On Saturday an estimated 300 plus Pacific-Northwesterners lined up for the opportunity to get up close and personal with seven “architecturally-progressive and contemporary Vancouver-area homes”. The self-guided tour included two One SEED homes: the Narrow Passive House which had visitors ooh-ing and aah-ing at the clever solar design and huge rooftop deck, and the Geometric House with its awe-inspiring open concept planning and floor to ceiling windows. The tour provided tour-goers an opportunity to “explore, inside and out, select architecturally-designed examples of new and stunning contemporary homes that exemplify modern living”. The tour was organized by Modern Home Tours, based out of Austin, Texas, who host Modern Home Tours across North-America to showcase cutting-edge modern architecture and modern living. The day was a huge success, and here are some pictures and stories to prove it:
Shoes….and their shoeless owners on the tour
I spent the first half of the tour in the Geometric House, answering questions and pointing out interesting design features like the flow of outdoor materials from inside to out, as well as the clever planning which creates spaces that draw the family together as a unit, while allowing for many different activities (and noise levels) to occur at once. The master bedroom suite, tucked into a shady grove of trees above a creek bed was very popular with visitors, as were the huge double sliding doors in the dining room which make the barrier between inside and out, all but invisible. I also had the opportunity to photograph the house before the tour started, so be sure to check back soon for updated photos!
The Geometric House…before the crowds arrived
Some ‘overheards’ from tour-goers in the Geometric House:
“I never want to leave. Can I move in here?” – standing on the floating staircase
“Oh my goodness, you are going to LOVE what’s coming next” – walking in to the master suit, then running back out to drag a friend in
“Now THAT makes sense” on the teen hang out area off of the living room with closing glass doors for sound insulation
“The architecture really defines different spaces within the great room while maintaining the open concept feel” – observing changing ceiling heights, floor levels, and finishes
” The visually impressive Geometric House,(is) considered a perfect example of a true west coast modern home” – AIBC’s description of the tour (not technically overheard…)
I spent the second half of the day at the Narrow Passive House, talking with visitors about the various sustainable features of the home. People were very interested in the exposed concrete masonry unit feature walls surrounding the main stair and the many ways they passively heat, cool and ventilate the space. The roof deck, which is almost as large as the entire main floor, was a huge hit as it provides amazing views of downtown and the mountains, while creating a private and large outdoor space for the family to hang out.
The Narrow Passive House…after the crowds had left
Some ‘overheards’ from tour-goers in the Narrow Passive House:
“I’ve seen a feature wall like this in a magazine, and it was beautiful. It’s so cool to see the exposed cinder block wall in real life” – taking in the architectural impact of the CMU wall in concert with the exposed PSL beam
“The view from the roof deck is amazing. I bet they are going to spend a lot of time out there!” – coming down the sun-lit staircase from the roof deck
“I think you should add a dumb-waiter for taking beers to the roof” – on an alternate use for the daylighting and passive venting shaft which extends from the main floor to the roof
“That is so smart.” – after hearing the many ways the south-facing roof windows and door, paired with the CMU block wall heat, cool, and ventilate using the power of the sun.
It was a lot of fun to share my designs, and my clients’ homes, with tour goers. I hope to have the opportunity to participate again in the future. However, it could not have happened without generous contributions of time, services, and goods for the tour. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Let us start with the home owners who graciously opened their homes up to the public. They did it to support One SEED and the construction team, but beyond that, it furthered the culture of design and dialogue about architecture in Vancouver. Thanks you!
Sarah and Kevin, One SEED clients and owners of the Narrow Passive House
Also, thanks to my amazing volunteers / friends and family: Donna Pope, John Pope, Tobin Pope, Carolyn Mackinnon, and Polly Tan for energetically guiding tour goers through the homes and answering their questions as best they could. You make a great sales team, especially for people who aren’t even in the biz!
Volunteers John Pope and Donna Pope
Volunteers Carolyn Mackinnon and Tobin Pope
Thanks to Ryan from McLoughlin Construction, builder of the Geometric House, for being on site all day meeting and greeting visitors, as well as explaining the construction process. Your attention to detail in the build was greatly appreciated. Also, thanks to Patricia Desmet of Linea Interior Design for spending the afternoon in the Geometric House kitchen showing off your beautiful work. It blended seamlessly with the architecture. I hope we all get to collaborate together again soon!
Ryan McLoughlin – McLoughlin Construction
As you might have noticed, the owners of the Narrow Passive House were just wrapping up on construction and weren’t quite fully ready on the furnishings and decorations side. For example, we were hanging curtains and assembly furniture right up until late on Friday night, and I think they were at it until the early hours of Saturday morning! To help us get that finished look, the folks at Fluff provided the outdoor furniture and other interior decorative items. A little Fluff does go a long way!
Roof deck at the Narrow Passive House with Fluff’s great outdoor furniture
Katharine Dickinson, artist extraordinaire, loaned us several of her beautiful pieces for the NPH. All works on display are also available for purchase, so contact her directly (and you should!) to find out how you can bring one of her creations home.
Katharine Dickinson’s artwork on the wall at Narrow Passive House
The impressive roof deck at the NPH is set to get way more amazing in October when the LiveRoof Green Roof, which has been growing away at NATS Nursery in Langley for the past few months, finally gets installed. We are so excited! To give tour goers an idea of what that will look like, Grant Sauer of NATS volunteered to spend the whole day up on the roof top with sample trays of the LiveRoof system, answering questions and explaining the various benefits of planted roofs. Thanks!
NATS Nursery’s LiveRoof Green Roof trays at Narrow Passive House
Lastly, thanks to Cameron and the team at Modern Home Tours for having TWO of our houses on the tour. It was an honour and a privilege!