Situated midway up Rainbow Hill in Saanich, one of the highest points in Greater Victoria, sits 2800-square-feet of light filled, west coast modern living. Built into the hill, with both south and west facing exposure, the floor-to-ceiling windows capitalize on the extraordinary views of the city, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and the Olympic Mountains. The gently sloping angular roofline gives this tri-level home a modern aesthetic balanced by a warm and welcoming interior. Designed by Rus Collins at Zebra Group and built by Darren Wark of DBW Contracting, this family home is simple in form and design and strikes a perfect balance between practical elements and stunning details. Boasting an efficient use of space, strong linear elements define this timeless, four-bedroom, west coast modern home.
The goal of the design was to maximize the abundant natural light and capture the vistas across the Juan de Fuca Strait and as far west as the Sooke Hills. The objective was to create a home that is spatially efficient and functional with a warm and livable quality. “I approach every project with the care in quality and attention to detail that I would expect in a build for my own family,” says Wark.
After debating on the roofline, the final design took the ‘wet coast’ winters into consideration which resulted in a modern angular roof with a gentle slope. Horizontally set, custom milled cedar on the exterior, paired with vertical metal in the upper quadrant, reads like a carefully curated art piece with contrast and texture working together in modern form.
To complement the modern lines and striking white walls of the interior, Wark used a light, engineered oak flooringfrom Finland to give the home a relaxed, beach house feel. Flooding the house with natural light, the black framed windows and doors add a sense of drama and style and transform the extraordinary view into mutable pieces of art.
Wark credits Jenny Martin, from Jenny Martin Design, for bringing an elegant, contemporary style to this west coast modern home. The waterfall-edged walnut island anchors the space and becomes the focal point of the eat-in kitchen. An exacting equation of modern design, uniform top and sides of the island echo that of the iconic parsons table.
Exuding a sense of sophistication and glamour, grey continues to reign as the hottest neutral hue with a timeless appeal. It’s not always about what neutrals you blend, but how you pair them that really matters. Variations of white and grey cabinets are au courant, adding contrast and interest to predominantly white spaces. Considered a calming hue, grey on the lower cabinets grounds the brightly lit, open space.
Maintaining the flow of the home, a whisper of room division defines the space and creates a cosy living area for relaxing. To minimize the separation, the sleek built-in fireplace connects the dining and living areas to create a seamless path.
Decks off both the kitchen and the dining room bathe the main floor with light and maintain a natural flow to outdoor spaces. With an open-plan living and dining area on the main floor with fireplace, kitchen pantry and a powder room, the upstairs reveals two bedrooms, master bedroom with walk-in closet, ensuite and a convenient laundry area.
No longer a functional afterthought in design, staircases present an opportunity to create a distinctive architectural feature. The floating staircase in this home, with industrial-style rail, elevates the wood treads to contemporary status and maintains the light, airy atmosphere. Keeping the home visually spacious with a touch of bling, Wark used striking stainless steel tubing that sparkles in the natural light. Typically reserved for structural beams, parallam (engineered wood) beams were used for the stair treads for durability and a fresh modern look.
The home’s seamless flow contributes to the efficient use of space and its livable quality. Wark adds that “with every project I learn something new; it is important for me to always be moving forward in design.”
Sliding doors with frosted glass maintain the home’s sense of flow and fresh aesthetic. When open, the doors provide the bedroom with a greater sense of space and yet, there is privacy, with plenty of natural light when the doors are closed.
The luxurious, statement-making, ensuite offers a relaxing space to rejuvenate. Bathed in natural light during the day, the sconces, pot lights and tear-drop glass pendants transform the space in the evening to a quiet spa-like retreat.
Whether you have noticed or not, most showers have a 6-inch step at the entrance. Contained behind a frameless, glass enclosure with a durable teak floor, the curbless shower speaks to the meticulous details in this design. Creating a calming, minimalist statement, teak slats are an elegant upgrade from a typical tile floor and work double duty to conceal unsightly drains.
- Builder: Clint and Darren Wark at DBW Contracting
- Design: Rus Collins, Zebra Group
- Interior Design: Jenny Martin Design
- Stainless Steel Stair-guard: Crest Sheet Metal
- Cabinets: T&C Cabinets
- Countertops: Colonial Countertops
- Plumbing Fixtures: The Ensuite
- Light Fixtures: Mclaren Lighting & Illuminations Lighting
- Electrical Contractor: Abbott Electric
- Plumbing and HVAC Contractor: Cairnview Mechanical
- Flooring and Tile: Oak Bay Broadloom