Per­sonal Space

They came, they saw and they con­quered Van­cou­ver, but their Tofino home has al­ways been the lo­cus of their West Coast cool.

Vancouver Magazine - - Contents - by Ju­lia Dil­worth | pho­to­graphs by Lil­lie Louise Ma­jor

At home with the founders of Ta­cofino.

Be­fore the Van­cou­ver truck, the Hast­ings-Sun­rise bricks-and-mor­tar res­tau­rant or the Gas­town taco bar, the two heads of the Ta­cofino em­pire were rent­ing in Tofino’s Vinyl Vil­lage—a spot within eye­shot of their first ven­ture. “When we first moved to Tofino, we spent all our money on our food truck,” laughs Kaeli Robin­song. Her hus­band and busi­ness part­ner, Ja­son Suss­man, would fit in surf ses­sions be­fore or af­ter work.

The small-town-ness and com­mu­nity of Tofino were a big draw for both, so they bought a dark and “dun­geony” old weld­ing shop in the woods, right across the street from the beach. And over time, the pair slowly turned its 500-ish square feet into the 1,600-square-foot “hip­pie West Coast” family home for four they live in to­day. A big L-shaped ad­di­tion with aport­hole, sky­lights and ex­tra be­d­rooms brought in much needed space and light. “Two of the main sup­port posts in our house are full tree trunks,” says Robin­song. Cedars taken down to make room for their home were put back by post-and-beam spe­cial­ist Ian Gar­rard in al­most the same spot.

A favourite space in the beachy re­treat is the open-to-the-for­est bath­room, with punchy green dan­de­lion tile that they im­ported from Viet­nam for their Gas­town res­tau­rant (she or­dered ex­tra for their home be­fore they started ren­o­vat­ing). Also sourced from their Ta­cofi­nos: scraps of rug made into pil­lows, white table num­bers now used as book­ends, and even a Bocci light fix­ture that Suss­man res­cued dur­ing the con­struc­tion of their Hast­ings lo­ca­tion. “It was a funny-shaped one that was lit­er­ally in the dump­ster out back. It was like, ‘How is there a Bocci light in the dump­ster?’” laughs Robin­song of their Omer Ar­bel night­light. “There are lit­tle bits of Ta­cofino ev­ery­where.”

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