My Approach to Home Design
For me, the house needs to serve its occupants rather then the other way around. So in the design process, due consideration should be given to:
a) the site orientation - for example, facing east to catch the morning sun.
b) the site features - every site has something to offer - how can we maximize those features.
c) the floor plan - what are the requirements for each room and what is the relationship between them?
d) the elevations - is the outside design of the dwelling proportionate, respectful of its surroundings, welcoming?
e) the overall design of the house - does it meet all your expectations?
f) construction - of the many alternatives available for building, what best suits you and your budget?
g) materials - what are the overall implications of the materials you choose?
What I bring to the table from my 35 + years experience in the building industry are principles of enduring design and appropriate sustainable construction technology. This coupled with an integrity and willingness to really listen to what my clients wishes are and work with them to achieve a place they are pleased to call “Home”.
It’s all academic anyway
‘80-‘82 British Columbia Institute of Technology - Diploma in Building Technology
’85-’87 Acadia University - Bachelor of Science - Certificate in Applied Science (Diploma in Engineering)
’87-’89 Technical University of Nova Scotia - Bachelor of Environmental Design Studies
Municipal Building Official positions held
Plans examiner for the Town of Smithers, B.C.
Plans examiner for the City of Nanaimo, B.C.
Building Inspector for the City of Gloucester, Ontario
Level 2 Certification Building Inspectors Association of British Columbia
Certification for R-2000 program
Certification of Wood Energy and the Better Built House
Work in Architectural Firms and Design Build Firms
Cluff & Cluff Architects – Toronto, Ontario
Rob Reimers Architect – Toronto, Ontario
Campbell Moore Architects – Victoria, B.C.
Bill Lipsey Architect – Victoria, B.C.
Holovsky Chang Architects – Saanich B.C.
Harris Challenge – Design Build– Design of R-2000 homes
Hands on building experience
’79 assisted with the design and construction of a vertical log post and beam home in Sooke, B.C.
’93-’02 designed and built my own Post and Beam West Coast Design home to R-2000 standards on the ocean front at Willis Point, just outside of Victoria.
’02-’06 moved to an organic farm, renovated the 25 year old house, converted a horse trailer shed into a cottage, built a greenhouse, added on to the barn and converted a large blacksmith shop into a gym, yoga room and workshop.
07’—’17 renovated a 30 year old home with the goal of making it energy efficient - year 1 - it took 5 cords of wood to heat and the water pipes froze twice - by year 5 it took 2 cords of wood to heat and the pipes never froze again - success!
- I continue to design new homes additions and renovations for clients from Quadra Island to Fanny Bay. I have recently moved to Quadra where I designed a small footprint home (840 sq ft) for myself. I was very fortunate to have Ross McPhee Contracting and his exceptional crew build my house using Pacific Homes prefab panels. Ross ran the job from start to finish with out a single hiccup - a very fine builder indeed - I highly recommend him - thanks Ross (www.rossmcphee.ca)!
A word about the ego
Home design is a natural playground for egos.
Most of us are on a budget and when we are not conscious of it, we give into the ego’s endless wants. It’s a bit like letting a spoiled child be the CFO of a company. Now that child will have great fun with instant gratification and give nary a thought about the long term consequences. One of those impactful consequences being burdened by additional debt for years.
I have often thought about this:
a) we all need shelter
b) there is a part of us that continuously seeks improvement, otherwise we would all be perfectly content in 1946 Soviet-chic concrete block buildings
c) there is a fuzzy line between having a house that resonates” home” within us and the desire to express ourselves to the world outside
I have no answer, but perhaps if we make our choices consciously with honest reflection, then we are more likely to make the wise choice and that serves us all.