designed by : ron thom
built in : 1952 (2017-listed for 4.38mil)
an excellent example of a well-kept mid-century west coast modern house.
check out my earlier blog post on this house from 2012.
current realtor listing here.
another fantastic set of houses was featured at this year’s tour. all were modern yet with lots of history as they all had been renovated throughout their life.
The 1956 Switzer/Hermanville Residence was built by Henry A. Switzer, who would later gain local fame with his second pink-exterior house on Mathers Street at Taylor Way. Before building that four-wing cantilevered house in the Googie architectural style, Switzer designed a classic 1950s house with some unique features on Sentinel Hill. Original elements of the home include curving, wood-paneled walls, open living spaces and a gourmet kitchen boasting scenic mountain views.
The 1958 Dawson/Purdie Residence is by renowned architect Ron Thom, who designed the house to feature traditional wood framing, stud walls and a low pitched roof. Inside the house are distinctly angular forms arranged by a hexagonal grid. The main living area is set high above a rocky knoll to take advantage of stunning ocean views. Renovations by Russell Hollingsworth simplified the divisions of space and introduced a skylight that brightens and animates the interior. Barry Downs designed an entry garden, walls and gateway, making the approach to the house a pleasant experience.
Set into sloping bedrock, the three-level 1961 Ray Residence by Daniel White is a fine example of West Coast modern architecture influenced by a Japanese aesthetic. After fifty years, the house had badly deteriorated and needed a great deal of work. Jim Ferguson and Jan Pidhirny, whose previous renovations include Ron Thom’s 1957 Carmichael Residence, took up the challenge over a year ago and have completely transformed the house into a stunning contemporary West Coast modern home.
The 1966 Dick/Smith Residence, designed by Barry Downs while he was a partner at Hollingsworth and Downs, embodies sensitive West Coast modern design principles. The house is approached through a mature stand of Douglas firs and has terraced gardens covering the sloped site. Living spaces feel seamlessly connected to the lush landscape and views of nature are carried indoors through strip windows with mitered-glass projections. Cedar woodwork throughout the house adds warmth and texture.
One of fourteen waterfront units comprising seven duplexes designed by Russell Hollingsworth in 1988, our fifth home on the tour was recently renovated to showcase the best of West Coast modern style. Featuring expansive views of Burrard Inlet to the south and the mountains to the north, this three-storey home features wood framing, high ceilings and miles of windows to bring the outside in.
From its understated entrance through a leafy-green courtyard, to its elegant, open plan interiors featuring newly-installed custom cabinetry, fixtures, furnishings, and flooring inspired by the textures and colours of the beach nearby, the home’s renovations embody the architect’s original vision for the complex as a perfect confluence of building and site, materials and style.
the houses weren’t as photogenic as other years so I will leave it to the experts this time:
check out hadani ditmar’s wallpaper article here.
check out western living’s article on the dick/smith residence here.
check out western living’s article on the russell hollingsworth duplex here.
west vancouver museum’s facebook photo page has oodles of images from the tour here.
the west vancouver museum’s eighth annual home tour took place on july 13th. five homes that exude the west coast modern aesthetic and lifestyle were featured on the tour build in various times to explore the way modernism has moved throughout the decades.
designed by ron thom of thompson, berwick and pratt, the 1958 carmichael and 1961 grinnell residences provide an interesting comparison of thom’s work. The carmichael residence embraces complex interlocking hexagonal modules, while the grinnell residence is characterized by a simple rectilinear grid.
as west coast modern architecture started to flourish, local builders adapted the principles of post and beam design. the lewis construction company, the most prolific of these design-build firms, constructed simple cost effective homes including a 1960 house recently renovated by gavin froome, one of the director’s of the film coast modern.
the downs residence II (1979) is a small house by local architect barry downs, who designed for his family. the house embraces an ever-changing coastal environment with views to the ocean. the modulated structure of the house is well integrated into its tranquil site.
in addition to these four homes, tour participants will also visit the recently completed house designed by architect greg dowling, for his family. the slender, horizontal structure projects from a rock precipice, overlooking the ocean and a forested ravine. the design combined concrete, steel and cross-laminated timber (clt), an advanced timber product designed for durability, sustainability and design flexibility. this house is the first building in north america to use clt as the primary structure for all floors, walls and roofs.
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
adele 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.
west vancouver museum is hosting their annual tour of west coast modern beauties.
the tour takes place on a sunny july 13th 2013 and will feature 5 sure-to-be-spectacular west coast homes.
go to : west vancouver museum to read more about this year’s tour.
designed by : ron thom
a real mid-century gem by local west coast architect, looking for a new owner who will take care of it for future generations to enjoy. the house, as you can see by the photos, is in excellent original condition retaining all its mid-century west coast charm and originality.
a link to the statement of significance by the city of west vancouver here.
link to blog article about ron thom and this house in particular at alex waterhouse-hayward.
link to blog article about this house (boyd house) at spacingvancouver by eve lazarus.
post by architecture wanted here [july 9 2012].
post by ounodesign here on the boyd house.
my best wishes to kerry mcphedran, the homeowner on finding that perfect buyer who will treasure the home as much as she has.
mcculloch residence designed by : chart & pat mcculloch architects – built in 1979
quaglio residence designed by : min-fong yip architect – built in 1974
ledingham/wiens residence designed by : sharp & thompson, berwick, pratt architects – built in 1954
go for a video tour right here.
works-baker residence designed by ron thom – built in 1951 [2012 on market for 2.388mil]
pearson residence design by robert mckee – built in 1951 by owner/builder b bjornson