West Coast Modern was built by Horizon Pacific Contracting to meet the needs of a family in the long term. The family lived in a small house on their Oak Bay property for three years before deciding to build a new home. Over that time they developed firm ideas about how they saw themselves living on the property in a house better suited to their family needs. The build incorporated information from living on the site, such as situating a bedroom in the new house in the same position for ideal lighting and placement on the property.
The family had a vision of a house for entertaining, parties and large gatherings that would also offer cozy living spaces to be enjoyed on a day-to-day basis. To achieve this, several quiet moments were built into the floor plan, providing spaces for reading, reflecting and more intimate socializing throughout the house. The house is situated on a high profile lot with a high volume of traffic so significant time and attention was given to how the house fits within the property and the surrounding landscape.
The house was built using a steel skeleton covered with large timbers to support a complex, high peaked structure that performs well seismically and allows the house to be completely open with no obstructions. While the home is designed for luxurious living it was built to have a light environmental footprint. The home is certified Built Green® Platinum, the highest achievable rating. The home is extremely energy efficient and energy bills are lower than many homes half the size; the carbon footprint is equal to 1,500-square-foot home.
Large overhangs maximize solar efficiency by allowing natural light while shading the house in the hottest months. The house maintains a low carbon footprint through the use of an air-to-water heat pump and in-floor hydronic heat. Four heat recovery ventilation systems change the air multiple times over 24 hours.
The kitchen, dining room, master bedroom, and children’s bedrooms all have cozy nooks designed within them to increase the daily livability of the house. This extends to the outdoor spaces where an outdoor fireplace is the focal point of an outdoor patio nook within the larger space. Wood burning fireplaces throughout the house further enhance the intimate ambiance. The large light in the front living room took an exceptionally long time to place because it was positioned to be fully visible from the street within the front window frame. This and other details strengthen the structure’s relationship with the surrounding neighbourhood rather than insulating from it. Large strategically placed windows afford privacy without sacrificing scenic ocean views.
The kitchen design incorporates a number of features to support large-scale entertaining. Several hidden areas allow for the kitchen to quickly convert from a family gathering space to a fully equipped entertaining space. This includes a “kitchen within a kitchen” butler’s pantry, featuring a fridge and dishwasher, baking station, entertaining supplies as well as ample space for food prep and presentation. A dish room and beverage centre is also separated from the main kitchen. There are several wet bars placed throughout the house which serve as adult gathering spaces for parties and small gatherings.
A curved bar off of the living room is made of Taj Mahal quartzite which is also used for the four-metre kitchen island, extending warm tones throughout the house. The built-in curved kitchen table offers expansive, unobstructed views of the back yard through large folding doors for a seamless transition between the two areas.
A saltwater fish tank is a focal point that is visible throughout the house while separating the front foyer from the main house. Cutouts in the foyer wall offer a peek into the interior, welcoming people to the home and drawing guests in. The bottom floor features a home theatre and wet bar, infrared sauna and steam room, home gym, wine cellar, recreation area, and private entrance.
Off of the family room, a separate wing holds the teenage daughters loft bedrooms. Each daughter has a private bathroom, laundry, and living area for hobbies and music. The space is designed to afford privacy and foster independence while maintaining a connection to the rest of the house.
The back yard is a very private space in a high-profile location. Because it is hidden from the street a number of features were built in for year round enjoyment. Douglas fir and western red cedar form a large canopy that is consistent with the home’s west coast design. The canopy’s semicircular design is an extension of design elements originating in the centre of the house. The kitchen fireplace connects to a large outdoor fireplace for additional continuity between the two spaces as well as warmth and ambiance. Located on an exposed waterfront means cool evenings. Aspects are built in to shelter from the wind and to provide warmth. The covered area is walled on three sides to maximize the effect of the built in heaters.
Vancouver Island sourced ledgestone and fir and cedar beams reflect the west coast modern design while minimizing the home’s environmental footprint. Natural materials such as wood and stone were sourced from Vancouver Island. Coatings, as well as materials used for insulation, cabinets and floors, were chosen to be low or no Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) to further minimize the environmental impact of the build. LED lighting is used throughout the interior and exterior of the house.
- Millwork: CSD Design
- Countertops: CSD Design
- Kitchen and Bath Fixtures: Victoria Specialty Hardware and Plumbing
- Flooring: Island Floor Centre
- Bathtub: Bartle and Gibson
- Tile: Decora Ceramic Tile & Natural Stone
- Lighting: McLaren Lighting
- Fireplace: Good Grade Plumbing and Gas Co.
- Paint: Empress Painting
- Appliances: Trail Appliances