mid-century modern : carmichael residence

here is a sneak preview for the upcoming west vancouver home tour : one of the house in the tour will be the carmichael residence designed by ron thom and built in 1958 and recently (2011-2012) renovated.

below is an article from the december 2000 edition of heritage vancouver newsletter

1160 nepal newsletter

ron thom carmichael residence - globe and mailadele weder has an article in the globe and mail, that was written when the house came on the market back in august 2011. there was a great fear that the house would be bought by someone who would buy it for property value only and bulldoze the ‘architecturally significant’ house to make way for some gaudy monstrosity. there was a sign of relief to find that the new owners, jan & jim, would embark on sensitive renovation of the house.

a few worthwhile quotes from the article:

It takes just one glance at this sculptural cluster of wood and glass to imagine the extra materials, craft and hours of labour logged by its builders back in 1957.

“The house demonstrates Thom’s increasing confidence in his exploration of complex geometric forms,” observed architectural historian Donald Luxton recently.

But Mr. Thom imbued the house with his own spirit. The hipped roof is embedded with clerestory windows that infuse the foyer and corridors with ethereal light. The shards of light and hexagonal bulkheads create a shifting pattern of shadows against the upper walls, as unexpected as an abstract canvas. Mr. Thom originally trained as a painter at the Vancouver School of Art – he never attended architecture school – and made every house he designed as unique as a portrait. “Ron took inspiration where he could find it,” Mr. Luxton said, “not copying but filtering and reinterpreting design themes, like riffing on a jazz theme.”

The hexagonal grid boosted the original construction costs considerably. But it actually makes the house seem much larger than its 1,150 square feet. As you meander through its living spaces, the diagonal trajectory makes for a whirligig circulation pattern, as though you’re walking through a continuous möbius strip.

If that’s the case, it will be a buyer with gumption, patience, and not much big furniture. “When you first enter the house, it reads like a derelict shipwreck,” says Darrin Morrison, curator of the West Vancouver Museum. “But you can see past that to the mastery of the house. He didn’t just build a shell; he built the whole thing like a finely crafted object. And as a design object, it’s spectacular.”

great little blog post on vancouverlights here about the original house.

fluff designs was involved in the renovation of the house. below are some links to the images and blog posts that go into some detail about the house during the last year of so in transforming it from a ‘derelict shipwreck’ to a fantastic renewed home.

flickr photo set of the house before the start of renovation here.

link to the floor plan here.

kicking it old skool with a 50’s maytag washer here.

last but not least, the finished carmichael house here. looks great, can’t wait to see it in person on the home tour.

update 2013-08 : check out the article in vancouver observer.


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