, what was like getting permitting for these projects and B, this is a lesson in resiliency. How did you get around some of the challenges that you may have faced in order to get these projects done?
[00:22:17] Zane: I’m I’ve got a little bit of philosophy here. One is my goal is to be best friends with every plan checker at every city that I ever work at. That’s my position. I take the position of you are the authority. You have the final say. I can design around any obstacle you put in my way. That’s me. I like, it doesn’t matter what the rules are Design will find a way.
[00:22:41] Jennifer-Lee: Do you get them to challenge you? Be like, give me the hardest thing for me to resolve right now.
[00:22:45] Zane: Like I’m designing, I designed a home on a 50 percent slope lot in Anmore at the moment it’s 14, 000 square feet. We’re digging in the ground right now. And the challenges that have been coming our way throughout the process, it’s like we would like you to solve the contingency of, I don’t know, something and it’s okay, all right, fine.
[00:23:03] Zane: I’ll go, I’ll find the person that can give you the answer you want. We’ll bring on a consultant if we need. And we’ve just, we just layered it and we’re digging we’re going to get a permit soon and that’s going to be going. So, I think where that question goes is there’s a great example, the Gibson project. That house was an existing home on a knoll in Abbotsford with an incredible view of the Fraser River, Mount Baker, like the site is spectacular.
[00:23:29] Jennifer-Lee: Is your neighbor Chad Krueger? Because I know he lives out that way.
[00:23:31] Zane: No, he lives on a different street. This is another, it was a beautiful family that had let go of the property and a new owner came on and there was just like, there was nowhere to expand the footprint at all. So, I happened to get a hold of the head of planning at the city of Abbotsford. And I was like, hey, so we’ve got all these restrictions. The only thing I can do is cantilevers. And so, I’m going to cantilever. He’s Oh, Zane. I’m like, come on, it’s going to be beautiful. And so, I started to design. We designed with these seven-foot cantilevers, steel beams coming out. Cause I needed to get a little bit more space into the home so that we could like really capture like these beautiful views. And it’s such a great example of like how determination can result in something really beautiful because the house almost didn’t capture the views at all. What was there previously? And now there’s like a 20-foot-high ceiling with curtain wall slide, clear doors just opens up to the river. It’s beautiful. But I had to go to the head of planning and be like, hey, this is what I designed. It’s a butterfly roof. I have left the footprint of the home alone, but I’ve done these cantilevers to bring on extra area. And he took it through and they talked about it and they came back and they said, Zane, yeah we’re going to let you do it. Just give it, get us these couple of reports just we feel comfortable with what you’re doing. And so we did, we went and got the geotech and wrote reports on the existing foundation and did some test holes and, got everything done and they gave us a permit and it’s a beautiful home. It’s absolutely spectacular and it’s turned out really well, but that’s like design. It’s funny design will find a way like if you keep going at it, you’ll find an answer or I keep going at it. I always find an answer. And the city will come back and they say there’s no way. Like they’re saying there’s just no way I’m like, okay, why? Give me the, I need, you can’t say there’s no way without a rule, you’re a city. You have to tell me the rule, you have to tell me why. And so, they’ll come back and tell me why, and then, and I just ask, okay, but what if this?
[00:25:30] Mike: Yeah. You’ve just illustrated a very valuable lesson, and it’s one we’ve spoken about on past episodes and past seasons. When you’re working with a professional, number one, you have to pick someone who knows how to get it done. And I think that’s To someone who has relationships with people at whatever municipality you’re doing the work in because it becomes a partnership. It can become adversarial and painful or become a partnership. And like you said, becoming best friends with those people allowed you to have an open, clear line of communication and there was room for compromise and ultimately it facilitated getting this project done. I have a very important question about this project. Was it named after the guitar? No. Okay. Just curious. Because the first time I was a bunch of guitars hanging on the wall. So I felt like it would be a nice time.
[00:26:14] Zane: That’s a good question, though.
[00:26:14] Jennifer-Lee: That’s a good question. What is the origin story?
[00:26:17] Zane: Of the Gibson name? Oh, that’s just the street it’s on. Oh, so nothing fancy? Yeah, no. Actually, wild story. I drove down that street when I was like 25. I met the guy who owned that house and… I got talking to him and he was, and I was like, I would love to live on the street one day, which I do. And he said, you know what? If you want to live on the street, you’re not going to the lake on the weekends. You’re not screwing around. You’re working non stop. He’s are you going to do that? And I said, yeah, I’m going to do that and I live on that street. It’s it was such a small interaction. That’s not who I did the rental for but it was like it was crazy then to be designing the renovation with some on that spot of an interaction for myself. Like it was serendipitous, I guess it was really cool. So that’s part of the origin story of that project. That’s part of the reason why I’m really proud of it. It’s really special to me. These are also your neighbors. Yeah, literally. That’s cool.
[00:27:11] Jennifer-Lee: I love stories like that. And again, I love how you said there, if there’s a will, there’s a way, because we talked about a little bit before, but I want to know more about because what does it take to put an indoor jungle gym in someone’s home? Can you explain a little bit more? I don’t know what kind of permits you need for that.
[00:27:28] Zane: I mean that, yeah, that, that jungle gym is, it’s pretty special. It’s a three-story jungle gym. It’s got a slide and all kinds of stuff going into it. There’s alternative solutions involved in that project. So it’s inside. Yeah. Yeah. With a fireman’s pole, there’s a climbing wall. There’s like a huge slide. It’s a wild sign.
[00:27:48] Mike: Is it for kids or is it a grownup jungle gym? Cause I’ve seen both in homes.
[00:27:51] Zane: I think that really has to do with who is going to be there. And let’s just be honest, the owner of that home will definitely go down that slide for sure.
[00:27:59] Mike: Yeah.
[00:28:00] Zane: I like the owner of that home.
[00:28:01] Jennifer-Lee: I’m assuming they have a family or is this the single guy we’re talking about? It’s a single guy. Oh, okay. I’m going to talk to you after this.
[00:28:10] Mike: The other project that you were working on that I think is a really neat project is called the Hemlock Cabin. Now, I’m assuming it’s a cabin based on the name and it’s made of hemlock. But I also thought the other one was had to do with guitar. So, can you talk a little about that one? And now that we’re on this rabbit hole of what’s the name, how come it’s called the Hemlock Cabin?
[00:28:31] Zane: It’s cause it’s on Hemlock Mountain. And so, it’s just the Hemlock Cabin, but that mountain’s changed their name to Sasquatch Mountain Resort now. And, that home it was actually like a professional relationship I had with a couple one of them was a actually they’re both political individuals. And one of them was an interior designer that I’d worked with quite a bit as well. And so, they came there like Zane. Designer cabin for us and this I guess things started to when this one was happening. It was very much like what could we do show us something like for us. That’s just wild and so we got talking about how they wanted the snow to fall off the building and I was like we can just let this roof run. Let’s just let it go and we’ll do a little like counter roof and we’re over height and they’re like we could probably get a variance. I don’t know. Let’s try. And so we, I don’t know. I think we were like, we were five feet over height to get this, to let this roof like go all the way. And so, we went to the board of variance and we’re like, if you tell really good stories that are plausible, let me add that to that. If you tell plausible, really good stories I find people are interested in seeing. Seeing that be successful. And so, we went to the board of variants, they approved it and it’s built and it’s the roof roofs are, they got this really funky form and up on that mountain, they will get 14 feet of snow where this house is. And so, the snow will actually go all the way up. Past the basement and up to the railings of the main floor. It’s wild. And that home has all of this industrial feels with it. We were going to do glulam beams, but I think what was happening during construction was pricing was coming in. And so we looked at what’s steel going to cost. What’s wood going to cost and steel was actually like a better choice. So, they went with full steel and then they left it. Absolutely. Like non painted. And so it’s just like some of it’s rusting, it’s got patina on it, you touch the steel and it’s just God’s got all this character. And I think it’s just an expression of the couple and they’ve both had really interesting life stories and they like some of that like roughness because there’s beauty in it. And so, for them, it was just a really great expression of their individuality.
[00:30:52] Jennifer-Lee: Okay. This might be a dumb question, but if they get that much snow, like how does it not block their front door?
[00:30:57] Zane: Oh, cause we designed the roof snow to all fall away from things. So it’s like you, you have to take those into account and then you got snow machines and snow blowers.
[00:31:06] Jennifer-Lee: And I guess if you’re having at that level,
[00:31:09] Mike: you’ve got absolutely nobody’s getting out there with a shovel themselves unless you’re in the dog house.
[00:31:15] Zane: And then we actually did that home with ICF. And all the way to the roof. And so all they need to heat it is one little kind of like potbelly wood stove and they just get a fire going and the whole home is very comfortable and beautiful to stay in.
[00:31:31] Mike: One of the things I love about the luxury home market is that a lot of the things that we see there at that level eventually make their way down to a more reasonable home that more people are going to have access to. And so we’ve seen that in so many different areas, whether it’s like automations and home theatres or all sorts of other technology. What about either of these projects do you think is something that you did or that was used that we might expect to see in more modest homes in the future, right? What’s the next big thing that you see there that’s going to make its way down to the rest of us?
[00:32:08] Zane: I think with, the province coming up to step code three, that you’re going to see a lot more ICF construction happening. I think it’s a wonderful product and just the way the home can be built very airtight, really comfortable. When I did my first ICF home tour, I think in 1999, 1998 somewhere in there. And that technology I think has come a long way and I’ve done several projects now with ICF to the roof. The homes are comfortable, they’re quiet I would love just a lot of builders already using it for the foundation and I’m excited to see it just because with step code three, we have to design homes in a way that it’s, there’s less steps and things and so it really makes sense, if you’re going to do really attractive looking rectangular home do it with ICF and just take it.
[00:32:57] Mike: and before you go too much further on ICF for our viewers for our listeners who aren’t familiar with what
[00:33:02] Zane: ICF is like Lego blocks because that’s a little bit like Lego blocks.
[00:33:07] Jennifer-Lee: Yeah, I just used it to do a double basement.
[00:33:09] Zane: Oh, very cool. So yeah.
[00:33:10] Mike: Can you quickly explain how ICF works and where there’s some advantages to that? Because I think this has implications for a lot of different types of construction, a lot of different levels. Yeah.
[00:33:18] Zane: So ICF stands for insulated concrete form. And so, in order to pour concrete, we need to have something for the concrete to be in before it gets hard. And so ICF is a sandwich of styrofoam on two sides with these plastic connectors that go in between that. Keep it rigid. And then you lay your rebar and all the plastic connectors, pour the concrete in, wait for the concrete to set. And instead of having to rip wood off and take it all off site. And, we have this whole process of traditional construction of bringing forms in, setting them up, pouring the concrete, taking the forms off, taking them away. It just stays and it is airtight because concrete doesn’t really breathe. It breathes, but not a lot. And then you’ve got the styrofoam on the outside. So, you’ve already got your exterior insulation. You’ve got your interior insulation and then drywall action and siding just get affixed right to it. So, it’s quite an efficient construction system. All right. I got to go off on a bit of a tangent.
[00:34:11] Mike: When my parents built their ICF and they’d pour concrete. Now, each of these pieces of styrofoam had an R value of about seven. So, the only way they would rate the house is R14, even though it was close to R70. Has that been rectified in ICF construction now? Is that part of the insulation? Or is that not considered, is that still not part of the mathematical equation?
[00:34:30] Zane: No, they’ve done the math.
[00:34:33] Mike: Okay, so what, compared to say a traditional home where we’re using two by sixes, two by eights, two by twelves, to build the home and traditional versus an ICF home. What’s going to be more advantageous for me trying to build an energy efficient home? Because that’s really what we’re all going to be building in the next few years anyway, right?
[00:34:51] Zane: Yes, we are going to be building energy efficiency, but I think it’s also about it’s, obviously the R values are higher. If I gave a number. I don’t focus on the numbers exactly because I’m a little bit artistic. So like I, I have technical staff that like nail those things down. So I’ll just defer that question. But I think it is about hitting this goal of being energy efficient in a way that provides value to everybody who uses the system. And I think ICF is really great for that because you put the wall up and then everybody can start moving pretty quick through and in terms of the technology and facilitating time. And I think this is, I think as we go towards energy efficiency, we have to look at how much time is being spent making the home energy efficient. And ICF really compresses time because it answers a lot of those questions. Like instead of doing like extra foam on the outside we’re already done. I think it just compresses time. And I think that’s why it’s going to come to the market more because the longer a home takes to be built, the more interest you’re paying and the more construction course of construction insurance you’re paying. And the list goes on and on. And so I think when we’re looking at energy efficiency and compressing timelines with quality still being there, we’re looking for solutions that solve those. Questions and that’s why I think I C F is good for me. There you go.
[00:36:17] Jennifer-Lee: It is a lot faster. I have a question for you, because you’ve obviously designed many homes around over the years. What is the most unique one that not most designers do? What is something unique that you’ve designed that other people really haven’t or people have walked into those home and be like, Oh wow, Zane, you went that way.
[00:36:38] Zane: Yeah I was designing a home for a couple and I think it was the night before I was meeting with them and I had been scratching my brain trying to come up with a concept and just sat down with some trace paper and I just drew a circle and then I started taking like Pie pieces out of that circle and just moving them 10 feet here 10 feet there and It just worked and I was staring at it and I’m like, this is crazy I don’t know if they’re gonna like this, but let’s see what happens. And so I went to their house the next day and I presented and they were looking at it and I had I’d actually put it in VR as well and they put the glasses on they were like standing in the space looking at it and they’re like, yes, yes, it’s a very, it’s a very abstract home. It’s really neat. They actually added a whole indoor pool to it. So, it’s a hard home to capture because of how abstract it is, but they loved it. And I don’t know, I love playing with shapes and things like that. So that one’s pretty out there. I love steep slopes, like steep slope lots. I love playing with because you cannot impose your will on a slope. You have to look at the land. You have to let it talk to you. You have to look at where the sunlight is, where the trees are and what everybody wants to have happen there. And you have to find ways to I find ways to mold the home into the hill and allow what’s there to. And I find on the steep slope lots, you end up having very unique structures with multiple levels and they just tell a completely different story than like a flat home.
[00:38:15] Jennifer-Lee: I could listen to you all day. I just love all your ideas. And I feel like anything is possible.
[00:38:21] Zane: Yeah, I would say that’s a good point. I like that.
[00:38:25] Mike: That’s your new tagline for your work,
[00:38:28] Zane: I can concur, it’s, it’s fantastic.
[00:38:31] Mike: Hey, I got a quick question, it has nothing to do with these two particular projects, but this is the question I ask of everyone who’s in that design space. How do you look at a space, whether it’s a slope or a building or anything else and go, this is what we’re going to do. Where does that creative spark come from? Is it just something undefinable from deep within? Or do you have a process or method to draw out that creativity to come up with these really rad results?
[00:38:59] Zane: Yeah, I have something that happens to me. I see images somewhere over here. I don’t know. That’s where my creative spot is for me. And I’ll be staring at a space or I’ll be drawing something and thinking, and then I’ll start to see just an image somewhere over here. I don’t know. That’s how my creative brain works. And then I just start drawing that. And for the most part, whatever I see and draw, most people are like, wow. Yeah, that’s, we never would have thought that, but.Yes.
[00:39:28] Mike: And does music help you as well? Because that was the one thing, like when I first visited you for the first time, I looked around your office, I’m like… It looks like my living room and so I knew I had a kindred spirit, but is that like a lot of us use music for creativity? Is that something you do? Are you one of those people who needs to work in silence?
[00:39:44] Zane: No, I my, my wife would say I am neurodivergent and I like a lot of stimulation. So yeah, I have music going. I like people being around. I honestly, like the more stimulation like people that are involved, the more creative I kind of get, I don’t know what it is. It’s I get into this zone of just like capacity or whatnot. And things just make sense for me.
[00:40:11] Jennifer-Lee: Is there a design that you have maybe kicking around somewhere in one of your drawers that your client never went with? Or you’re like, I can’t wait for one day to do this. And it doesn’t have to be a full house, it could be like an element that maybe somebody didn’t want to go for or something.
[00:40:26] Mike: That gazebo you always wanted to do.
[00:40:29] Zane: That’s a stunner of a question. For the most part, the crazy ones have been built.
[00:40:36] Jennifer-Lee: What’s the craziest thing besides?
[00:40:40] Zane: The jungle gym is a 40, 000 square foot home that one If that I will be really happy if that one gets built. It’s Yeah, that will be a special one. If that one gets built out I like there’s ideas that are there like I have this very abstract mid-century modern idea. That’s you know, fueled by the party where the floor disappears and there’s the pool below and just the shapes in that home where all the furniture is built into concrete. And I, yeah that home is something that’s always been inside of me. I tried to capture it on that house with the circles and the different pieces that came out, but they didn’t want to go for sunken living rooms and things like that. I love like we have a, we have an MCM home that’s being done in Delta right now. That’s got like a sunken living room and a couple of different levels in it. It’s. It’s really neat. I love those little three step transitions between spaces. They just, my grandpa had this house and it had pink carpet and a massive white grand piano and a sunken living room. He had the leather cigar lounge, like all of that stuff. And it’s just, it’s those elements that like you walk into a room and you’re just like, I’m dying. This is so cool. So, for me, it’s playing with circles, curves, and built in furniture and conversational places. I think those are the things that are inside me, that I’m always looking for someone like, are you that person that we can play? Can we play? And so some people love to play and then other people, not so much. And so we just, I don’t know. Yeah. That would be my answer to that question.
[00:42:17] Mike: Some people want what they want, and other people rely on great professionals. I do have to ask you a very quick question. We don’t need to know who, but you and I both have experience working with some, we’ll say famous people in the public eye. How does the conversation go with them? And here’s where I’m getting at, is a lot of those folks are very private, they don’t like to be asked a lot of questions, and they really value their privacy. So how do you have a deep conversation with somebody like that, and still draw out the information you need without crossing a line in terms of asking questions?
[00:42:44] Zane: Two personal questions. I get them drunk. Okay. No, I’m joking. . Maybe we shouldn’t say that,
[00:42:50] Mike: but Season seven, brought to you by Hiram Walker,
[00:42:54] Zane: Not everyone wants to go deep, right? And That’s just part of personalities and if you meet enough people in your life and you have the privilege of talking to some of these people that have like wild experiences you can start to pick up on people’s boundaries I’ve learned boundaries probably by making mistakes, which is I don’t know. There’s no there’s no manual for life we all we all figure it out as we go, right? And so, I think you, you make mistakes by going too far sometimes, and then you learn to pick up on cues of how far people want to go, and how far they want to talk. I think one thing I’ve learned is by being comfortable with myself, and aware of who I am, if someone only wants to go so far, that’s okay. It doesn’t impact who I am anymore. And I think in the early days it used to impact who I was, but now I really like myself. I really love what I do. And if someone wants to work with me, then I think understanding who they are and valuing, how far they’re willing to come along that line is. Totally fine with me. So that’s my answer to that.
[00:44:04] Mike: Great advice, not just for construction and design, but for life as well. Who knew we were going to learn so many good life lessons. Listen, Zane, we could talk all day and we probably will one day, but today is not that day, unfortunately. We do have to wrap it up. It has been so awesome and so much to learn. We really appreciate you going through this and so many different lessons, whether it’s to work with knowledgeable people who have local relationships or how people push the envelope. But what an amazing conversation and what an inspiring conversation at the same time.
[00:44:34] Zane: Thank you.
[00:44:35] Jennifer-Lee: Perfect. And I know you gave us a lot of tips, but if you could give us one more piece of wisdom what would it be?
[00:44:41] Zane: I think for the homeowners out there who are looking for, doing a custom home or any level of home, in all honesty this is my best advice. Have the builder, have the interior designer, Have everybody in the room when you’re designing the house. Get that team together so that everybody understands the philosophy of the home from the beginning and when you pull those professionals together and they are collaborating from a very early phase, you’re going to have just an amazing process throughout love it.
[00:45:17] Jennifer-Lee: What a great way to wrap up.
[00:45:19] Mike: Absolutely. What a. What a high note to wrap up on as well. So much good information and Zane, it’s been absolutely an amazing conversation like there was ever going to be any doubt, but before we go, we do have to take care of one important reminder for our viewers and our listeners. Listen to and enjoy this episode and you already have, if you’re hearing this, but once you’re done listening to and enjoying this episode, enter for your chance to win a brand new, beautiful Napoleon prestige P 500 stainless steel, natural gas barbecue valued at over $1,500 compliments of our fantastic partner podcast partners, Fortis BC.
[00:45:57] Mike: All you got to do to win this gorgeous barbeque is go to www.havan.ca/measuretwicecutonce .
[00:46:02] Jennifer-Lee: And Mike will come set your barbeque up for you.
[00:46:05] Zane: He will? Wow.
[00:46:06] Jennifer-Lee: Yeah. And bring you some ribs. I’m just selling your services for you.
[00:46:11] Mike: Absolutely.
[00:46:12] Zane: I’ll barbeque lamb lollipops then.
[00:46:14] Jennifer-Lee: There we go. He’ll bring lamb. He’ll bring whatever you want.
Mike: Bison? Cool.
[00:46:18] Jennifer-Lee: Any species you desire. And for notes and links to everything mentioned on today’s episode, including resources shared by Zane, go to havan.ca/measuretwicecutonce. Thank you to Trail Appliances, FortisBC, VicoStone Canada, and Rami Films, and thank you so much for joining us.
[00:46:35] Zane: My pleasure. Thank you. Thank you for having me.