west coast modern : hemingway treehouse renovation

photography by p. powles

designed by : original house (1976) by brian hemingway, extensive renovation (2017) by fook weng chan

original house description : spectacular, serene and unique custom designed home by well known architect, brian hemingway, his own private residence known as the treehouse. environmentally inclusive with changes in the seasons, lights, eagles, herons, squirrels, complete ocean view of sparkling ships by day and brightly lit floats drifting by. multi level, 1890 square feet, three full bedrooms, amazing den reading area, wood burning and gas fireplaces, 2 full baths, decks, massive sliding doors to balconies that are extensions of the house to the outdoors. this home is full of detail, interest, and an amazing blend of wood, ambience and a respect for space indoors and out.

photography by p. powles

in 2013, new owner took on the task of renovating this post-and-beam home to a new level of beauty.

few words from the architect about the renovation : brian hemingway built it in 1977.  at the time, at thompson berwick pratt, he and his mentor paul merrick were working on a few projects which explored similar design vocabularies including the macmillan bloedel forestry exhibit centre in van dusen gardens, and the canadian forces officer candidate school in cfb chilliwack.  paul built his treehouse a few years earlier than brian.

fook weng chan started designing the renovation over 2 1/2 years ago, but the end product is very much an ideal team effort with the owners, builder and his team. he had been an associate with thompson berwick pratt for 12 of his 14 years there and was the project architect for the majority of brian’s projects from 1987 – 96 so he was comfortable with the challenge.

at the treehouse, it was important to distill the essence and recognize the daring and genius of the original design whilst imbuing the home with layers that speak to and of the new occupants,  all that while upgrading a home that had not been maintained for almost 4 decades.  the owners are to be congratulated for undertaking this effort to save a piece of bc architectural heritage.

original kitchen before renovation. photo by pixilink

renovated kitchen open to seating area. photography by p. powles

view of treehouse looking up from walkway/stairs from street. photo by david kominek

new decks and charred wood siding throughout. photo by david kominek

dining room with corner window looking out onto yard and forest beyond. photo by david kominek

block wall of fireplace and timber posts in top of treehouse. photo by david kominek

view of back of house with new copper roofing and intriguing scupper detail. photo by david kominek

stone stairs in yard space with scupper lead to water feature. photo by david kominek

dan white modern victoria : 530 salmon road

530 salmon - deckdesigned by : daniel evan white

built in : 1974

check out the listing at sothebys, and further images by realtors here. Below is a lengthy writeup on the house:

progressive for its day in 1974, when daniel white, renowned bc architect, conceived this 5500 square foot west coast contemporary residence on the western facing shores of the saanich Inlet. now, fully restored, and progressive once again, with the latest in technology; seamlessly united with its gentle sloping, forested site, complementing white’s dynamic, bold, yet environmentally empathetic design through a refined selection of natural materials, from both near and afar, executed to an unparalleled standard. this private, 2 acre, coastal sanctuary, hugs 400 feet of temperate rainforest waterfront, affording arresting ocean views through its fully glassed western exposure. the intricately stepped plan further captures magical vistas of the surrounding towering trees and moon lit nights through an interlocking series of arched skylights. Interior open planning furthers this intriguing visual experience, reinstating the site’s natural topography as well as its tactile richness through a matrix of locally milled cedar, and custom quarried rajasthani slate floors – both inside and out. the understated natural palette defers to the daylight views beyond, while at night, this selection, further enhanced with australian brush box flooring, black honed granite counters and cabinetry panels of resin embedded reeds, come into their own through a carefully designed system of programmable lighting. both broad expanses and precise vignettes of glass are secured through a system of top grade commercial windows and doors. state of the art seismic engineering secures the structure to its foundation. several exterior decks continue the stepped progression providing an entertaining bbq area; a pool with adjoining changing room and steam/shower; separate guest or caretaker quarters; as well as coastline decks that offer a variety of transitional daylight and shade opportunities to enjoy both white’s remarkable creation and one of victoria’s finest coastlines.

530 salmon - entry stairsthe entry sequence is a true dan white experience. approach the house at upper level and exterior stairs lead down to lower living levels.

530 salmon - upper floor planthe upper floor plan. note that the large set of stairs leads from roadway to upper floor and then down to pool level. rooms are open to each other and separate by changes in level with few steps within the plan.

530 salmon - lower floor planthe lower level plan features the pool and a small separate suite and loads of deck space.

530 salmon - living roomthe living room features the curved window/skylights to allow natural light and extend the window visually beyond the ceiling.

530 salmon - bedroomthe bedroom has a smart built-in that does not reach the ceiling. this creates a feeling of a room larger than it really is since the ceiling plane continues throughout.