As seen in...
You could call Dr. Doug and Diane Clement visionaries of urban living.
In 2000, when they bought a condo in Coal Harbour, it was a wasteland of sorts.
“There was no Shangri-La, no One or Two Harbour Green towers, no Jack Poole Plaza or Cactus Club, but we knew that this downtown waterfront would grow,” says Doug.
These active retirees, both internationally recognized former Olympians — he a former renowned sports medicine doctor, bronze medalist at the 1958 Commonwealth Games and an Order of Canada recipient; she a former chef, eight-time cookbook author of the best-selling Chef on the Run series and former host of Global TV’s Saturday Chefs – say they wouldn’t live anywhere else.
When this busy couple, 82 and 79 respectively, decided to sell their Marine Drive family home in Vancouver to downsize, they were ready for condo living.
“Once our children were grown with families of their own, we didn’t want to look after a large home and the lawn anymore,” says Diane.
The jet-setting couple fell in love with this now exclusive postal code and the lifestyle it offers.
“We bought a 1,280-square-foot condo on the 23rd floor of the Shaw Tower and we absolutely love it… it’s like being in a resort every day,” says Diane, adding they enjoy the amenities and security afforded by the 24/hour concierge, the fully equipped health and fitness club and the rooftop deck. “We wake up to stunning sunrises, cruise ships going by, the mountains and the seaplanes coming in. I mean, really, where in the world can you have all this?”
Venture a few feet inside their two-bedroom, two-bathroom plus den home, high above West Cordova and Burrard streets and you appreciate just why this dynamic duo bought here. The uninterrupted views from the bank of floor-to-ceiling windows are absolutely priceless – from Coal Harbour to the Ironworkers bridge to the east, to the North Shore mountains, the shimmering waters of the city’s harbour and cityscape, including front row seats of Canada Place and the Five Sails.
The first thing you notice in the entryway is the couple’s glass and wood case. It displays numerous gifts and awards (including Doug’s BC Sports Hall of Fame and Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame plaques), from dignitaries in the elite sports world and from both the provincial and federal governments. Diane pulls out her most recent award – the Civic Merit Award, a medal given to her in July 2015 by Mayor Gregor Robertson. She was recognized for “her outstanding accomplishments as an Olympian and the first woman to coach the University of British Columbia’s women’s track team, as well as her role in co-founding the Achilles International Track and Field Society and the Vancouver Sun Run…”
Throughout the residence are elements of what this couple treasures: art from around the globe. In the hallway leading to the master bedroom are two works of art from internationally acclaimed Haida artists – a painting from Robert Davidson and a Dorothy Grant shawl.
“I wore that shawl when we hosted Queen Elizabeth during the 1994 Victoria Commonwealth Games,” adds Diane.
With a west coast contemporary and functional approach, sleek limestone floors, birch integrated cabinetry, marble countertops and backsplash, the kitchen couldn’t be a more perfect way to embody Diane, who can still be found cooking and entertaining for large groups of family and friends.
“Our family home was very traditional, so we sold or gave most of our furniture away to go with a very modern look,” says Diane. “One of the first things we bought was this Italian table with glass top. It opens up to 10 feet and can accommodate up to 15 guests.”
Because Diane has quite a collection of dishes, glassware, and pots and pans, Doug turned a small office into a pantry with floor-to-ceiling shelving. It’s a storage space that serves as a shortstop for the clutter that might otherwise end up in the kitchen: platters; serving trays; assorted pasta; glasses of all shapes and sizes; as well as a mini-freezer.
They also converted the second bedroom into Doug’s office. Although compact, this room shares the same breathtaking views as the rest of the home.
Because of Diane and Doug’s great appreciation for the arts, they purposely kept the walls white in order to showcase their collection of art purchased during their many overseas trips.
“We already have spectacular views that can detract from the art works so by keeping the walls and ceilings white, it minimizes the disruptions,” adds Doug.
Meanwhile, one of their favourite rooms in which to relax, entertain or enjoy the vistas is the living room, which can moonlight as a guest room with its black leather sofa bed. This space is decorated in a minimalist black and white theme – with pops of interest coming from the geometric motif on the carpet and cushions, as well as from the art displayed on the built-in birch cabinetry – again so as to not detract from the outside panorama.
Since moving into the Shaw Tower, they walk everywhere and seldom use their car.
“This is freedom, let me tell you,” quips Diane, as the couple shakes hands before they head out for their daily power walk along the Stanley Park seawall.