Sarnia has many unique and beautiful homes, but the one built by Shannon and David Bourke on Old Lakeshore Road is in a class by itself.
The Pink Palace, as their children’s friends call it, was designed according to the rules of Vaastu Shastra, the ancient Indian science of architecture.
It’s built on a 9x9 grid around a central courtyard and aligned with the five elements of nature: space, air, fire, water and earth.
In fact, from its position facing Lake Huron to the north to its colours, proportions and natural marble and wood, everything about the home is in keeping with Vaastu principles.
“It follows the mathematic rules of the universe, but when you see the house you don’t see the rules,” said Shannon, who teaches transcendental meditation, as does her husband, an insurance adjuster.
The centre point is the courtyard, or Brahmasthan. Representing “space,” it’s squared by four Corinthian columns and bathed in light from a massive skylight.
Above the skylight itself is a “Kalash,” a heavenly decoration covered in gold leaf that Shannon says helps bring angels into the home.
“A lot of people when they stand here say they can feel the energy,” she said. “You want to make sure you live in a house where you live in peace.”
The other elements are aligned with a direction: air in the northwest, water in the northeast, fire in the southeast and earth in the southwest.
When construction was complete and the Bourkes moved in in November of 1993 theirs was the first Vaastu home in Canada, the rules of which are laid out in ancient Hindu scriptures.
A Vaastulogically constructed home has a positive cosmic field and is in harmony with nature, making it conducive to a happy and prosperous life, said Shannon, 62.
“It goes back thousands and thousands of years to the temples of India. It even predates feng shui, and it’s meant to create a feeling of security for your family.”
Bourke, who has studied in India, is a registered doctor of natural medicine in Ontario, with diplomas in Ayurveda and Siddha medicine.
She has an international clientele who come to Bright’s Grove for treatments, and the Bourkes hold meditation and yoga retreats a couple of times a year.
“We’ve had people come from all around the world who heard there’s a Vaastu house here,” said Shannon. “Yet Sarnia doesn’t know who we are.”