On a one-acre property sits a transformed post-and-beam dwelling completely reborn to look more like a custom build than an extensive renovation. The original owners built the home in the late 1950’s and were ready to sell when designer, Ian Roberts, owner of Flashhouse, recognized its potential. Modern forms now fuse the past with the present to initiate a layout upgrade, while an angular cantilevered addition speaks to Roberts’ loyalty to authentic modernism.
“The land was really quite flat,” says Roberts, who carved out some extra depth for the garage, accessed from the back. He adds that though the superstructure was at the end of its life, he utilized the entire building footprint and added a suspended addition to the design. “The overall layout was modified, yet some of the primary rooms, like the living area, remained the same.”
Prefinished birch plywood soffits on the facade echo the natural tones of the walnut on the interior, while the cement board and Parklex around the entrance merge the home with its natural surroundings. The cantilevered master bedroom creates a striking effect upon approach and given the solid rock beneath, stands on a steel “V” column, a structural element that Roberts has utilized in some of his previous designs.
“I chose to elevate the room above the land rather than blasting the rock,” says Roberts, who now enjoys the abundant wildlife that meanders beneath the windows, giving the family of five and two dogs, a birds-eye view of the parade below. Forming an arm of the T-shaped dwelling, the addition provides 1,600 square feet to the finished 4,200-square-foot home.
The private, heavily-treed setting made floor-to-ceiling windows an obvious choice to let the lush landscape in. Framed vignettes created by the extensive glazing saturate the home in natural light and offer delightful shadow play. Stealing even more sunlight, the wall of windows in the dining area slide open to a patio to create a breezy indoor/ outdoor experience.
The home’s seaside neighbourhood informed material choices like the wide plank oak flooring with visible knots and an oil finish that patinates over time for a more laid back feel. In the kitchen, American black walnut offers warmth in the predominantly neutral space that includes painted white lowers and bright white Ceasarstone quartz countertop.
The suspended wood-burning fireplace pivots to direct heat as desired and hangs delicately against the charcoal grey wall to create a grounding gathering place. Designed for work and play, the dwelling has modern proportions that were built to be well used. With all principal rooms on the main floor, connected by one long hallway, Roberts emphasizes the home’s livability factor.
“This home is definitely not a museum,” states Roberts, who adds that the livability comes in the form of the elevated, one-level rancher design. Offering the flexibility of a downstairs family room, the design was carefully planned so that the majority of the living happens on one level.
Roberts highlights the benefits of being both the designer and the builder of a project and points to the synergies of this approach where his solid understanding of how the design impacts the build fosters a fluid construction process. “As a designer, you learn from each iteration of a plan and then you view each subsequent design through this improved filter.”
Taking cues from the original structure, Roberts’ design blends eras to reflect his modernist ethos that a home should have everything it needs to function and nothing more. Beauty comes from that.