Together, Sarah Erikson and Heidi Hopkins epitomize hard work and fresh talent. Erikson’s finished bed and breakfast down south is a reflection of their combined talents and drive. Words by Imogen Whale, photos by Keri Knapp
Sarah Erikson lived in Revelstoke before and loved it, so two years ago when a relationship that had taken her to the other side of the world hit the rocks, it felt right to move back.
“I just thought, ‘I’m going to do it, I’m going to try and live the dream,’ so I bought the property to live it without him,” Erikson laughs. Truthfully, she had been in town visiting friends when the property came up for sale and it felt like fate. She started putting offers in the day she toured the property.
Though young, it wasn’t Erikson’s first foray into home ownership or renovation. While the project, an unfinished home that had sat empty for over a year, was larger than any she had tackled before, Erikson was up for the challenge.
A farmer with experience in organic growing, Erikson has turned the three-acre homestead into her full-time job where she runs a small-scale organic farm and pickling company called Alpine Brine. The land boasts veggie gardens and wildflowers with the large shop transformed into a greenhouse for starting seedlings. Erikson is low key but confident as she and her new rescue dog showcase the beautiful home.
It’s newly finished, lovely and welcoming, but Erikson doesn’t live there. At the front of the property is a modest modular home newly covered in cedar shakes that Erikson hand painted in an effort to cut down building costs. “That’s home,” Erikson says.
The larger house is a bed and breakfast, an allowable usage for properties in the Agricultural Land Reserve.
“I wanted people to have a boutique place to stay without being millionaires,” she says. Her clients have so far been families, mostly hailing from Alberta. For $1,300 a night, there are five bedrooms, four bathrooms and space to sleep a dozen people. “Generally, it’s been booked by two or three families going on holiday together,” Erikson explains.
Heidi Hopkins, owner of her own interior design company, HOPKINS Interior Design, has been helping homeowners beautify their spaces both in and out of town. A graduate of the Ryerson University interior design program, Hopkins is currently working towards accreditation through Yorkville University’s Bachelor of Interior Design, which will allow her to structurally design a living space up to 3,000 square feet. Hopkins is on track to graduate in 2019.
Prior to interior design, Hopkins worked in Revelstoke as a part of the government wildfire fighting crew. “I loved it,” she says, “but I wanted to move into a career with a more creative outlet.” Creativity isn’t something new to Heidi, who grew up constantly analyzing and mentally redesigning the spaces around her.
Hopkins first started chatting to Erikson about design while they were playing recreational soccer in town.
“Sarah kept telling me to swing by to help her with the aesthetic, but I didn’t really take it seriously until she wrote her number on a paper at the end of a practice and put it in my hands,” Hopkins explains.
“We went for a modern Canadian home; one that is welcoming for a family,” Hopkins says. This was achieved by choosing modern furniture and lighting, Canadian artwork and local woodworked structures with live edges.
“Ninety percent of the art is Canadian, some from Revelstoke artists, and the furniture is Canadian made,” Hopkins details. “We got away with using multiple art mediums by keeping the framing simple. The white walls offer a gallery feel, and each room has a distinct personality.”
The kitchen and dining areas house beautiful wood tables and cabinets. The main living area has a haphazard but organized art wall, modern custom metal firewood rack, and stone fireplace. The family room features painted images of man and bear wrestling while the TV and cozy seating fill the space. “I enjoyed the imagery of the wrestling nature and man,” Hopkins explains. “As I imagine in a family room with children there will be plenty of horseplay.”
One of the most stunning pieces resulting from the collaboration is the floating staircase. Made from wood and glass to ensure the space is full of light and open, the stairs were created by Erikson, Hopkins and LAM. “Lortap really brought to life many of our finishing idea,” Erikson enthuses, “I maintain that Kyle and Paul at Lortap are the reason I’m still sane. They have been professional, realistic and just amazing to work with.”
Each piece of wood furniture is made from Take To Heart Specialty Wood Products and the lumber was handpicked by Erikson and built by Lortap Architectural Millwork (LAM). She was instrumental in designing the main bathroom vanity. Also featuring in the main floor bathroom are a plunger and toilet brush with ski pole handles. “Why not?” Erikson laughs.
For all its beauty process hasn’t been without growing pains.
“It’s difficult to take over a project half finished — something that was someone else’s dream,” Erikson says. “I would have made structural changes if I had started the project. And there has been hiccup after hiccup.”
These hiccups include a basement flood and the fact the building was empty and unfinished for some time before Erikson purchased it. Tracking down people who previously worked on the home and trying to jog their memories has been difficult. “Every day was like trying to solve a puzzle,” Erikson says.
While there have been difficulties, there have also been a lot of rewards and ultimately, optimism. Hopkins and Erikson have worked hard, and the home is a reflection of that. Having borne the brunt of the project, Erikson has had enough of building and renovating for the near future, Hopkins is starting design work on a home in Big White. Are Erikson and Hopkins living the dream? The two laugh and Erikson smiles and looks around.
“Each day it gets a little bit closer.”
This article first appeared in print in Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine.