The illuminated staircase may be the most unusual architectural feature of this cool lake house but its hybrid styling is no less intriguing. With strong ties to its surrounding natural landscape and lake frontage, House K is little bit country on the outside and a little bit Japanese on the inside. This odd juxtaposition of styles was created by Design Associates as part of the brief from their client who wanted the Japanese “feeling of sophistication, perfection in detailing, open flowing spaces and the accommodation of changing seasons” to be an important part of their new home’s design. They also wanted it to have as strong a connection to the surrounding landscapes as possible, and this is where the country aesthetic comes into play.
The country aspect to the home is in full force on the front facade, with its loose edged entry of grass and pebble grouted concrete slabs laid in a casual pattern of alternating sizes. At ground level, the entry is easily mowed while the grasses on either side are left to grow as they would in a meadow. The home itself has a simple barn or boat house profile covered in red cedar shingles on the roof and part of the facade – left to weather into a silver patina – as well as white oiled oak siding. Only the entry void and its bold ultramarine blue door breaks from the natural aesthetic as if to say “Over here and come on in”!
Once inside the home the natural wood exterior has been replaced with an all white scheme of concrete walls and white stained marble on the ground level as well as white oiled oak upstairs and downstairs.
The wood siding on the outside are part of the interior visual and create that instant connection the home has with the surrounding landscape and when its too nice to be indoors, the glazings simply slide away for an easy transition to outdoor living.
The terrace off of the social zone is partially covered by the cantilevered 2nd storey.
Not only does the terrace face the boat house and its own private inlet access, but it also morphs into a dock that leads right to the lake.
All of the lakeside landscape was re naturalized with grasses – it really doesn’t get much better then this.
Upstairs the dock, lake and re-naturalized gardens are enjoyed from a covered terrace screened in with wood slats for privacy and shelter. Other rooms upstairs are the master suite including ensuite and walk in closet off of the terrace as well as a guestroom with ensuite and an office.
The illuminated staircase connecting the two levels incorporates lit risers for easy access at night.
A second more contained stairwell leads downstairs to the basement wine cellar, technical room and guest apartment. This apartment comes complete with a kitchen, 2 bathrooms and a washroom.
One of the key factors that help integrate the Japanese and country aesthetics of this home is the architect’s focus on light as an essential design element. Even the polished marble floors on the interior are based on light as they become a showcase for tree shadows and sky reflections.
Photography by Hans Kreye and Sebastian Kolm