The house was conceived as a wooden box, strategically carved open to allow natural light and diagonal views to penetrate the plan and connect the interior to the surrounding landscape, while retaining the sense of privacy stipulated by the clients. The resultant glazed courtyards both connect and separate the rooms within. Aside from these courtyards, openings in the timber shell are kept to a minimum – vertical ‘slits’ reveal glimpses of the surroundings from within; the corner window frames a view of the nearby mountain; and the front door, where the building’s ‘skin’ peels away to reveal the recessed entrance.
We asked for something private and unassuming, but that is also open and full of sunlight and takes advantage of the panoramic views. We wanted something clever, but practical and energy efficient. The house, which came in on budget, is not only beautiful, but also extremely practical. The kids’ playroom, for example, beside the kitchen, can be closed off in an instant. Also, because we can see the whole site from the kitchen, we always know where the kids are at any one time. We feel like we are living outside sometimes, yet from the public road the house remains discreet and private.
A big part of the concept was to complete the house to a high design standard using relatively cheap materials, and to keep the palette of the chosen materials to a minimum…
• Birch ply joinery: used to construct stairs, kitchen, sliding walls, storage, and shelving.
• Locally sourced Douglas fir cladding: allowed to weather naturally.
• Black ceramic floor tiles: used throughout.