Perched on a terraced outcrop of granite overlooking Garden Bay on British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast, the Cliff House is a whimsical extension of its natural site and surroundings. Movement and light play throughout the architectural form and capture dramatic views in all directions. The design process for One Seed Architecture and Interiors began with an extensive topographical site analysis and solar study in order to optimally configure the orientation of the house and each individual room. Sustainability was articulated in such features as integrated passive heating, cooling, ventilation, thermal massing and daylighting are especially useful in this rural location where the electrical grid is unreliable. Specified materials favour natural, local, and environmentally benign products with recycled content. In addition, green features include a planted roof overlooked by the master suite and solar hot water collectors which supply showers, sinks and the hydronic radiant in-floor heating system.
The Cliff House is situated on a rocky cliff overlooking the bay. The living room projects out over the foundation and cliff below to accentuate the experience of floating amongst the trees. The living room windows wrap around all sides while the butterfly roof opens up to the trees, sky and stunning bay views. The hemlock ceiling flows from the interior to the exterior to create a seamless connection to the surroundings.
Integrated with its rocky site, the massing takes cues from the shape of the surrounding bedrock. The garage is tucked below the south facing deck and adacent to a gorgeous rock outcropping that was exposed as part of the west coast landscaping.
The concrete entry stair clad in tile follows the topography to meet the front door as the house emerges from the bedrock. Here, the butterfly roof form allows the house to open up to the front.
With primary views to the north, the design ensures that the house has ample access to daylight and carefully planned outdoor living spaces capture the sun at each part the day and throughout the changing seasons. The south-facing front deck is a transitional space where the homeowners can enjoy the mid-day sun and interact with their neighbours while also offering a bit of a barrier from the road when inside the home.
Inspired by the site, three architectural elements express the narrative of the Cliff House. First, the deep blue-grey wood cladding transitions from the ground with a stepping profile emulating the rugged granite bedrock below. Second, the reflective finish of the corrugated galvanized steel siding creates vertical shadow lines inspired by the silhouette of the property’s towering trees. The final element is the butterfly roof which floats above the airy metal clad walls and represents the high cloud cover lifting and folding in the wind.
A covered outdoor living area on the north side of the home provides a protected space to lounge, barbeque or enjoy the outdoor fireplace on a cooler evening. The space has an intimate feel with plenty of daylight thanks to the skylights and lifting roofline.
With an open concept home, it is important to provide enough space around the front door to create a functional and comfortable entry experience. The front door opens onto the kitchen, living and dining room, but offers its own distinctive drop zone for functionality.
This little niche provides functional seating as well as wall hooks and cubbies for those little everyday items you might want to grab on your way out the door.
The walls of the kitchen were designed to not quite meet the ceiling in order to maintain the continuity of the lines in the hemlock ceiling and to allow natural light to flow through.
The living room is anchored by a high-efficiency Rumsford wood burning fireplace which provides heat to the home in a location where the grid is not always very reliable.
The spacious deck at the back of the house capitalizes on stunning harbour views while maintaining sight lines from the living area.
A barn door with stainless steel hardware takes you into the ensuite from the master bedroom.
The open concept master bedroom was designed as a private refuge. It occupies the entirety of the upper floor allowing the space to be bathed in natural light with views on all sides to the surrounding tree canopy and the bay below.
The master bathroom was designed for the homeowners to enjoy uninterrupted views in complete privacy. The free-standing tub occupies prime real-estate while the zero-threshold shower enjoys the same stunning vista.
Behind the hemlock clad headboard is a spacious walk-in closet. The stairs down to the living space enjoy a framed south-facing view with an impressive two-story high crop of bamboo.