Our Projects

Longhouse - Sooke, BC

25 photos Finalist - 2016 Western Living Designers of the Year Award - Arthur Erickson Award

The name suggests a gathering place, a major function of this second home.

The splendor of the site spoke louder than any zoning laws about the form the house should take. Because it is only one room deep, the house affords fantastic water views from every vantage point. The resulting linear configuration also accommodates the shallow ravine into which the house is nestled. The huge European windows have strong wood elements that frame the views. From inside, the view is the art.

The overall design concept employs the use of a few good materials—warm woods against the drama of steel and glass—and careful planning of proportion and scale. Outside, massive steel cantilevered brackets form a dynamic counterpoint to the natural cedar finishes. Inside, a steel staircase in the entryway doubles as a sculptural element.

In collaboration with Kenney Nickerson, AIA

Coal Harbour Penthouse

15 photos Finalist - 2016 Western Living Designers of the Year Award- Robert Ledingham Award

An all white envelope with flush minimal casing and baseboards with reveal detailing convey a minimalist aesthetic punctuated by tall, black oak doors. Rustic flooring, reminiscent of an old French chateau also acts as counterpoint to the clean white of the overall design.
The space is now a perfect foil for the clients’ art collection and primarily Italian furnishings.

Whistler Chalet

31 photos Finalist - 2016 Western Living Designers of the Year Award- Robert Ledingham Award

Taking on the custodianship of a work by Bo Helliwell and Kim Smith of Blue Sky Architecture almost qualifies as an historic renovation project. While the overall sculptural elements of the building were quintessentially Blue Sky, with curved walls and roofs, wood structural elements and amazing windows, the 20-year-old Collins house was due for a modern makeover.
Respecting the underlying strengths of the initial architecture, we set about upgrading the kitchen, bathrooms and laundry. We also created a more fulsome entry and mudroom, plus an augmented spa area and media centre. We enhanced the interior detailing with new panel doors and beefed up finishing elements with 1X4 trim and 1X8 baseboards, all with a signature reveal detail on every connection
Never a ‘usual’ Whistler Chalet, the choices of fittings and furnishings for this house were also anything but standard. Preferring instead to add to the owners’ collection of modern furnishings and to showcase their art, this house is now a warm inviting modern interpretation of a traditional chalet.

right sizing - Victoria, BC

17 photos Finalist - 2016 Western Living Designers of the Year Award - Arthur Erickson Award

The client acquired a 1930s one-storey bungalow (attached to a 1990s two-storey structure) with the intention of replacing it. However, subsequent changes to the zoning laws meant that any new structure be limited to no more than 1,235 square feet. Of course, it also had to integrate with the adjacent property.

The client was downsizing, and interested in sustainability, so keeping the house small complemented an already efficient energy-management strategy. Additionally, the design uses orientation and thermal massing to capitalize on solar gain.

The layout maximizes every square inch of space, with built-in cabinetry providing valuable, efficient storage while also allowing for an open spacious feel. Given the temperate climate, the main rooms wrap around and access a private courtyard, bringing the outside in and effectively adding another room to the house.

Vancouver Condo

19 photos Small floor plate made large with an open-concept floor plan that captures abundant natural light in architecturally dramatic space; the views help create the ambience.

The design mandate was to create a contemporary environment with sophisticated European appointments—from custom cabinets and kitchen appliances to floor finishes and designer lighting.

Arbutus Cottage

17 photos Arbutus Cottage
Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

The natural beauty of the land inspired both the design of the house and the use of materials that reflected the environment. The client’s needs were expressed in one terse sentence: Just build me a box. What she got was a simple, easy living, bright house with graceful proportions and enough detail to give it some magic.

She also preferred eco-friendly design and construction. Ultimately, the best way to reduce energy costs was to keep the house small—no more than 1,000 sq ft—and to incorporate as many sustainable systems as possible via passive design and use of materials. The use of indigenous wood is consistent throughout, with a standing-seam metal roof chosen for durability and pleasing contrast.

Manhattan Condo

10 photos Although the clients had wanted a contemporary loft-style apartment, they fell in love with the location and views of this high-in-the-sky apartment overlooking the East River and Manhattan skyline. Instructions were to work with the traditional elements and the floor plan while incorporating new detailing to effect a modern fusion and unify the space. Ceiling cove molding and baseboards were scaled up in size yet toned down in appearance by rendering all walls and woodwork in an off-white and staining the wood floors black.

Only specialty areas saw greater intervention. Traditional kitchen appointments were replaced with sleek wenge and aluminum Italian cabinetry, quiet Euro detailing, and built-in energy-efficient appliances. The bathrooms were fitted with wenge panels and cabinets, along with new modern sinks. New square-trimmed, low-voltage lighting serves to complement furnishings and artwork for an overall calm effect. It balances the excitement of the views.

Westover

17 photos For a client who preferred contemporary, minimalist design, the challenge was to incorporate new construction into a neighborhood with a long history of traditional architecture. Additionally, the client wanted only 3,500 sq ft, while most of the neighboring properties were almost twice that size, challenging us further to make the house appear larger, and to endow it with proportions that reflected a larger scale.

Outside, the house employs a design reminiscent of Scottish manor houses with stone sills and lintels; steeply pitched slate roofs; and deeply set, large double-hung windows. Inside, the house is unashamedly modern, with an open floor plan, two-story entry hall and a wall of glass across the entire rear facade.

The house was constructed to accommodate expansion. When it changed hands, it was expanded to include 7,000 sq ft of finished living space without changing the footprint.

In collaboration with Montchanin Design Group

Art Studio

3 photos The studio Lee designed is a wonderful place for making art. It provides a sense of quietude and drafting space that's truly functional. - Wes Memeger
The client’s initial request was for an all glass pavilion in the back garden. Ultimately the problem with that concept—no solid walls to hang art or accommodate storage facilities—made it impractical. Reluctant at first to consider the idea of locating his studio in the basement, with its low ceilings and minimal natural light, he was won over by a plan that incorporated the basement area as workspace that opened onto a greenhouse-like addition with a much higher, vaulted ceiling.

In the end, this was a more practical solution, one that provided much more space, included a generous storage area, and was significantly less expensive to build. Polished concrete was used for the 12 X 5-foot, poured-in-place island because it afforded seamless, contiguous workspace.

DE renovation

5 photos The client wanted to endow the traditional, 1939 Cape Cod design with a more contemporary look. The challenge was to create an exterior with clean lines to reflect the minimalist treatment inside and to make the original structure more architecturally consistent with the recent, two-story addition.

The front door was moved from the north to the east elevation, and a portico was added that referenced colonial tradition with a design representing an abstraction of that tradition. Then all windows, siding and trim details were replaced where necessary to unify the finishes and tone of both the new and the old. Stonework around the front entry is the client’s design and execution; it ties the house to the surrounding gardens, walls and front terrace. Ultimately, the house reflects the client’s eclectic taste, a creative blend of historic and contemporary.

Swan House

4 photos The spectacular country setting had a strong influence on the design. It was a magical site, backing onto woodlands with two existing ponds in front, complete with resident swans. Initially, conceived as a two-story stone French country house, the program could be accommodated instead in a French cottage style, with one full story and a second floor in the roof with gables.

The saving in volume allowed the client to indulge in a high level of detail and quality finishing, with custom stone construction, a cedar shake roof, and French doors throughout. Elegant dormers in a steeply pitched, curved roof with wide eaves give the house a commanding presence.

In collaboration with Montchanin Design Group