Charlotte’s Gazebo

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a sandy, driftwood-covered beach on the Pacic Ocean. On the next
page are more photos of this structure.
If you look closely on the left side of this panorama of the beach, you can see
the shake roof of the gazebo.
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side of Vancouver Island, I found
a great little coee shop called
e Totian, with good coee,
music, and an internet hookup.
Next to it was a little shake-
covered bower. I’d never seen
anything quite like it. e entire
structure, posts and beams and
all, was made of silvery beach
wood, with curved and irregular
pieces put together ingeniously.
I’d seen structures where
builders had fooled around with
gnarly and strange-shaped wood,
but never with this kind of
harmony. It worked as a bower,
but it was also a graceful sculp-
ture. It looked like it had grown
in the woods.
e builder, it turned out, was
Jan Janzen, and in three of my
trips I photographed his work.
Jan was born in the Quesnel
Highlands of Caribou County (in
the heart of British Columbia)
and grew up in Vancouver. In the
early ’s, when he was , he
left the city for the Okanagan
Valley where he went through
a “ . . . wandering phase,” hiking,
camping, and gathering edible
plants. For – years he roamed
in the dry desert from Southern
BC to Washington, “ . . . commun-
ing with nature.”
He came back to Vancouver in
the ’s and worked as a carpen-
ter: “ . . . -degree, drywall stu,”
but on the side he started doing
wood sculptures. In he
moved to the west coast of
Vancouver Island. He built a
woodshed for his landlady,
where he started combining
sculpture with carpentry, and
next did an extensive remodel of
a tiny A-frame (with greenhouse
attached) for his wife érèse
(see p. ).
Here on the west coast, he says,
he was able to combine carpentry
and sculpture, to “ . . . marry them
together.” He could do sculpture,
and have it be useful.
130 130 131 131
Bower at Botanical Gardens
Details of gazebo
on previous page
is structure sits next
to a pond at the Tono
Botanical Gardens.
e lower walls are
sequentially assembled
with no fasteners, like a
Chinese puzzle, with the
last piece being driven in
with a sledgehammer.
133 133
Gazebo at Cable Cove Inn
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beautiful narrow cove that opens onto the
ocean. What a great place to anchor your boat!
ere’s a magical water-drip spot alongside the
building, a little fern-lined green grotto where the
air is moist and full of negative ions.
Jan installed some of the shakes so that there were
openings for “peek-through views,” but angled so
that water doesn’t enter.
134 134 135 135
Gift Shop
in Tono
Jan’s Cabin
IN coN1xns1 1o Tucxisc’s
sparkling, feminine light-lled cozy
nest (opposite page), is Jan’s rustic
guys’ place, with rough oor planks,
work benches, sleeping loft up
sculptured stairs, and his search-
and-rescue pack by the door. A great
place to sit by the cheery re on a
cold night. It was built “ . . . of
salvaged material.”
“As I was nishing it, nailing the
last shake on the roof, a surveyor
came along.” Bad news: the building
was completely on his neighbors’
land. What else to do but move it?
He jacked up the building, slid four
logs underneath, put axle grease
on them, and with a come-along,
a -wheel block-and-tackle, and ”
steel cable, skidded the building up
onto the logs, onto four other logs
and then onto the repositioned
original logs, a distance of feet
onto his own property. “None
of the windows even broke.” His
next-door neighbors watched the
whole process. He says they must
have gured that if he could move
a building that far and have it hold
together, it must be structurally
sound, and they asked Jan to build a
house for them (see pp. –).
érèse’s House
Japanese boardwalk philosophy:
Pathways should never go straight.
136 136
Margaret’s Cabin
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had been lying nearby. Framing, ooring, shakes. Maybe that’s what makes the
building so harmonious.
Jan had told me this and, as I was climbing
around inside and out shooting photos, I had
a vision of the tree, a solid chunk of wood, cut
up, rearranged, and expanded to make this
cozy space. (It was a cold, wet day and the re
burning inside made it warm and homey.)
Door latch and handle
Copper sheet inlaid into oor Jan’s license plate
This little
cabin was
built almost
entirely from
a cedar tree
that had
been lying
Stairs to loft
139 139
e Crocker House
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It’s got a myriad of details that delight and amuse. He told me his
fantasy in building was to have a detail drawyou in, so that as you
looked at it, it would lead to other details, and so on. “Details
within details,” he says, and it sure works that way here.
End of girder morphs into hummingbird.
Mirror frame by Robinson Cook
On this table you can see some of the original
bark of the log fromwhich the table was built. In
carving, sculpture, making furniture, “. . . with
any wood I work, I try to leave at least one part
of it unworked to showthe natural texture.”