Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Vancouver Olympics - will there be room enough for everybody?

I am glad to say that Nelson House is fully booked for the Winter Olympics. Our guests will be cheering on teams from Canada, the USA and The Netherlands. Speedskating and hockey have been mentioned. I expect we will all learn a whole lot more about competitive winter sports.

The photo of the long-track speedskating oval above is courtesy of VANOC. The Richmond Olympic Oval seats 8000 spectators and will host 12 Olympic events.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Spring Extravaganza!

As April turns to May in Vancouver, the Nelson House B & B garden is a spring extravaganza. The picture above, taken yesterday, is just a glimpse of blooming peiris japonica(sooo...sweet at night), clematis armandii climbing up to Vienna's window and over the porch roof and the magnolia soulangeana, reaching for the sky.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Vancouver 2010 Olympics Accommodation

Love the Olympics? A true sports fan? Still looking for a room for the Vancouver Games? Please see the google map for our great, downtown, West End location. From here, you can easily walk or take transit to all Olympic venues.
The photos above are of our last remaining room still available for the 2010 Olympics. Our spacious "Vienna" room overlooks the front garden. The European, antique brass bed is queen-sized. Old-fashioned ceiling fan, mahogany desk, vanity, rockers & other furnishings complete the ambience. Vienna is also more budget conscious, with a lighted mirror & vanity sink in the room and a hallbath shared with one other room.
For any bookings that overlap the 17 night, Feb. 12-28th(inclusive) period of the Games, we are charging our regular 2010 High Season room rate of CAD.$138(+ 15% tax)/nt for single occupancy or CAD.$148(+)/nt for double. Rates include full breakfast, free local calls, wireless internet and offstreet parking!
Here's the catch: Due to excessive demand, Olympic bookings must be for the minimum 17 nights mentioned above. No shorter-term reservations will be taken.
Payment will be by Visa/MasterCard – 50% at time of reservation and 50% at check-in. No refund of either payment will be made under any and all circumstances. Maximum double occupancy. No sub-letting or substitution of guests. We recommend private trip cancellation insurance to minimize the risk of cancellation.
Please make Olympics room bookings IN WRITING using the RESERVATION REQUEST FORM on our website(sorry- no phone bookings) but feel free to email or call if you have any questions. We look forward to welcoming the world!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


The pictures above show the new look of the Shangri-La's cozy wetbar. The last few weeks have involved both an energy retro-fit and a stylish makeover for portions of our top-floor suite. Attic spaces have been opened, insulated and resealed airtight. Not only do guests have the makings for coffee, tea and cocktails(note the built-in refigerator under the counter) but the chimney brick has been exposed for the first time to add more of that heritage warmth that B & Bs are all about. Sexy lighting adds just the right touch for an evening's romantic nightcap.

New flooring and natural wooden baseboard trim has also warmed the ambience of Shangri-La's comfortable bath. Yes, that is a corner jacuzzi tub for two. By day, it is tropically sunny under a skylight.

By night, the tropical artwork on the oval wall mirror is backlit. I sketched the artwork and the mirror was custom built for us in Hong Kong. You just gotta see the cool green and golden glow from the perspective of the tub.

Hope you like! We are not your grandma's bed and breakfast - nor your local Best Western. Please checkout the guest-house website for more pictures of the suite - very nice for a romantic getaway.

The greening of Nelson House B & B

Tomorrow, I should be able to show the results of our recent renovations. Shangri-La revealed....

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Vancouver Springtime...

Just a couple of pics taken yesterday of cherries and daffodils in bloom.

Fresh !

Friday, April 10, 2009

Vancouver Convention Centre 2 Opens

People come to conventions to be educated and inspired. At Expo'86 in Vancouver, the World Fair's Canadian Pavilion was designed for future use as Vancouver's iconic "Canada Place". The effect is of a huge sailing ship jutting out into the waters of Burrard Inlet. It is imaginative as it's design includes a convention centre, a hotel, a cruiseship terminal and even an IMAX theatre. At the time, the translucent, white glass-fibre fabric hung from five masts was technically advanced and served to create huge unobstructed interior spaces, flooded by natural light.

This week, Vancouver's NEW Convention Centre expansion opened to the public and for it's first conventioneers. I took in the show. Situated just west of Canada Place, along the new Coal Harbour Seawall, this building also juts out over the harbour. Seaplanes land and take off from the waters at it's side. Wraparound public walkways have added fresh new views of Vancouver's picture post card beauty. The world will soon receive plenty of televised views as the Convention Centre will be used as the Media Centre for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

The new Convention Centre's effect is of an angular, sharp-edged mountain with natural green, grassy slopes. The building is "green" in many more ways than one. The six acre(2.4 hectare) grass and wildflower roof is the largest living green roof in Canada. It is already home to thirty thousand bees and attracting nesting birds. Deep below, forty per cent of the foundation is resting on concrete piles driven into the seabed. Design features have been included to form a marine habitat for sea urchins, starfish, sea lettuce and Vancouver's friendly harbour seals.

The aesthetics are dominated by enormous glass walls that frame views of the harbour and the North Shore mountains. Inside, the awesome spaces are warmed by the generous use of BC. fir beams overhead and stacked BC hemlock walls(assembled by a robot, named Victoria). The unique seawater heating and cooling system makes highly efficient use of energy.

Are you coming to Vancouver?

Leave us a comment or question anytime. Always glad to hear from you!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

A bed and breakfast's history.

Our top-floor Shangri-La Suite room is progressing towards a green nirvana. Insulation has been laid in the attic crawlspaces and the attic hatch-doors lined and weatherstripped. The walls and ceiling of the new wetbar have also been stuffed.

From a decorating point of view, we have now exposed the lovely, old chimney brick in the wetbar. We found two sets of carefully inscribed initials pencilled on the brick. Judging from the penmanship and the fact that they have been encased in lath and plaster for more than a century, I imagine they belong to some of the first builders. Everyone likes to leave their mark on posterity.

In addition, we managed to save the oldest layer of brittle wallpaper. It reveals that the room was dressed in a pale blue and rose trellis pattern with climbing roses in the pattern. I am somewhat surprised at the original elegance of this third floor bedroom. I am also pleased because directly, below this dormer window, there is an ancient rose standing against the house - pale pink , sweet and worthy of the Guinness Book of Records at over 16 feet high.

And of course, history tells us about the people who lived before us. When we removed the hand-built kitchenette counter , probably dating from the 1940's, we found two empty "mickeys" of Captain Morgan's Black Label Rum , tucked underneath the floor of the cupboard. Long ago, a very mellow carpenter must have entertained himself while he worked upstairs and left a different kind of mark for posterity.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Vancouver welcomes the Dalai Lama!

Photo of the Dalai Lama courtesy of the Vancouver Sun.

I have to mention "energy" conservation of a different kind. No doubt about it, the Dalai Lama loves Vancouver. It has just been announced that His Holiness will visit us for the third time in five years, this Sept. 26 -29, 2009. Last time he was here, in 2006, he spoke at our downtown hockey arena selling out 30,000 tickets in a matter of hours. This September, the event is dubbed the Vancouver Peace summit.
The Dalai Lama's Peace Summit will search for ideas for change. You can join in discussions of education and peace activism with His Holiness, five other Nobel Peace Prize laureates(!), Vancouver's Eckhart Tolle and other remarkable human beings such as Mary Wilson, former U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, who was compelled to resign her post after she criticized violations by the Bush Administration.
The Sept. 26th edition of the Vancouver Sun will be given over to the Dalai Lama as its guest editor. The theme will be "educating the heart". Panel discussions and workshops will be open to the public.
This all reminds me of when I moved to Vancouver after living five years in Texas. I had grown familiar with a southern, Christian vocabulary that permeated everyday conversation. Texans commonly used churchy words like "share" and "witness." In Vancouver, those words disappeared to be replaced by "energy" and "being open". I quickly met locals who were convinced that Vancouver sat at the crossroads of some global, metaphysical meridians. This powerful and benign flow of energy enabled a great potential for both personal spiritual realization and worldwide advancement. Perhaps, there is something to it.
On his last visit here, the Dalai Lama opened the Dalai Lama Center for Peace and Education. This 2009 visit is part of a commitment he made then for a continuing series of "Vancouver Dialogues". You have to ask yourself - Why Vancouver?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Going green - one dusty step at a time.

Our Shangri-La construction project is progressing. A new attic hatch has been cut into the central ceiling. For the first time, I was able to peek into the top pyramid-space of the attic under the peak of the roof. It was clean and dry. No signs of critters. No bats in the belfrey so to speak! Being inside a pyramid, I am sure I benefited from some sort of positive energy vibrations. Well - why not?

Two other wall hatches were also cut into the the corner attic spaces between the dormers. A scrap of 1941 newspaper seems to confirm that the rock wool insulation was installed at that time. No patched holes in the walls, so the roof must have been redone in '41 as well. All this cutting is through lath and plaster walls. It's not easy as the vibrations of the saw can quickly crack and crumble surrounding walls.

I always say that old houses are organic - through the years, things seem to have grown together. Or put another way - dare to fix one thing and you F up another!