ArchitectFrits de Vries Architect
Text description provided by the architects. The site for this residence can be said to be in a transition zone, poised directly between the expansive horizon offered by Lake Okanagan, and the rugged mountainscape of the Kelly Valley. True to the Okanagan landscape, the surrounding land is arid and filled with earthy undertones and worn rolling rockscapes. The Lake is almost like a vision of paradise amid this desert-like surroundings. Brilliant greens line the shore of the lake in direct contrast to the arid mountains beyond.
From an architectural point of view, the house acts as a transition point between the Lake and the mountains. The large covered decks, extensive sliding windows, open flexible plan and wood sliders (both interior and exterior), allows the owner to frame, touch and breathe in the natural surroundings. The color scheme of the exterior is inspired from the surrounding landscape, and the stonework is local from Kelly Valley Quarry. The large open plan on the main floor allows for generous entertaining and family play areas. Quieter and more intimate areas face the mountainside where a small grassy enclosed garden stills the breeze and view. Essentially, the house is the place for the inhabitants to bring the natural elements into a more human scale.
Economically, the simplicity of the house’s design helps maintain a low overall construction cost. This has allowed the owner to allocate more money on quality detailing and finishing materials such the large expansive windows, extensive use of rich natural woods, natural stone and custom millwork. In addition, the owner manufactured all the steel components of house himself to help save on costs i.e. steel stairs and louver systems. Solarban 60 windows and a louver system for all windows reduces energy use. Generous overhangs, especially along the western exposure reduces rain exposure, controls solar gain, minimizes potential leakage and reduces maintenance. The open plan allows for extensive natural cross ventilation throughout the house and requires very little cooling in the summer. An in-floor heating system has been set-up in the house for future use of the Lake.