"Ocean Park House:
A High Performance Lifestyle"
06.01.14 | Homes & Living
In 2008, with t heir children grown and in houstholds of their own, the Srewans sold their family home. Although they didn't have an exact plan of action in place they did buy a lot a few minutes away from their previous property. “lt had an old shack/cottage with two beddrooms, one bathroom and no insulation to speak orf,” says Jim. Kathy chimes in. “We realized we couldn’t live in the ‘shottage’ forever—we ended up being there for more than two years.
When the Stewarts engaged design firm Campos Leckie, they knew right off the bat that they would take the look and feel of their new house into the realm of the modern—distinctly differentiating it from the traditional residences surrounding it.
However, by sticking to a calm palette of light grey concrete, pale bluish-grey stucco and honey-toned cedar the home announces its presence quietly. Even matte metal cladding—which could have been a risky choice—manages to blend in.
“We’re happy with the iridescent finish in it, “says Campos Leckie principal and co-founder Michael Leckie. “It changes colour subtly depending on the weather and treads as a very soft metallic element.”
Strips of cedar siding run horizontally along the house; the orientation is echoed in the metal cladding and the concrete—from board marks left during the formation process. It reinforces the rectilinear characteristics of the design.
The horizontal orientation created an interesting challenge for the concealed garage door; requiring a master carpenter to precisely fit the cedar together. when the door is down the seams are nearly invisible; the door is revealed upon the press of a button.
Campos Leckie elected to turn the garage at a 90-degree angle and situate it along the left side of the property, retaining functionality without it being a focal point of the exterior. It also allows the ‘driveway’ to become a courtyard, which can be used for entertaining.
An oversize concrete box at the front of the home draws upon passive house design principles, acting as a heat sink during warm weather and retaining heat when it turns cool. It blocks sunshine from entering the home at certain angles, reducing glare while still allowing natural light inside.
Cedar cladding continues on to the ceiling of the area immediately before the front door; it runs directly into and through the front entryway in the interior of the house. It’s a warm textural component that reinforces the sense of this being a truly indoor outdoor home.
One of the main goals was to avoid having unused volumes of space since there would normally only be two people dwelling there.
Campos Leckie made another deliberate decisions—to push the interior stairs to the far end of the house. They are used to access a guest suite, another guest bedroom and a secondary living area.
“The stairs are essentially idea when there aren’t any guests, which means the house functions as a rancher,” explain Javier Campos, co-founder and principal of Campos Leckie. “It avoids having the stairs as a defining aspect of the interior.”
Fitness is very important to the Stewarts; Jim in particular runs, swims or cycles every day and day-to-day life includes working from home, entertaining and relaxing. Of course the beauty of a custom home is that you can designate areas to accommodate these activities.
Exercise bikes and a steam room are tucked away into the pool house at the back; it can also be used as overflow space when there are a considerable number of guests.
The midsize outdoor pool is more than just a place of recreation; it features a strong circulating current, which provides an excellent workout. Weather permitting, the Stewarts can do yoga outside on the pool surround then relax in the hot tub. Road bikes are easily brought into a mudroom along a path on one side of the property.
“You can hang around on your day off instead of having to go do your exercise somewhere else,” Jim points out. “We’re also not stuck in the basement or the garage.”
There is also a shade garden with trees and moss and a larger garden with both ornamental and food bearing plants. A grassy area is just big enough for a badminton court, for family visits.
An outdoor kitchen is designated for barbecues and making bacon–Kathy doesn’t like the smell of it inside. It connects to the expansive gallery-style kitchen so people can easily get in and out of the heart of the home.
The main floor is flexible in usage. Rolling panels can alternately reveal or conceal a home office and garden, as well as the laundry room. Tons of storage closets are tucked away behind pressure-sensitive doors; more storage lines the hallway leading into the master suite.
For all of its elegant design statements, it’s the little spaces that make this home for the Stewarts. On sunny afternoons, Kathy can bask in the sun in a little balcony space at the front of the house. She spends most of her time in the living room area; the open sight lines allow her to easily view all that surrounds her. After a guessing road race or a long bike ride, Jim says the massive shower in the master bathroom is one of his favourite spots.
“Modernism isn’t about minimalism,” says Leckie. “It’s about paring down to th things that actually mean something, which is what we’ve done here.”
the Stewarts realize their unconventional home isn’t to the taste of others, even close friends—but it’s perfectly right for them.