Skilled carpenter crafts dream retreat in White Lake forest

Whimsy weds the practical in Wayne Schaeffer’s 12-sided White Lake home.

Carpenter Wayne Schaeffer shares a quiet moment with dog Sam

Carpenter Wayne Schaeffer shares a quiet moment with dog Sam



Whimsy weds the practical in Wayne Schaeffer’s 12-sided White Lake home.

Schaeffer, a carpenter with more than 30 years of experience, built the house last year. But the components, such as the windows and doors had been under construction in his workshop much longer.

“Twelve years ago I was at a barbecue in Regina and I had had it, so I looked at my buddy Wayne and said ‘I’m going to move to B.C., and I’m going to build an eight-sided house in the forest,’” laughs Schaeffer. “When he asked ‘why eight-sided,’ I said ‘OK, make it 12.’”

The numbers may seem odd, but the craftmanship is beautiful, with everything from the house to the lovingly detailed furniture built by his hands.

“Why build it? Because I can, I own the technology,” he says, pointing at his head. “I was everything; I was the roofing guy, the siding guy, the electrical guy…”

Schaeffer’s unique home, woodshop and several outbuildings are designed to have minimal impact on the landscape. The upstairs bathroom contains a composting toilet. A self-described vegetarian and minimalist, Schaeffer cooks on his airtight wood stove in winter and a hot plate and outdoor barbecue in warmer seasons.

The interior wood finish is mostly birch trim and a lot of oak, says Schaeffer, whose artistry extends to woodworking art in the form of beautiful boxes of various sizes and shapes. Schaeffer laminates 50 small pieces of spalted birch to form blocks. From these, an interior is carved to form a vessel, which is then fitted with a lid. Then begins the long process of polishing to create the finished product.