Safe Harbour

The district of Ucluelet, B.C. may be hard to pronounce for some people, but it’s easy on the eyes for everyone who visits this outer west coast Vancouver Island community.

When Doug and Mary McCulloch, of Kamloops, in central B.C., wanted to build a log home “away from the noise of life,” they discovered this ocean-side lot on the southern tip of the Wild Pacific Trail, 40 km from Tofino and 290 km northwest of Victoria.

The McCullochs are no strangers to log homes and buildings. They own and operate Mountain High Log Homes, builders of new log homes and restorations.

Doug did a ‘basic design’ of the house and the couple asked Bob Miller, of RSM Drafting, in Kelowna, B.C., who has worked with Mountain High Log Homes for 12 years, to do the drawings. Mary offers high praise for Miller’s design. “He knows the structural issues and knows what will work with log and what won’t,” she says. “He made it all work.”


The three-level, 4,000-square-foot log home in Ucluelet was ‘built-to-fit’ at their company’s Kamloops site, with each log hand-peeled, scribed, and fitted snugly to the log below. The corners were fitted with a Scandinavian-style notch and a jig was used for accurate window and door openings. Everything was labeled and, just like a jigsaw puzzle, transported to their West Coast lot and re-assembled.

It took eight craftsmen and tradespeople (including their children) one year, from start to finish, to build the five-bedroom, five-and-a-half-bathroom home.

Designed as almost two houses in one, it has a 1,200-square-foot loft that has a separate living room, kitchen, two bedrooms and two bathrooms. “The loft is my favourite area of the house,” says Mary. “There are lots of windows and we have an unimpeded view of the ocean where we can see whales, and gaze at eagles soaring overhead. It’s a lovely, cozy spot.”

Flooring with character

A staircase leads down to the main living area of the home, featuring knotty, wide-planked alder flooring that adds character and complements the log walls. On this level is the garage, the entrance to the home, a living room, dining room, kitchen and half-bath.

A wide-timbered staircase leads to the lower level, which features among its bedrooms a master bedroom with double doors that open to the ocean. There are three full bathrooms on this floor, a laundry room, and a sound-proofed media room – built with one of their band-playing sons in mind.

The McCullochs a to create a home “that brings the outside in,” because they wanted the house to blend with the environment. They used granite on countertops, marble tile on bathroom walls, and slate flooring in bathrooms. Travertine marble was used in the master bathroom for its beauty and distinctive look.

It seems fitting that this unique and beautiful log cabin was created in Ucluelet, which means ‘people of the safe harbour’ in the indigineous Nootka language. The McCullochs’ warm and welcoming home offers an idyllic refuge to enjoy the town’s dramatic Pacific coastline.

As posted in Homes and Cottage Magazine