Modern pad in West Vancouver with dramatic cantilevers

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Russet Residence is a modern project with dramatic cantilevers designed by Splyce Design in West Vancouver, British Columbia on a steep site with mature cedar and douglas fir to the west and an ocean view to the south. The 4,600 square foot, five bedroom, five bathroom house responds to these conditions by nestling itself into the hill while also projecting out over it to maximize views and connectivity to the landscape.

Due to its proximity to the rugged and sloping creekside bank to the west, the house was subject to strict environmental and geotechnical conditions, including a required setback from the top of the bank that pushed the building’s foundation eastwards. The resultant footprint was awkwardly narrow, so to gain back valuable space, a portion of the main and upper floor is cantilevered back out past the foundation, allowing the native creekside vegetation to grow up, under and around as an uninterrupted, wild, forest floor.

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Tucked into the hill, the front of the house is deceptively modest in scale, set off by the large mature cedar that anchors the front yard. A discreet overhang is all that distinguishes the garage, which is covered with Swisspearl, a cementitious panel with integrated color that requires no painting. (The same material is repeated on the barbecue pit out back.) The rest of the facade is covered in western red cedar — a nod to the towering evergreen that dominates the front yard.

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The dining room cantilevers 15 feet from the foundation. The glass walls extend below the floor plane and above the ceiling plane, minimizing divisions between the interior and exterior.

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The topography of the site reveals itself as one descends the exterior stairs adjacent to the forest and follows the exposed concrete wall to the main entry. Continuing through to the interior, the wall rises up seventeen feet to help frame the bright circulation volume, with stairs leading to the upper floor and down to the main living spaces.

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A stairway on the east side of the house provides access between the living room deck and the yard and pool below. The adjoining wall screens bathers as they dart between the two.

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The floors throughout most of the house are polished concrete. As the slurry set, it was agitated with power trowels to give the surface a mottled patina.

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“We wanted the walls to dissolve into the forest,” states the architect. He joined the dining room windows with black silicone in lieu of frames to minimize the structure. Stepping into the space, you can see the woods straight ahead or turn to the left to view the bay.

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“We wanted everything to be simple and timeless and to not distract from the outdoors,” states the architect. The custom cabinets are finished in white oak and Formica’s ColorCore laminate, which the designer considers a more durable alternative to lacquer. The perimeter counters and backsplash are black honed granite; the island is topped with Caesarstone.

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Parish warmed the room with white oak floors and cabinetry. B&B Italia’s low-profile Charles coffee table is echoed in the Panavision proportions of the gas fireplace, which emits a ribbon of flames.

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The front door opens into a split-level entry dominated by a dramatic staircase. The white oak treads project from the concrete wall at right but are not supported on the other end, defying gravity and adding drama to the ascent.

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In a house with so many remarkable design elements, one that provokes a fair share of comments is this guest bathroom off the pool. A single stone bench extends from the shower to the cylindrical sink, with a Duravit toilet discreetly mounted between the two — atop what is, essentially, the vanity. The architect insists he came up with the plan simply to save space, but admits it’s become a conversation piece at parties.

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In the master bedroom, a custom bed backs up against a white oak wall that divides the space from the dressing area behind it. Walls of glass overlook the adjacent forest, assuring privacy and an ever-changing panorama of flora and fauna. A portion of the master bathroom is visible at the back.

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A mirrored wall behind the vanity reflects the neighboring woods, making the narrow master bath appear much larger. “You can sit in the tub and feel like you’re sitting in the trees,” states the architect.

Photos: Ivan Hunter

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