BEST of both WORLDSCAPTIVATED BY MOUNTAIN ARCHITECTURE, A COUPLE BUILDS A TIMELESS TIMBER HOME THAT STAYS TRUE TO THEIR AUSTRALIAN AFFECTION FOR LIGHT AND VIEWS
by BONNY MAKAREWICZ
FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT once said, "Wood is universally beautiful to man, and the most humanly intimate of all materials."
James and Susannah Calvert-Jones couldn't agree more with the renowned American architect. In fact, when the Australian couple decided to build a home in Whistler, their love affair with alpine architecture and the timeless beauty of wood was an integral part of the design.
"It is such a incredible feeling," explained Susannah, co-owner of Celebrate Whistler, a local gift and homeware store. "When I curl up in bed under the timber ceiling, there is a heavy, solid feeling of peace and warmth, which is hard to explain as an Aussie. It feels very Canadian."
Before a move to Whistler in 2009, the couple "oohed" and "aahed" at Whistler's signature homes over the Internet, often wondering what it would be like to live in such a structure.
When a lakeside lot came up for private sale in the Nicklaus North area, the couple enlisted interior designer Lynn Gentile of Cabin Fever Interiors, home designer Sean Anderson of Progressive Design Inc. and premier builder Durfeld Constructors to create their mountain retreat.
"My clients are a darling family with four young children who wanted a retreat in the mountains that felt like it had been there for centuries, yet were drawn to cleaner modern lines," said Gentile. "We tried to accommodate both by choosing rustic materials but applying them in a more contemporary style."
This blend is most visible right upon entering the home. Hand-textured, wood wall panels are contrasted with a modern glass-and-steel staircase, set against a wall of stone. The stone, chosen to reflect the rocky cliffs seen across Green Lake, is used throughout the home to create continuity and achieve the feeling of a century-old alpine home.
To complement the indigenous Douglas fir used for the main structure material, Gentile chose white oak for the millwork, cabinetry, trim and floors for its warmth, durability and overall aesthetic.
"Quarter-sawn boards of oak have been esteemed since the Middle Ages for use in interior paneling of prestigious buildings, such as rooms within the House of Commons in London," said Gentile. "It seemed appropriate, then, that such a timeless wood was the right fit for this mountain retreat."
On top of creating a home to accommodate a large, growing family comfortably and achieving a feeling of privacy within a dense subdivision, Anderson also had to provide light and attractive views for the sun-loving clients from Down Under.
"The intent was to bring in as much of the natural light as possible to help bring in a sense of warmth, as well as maximize the exposure to the incredible views," Anderson explained.
While ascending the stairs to the main floor, one is struck by one of the most phenomenal views Whistler has to offer — a 180-degree panorama of the emerald waters of Green Lake, topped off with surrounding peaks from Mount Currie to Blackcomb Mountain.
It is a view, the owners say, that never gets old.architect: Progressive Design Inc.
interior design: Cabin Fever Interiors
general: Durfeld Constructors
glass: Whistler Glass
windows: Dynamic Windows and Door
doors and other wood features: Canadian Bavarian Millwork & Lumber
flooring: Canada West Wood Flooring
steel: Wide Open Welding
landscape: Another View Landscaping
electrical: Spark Electric
BOTTOM: A low-slung, cocoon-style Togo modular sofa system offers a modern twist to the lower media room, while textured wood paneling wraps the room in warmth.
Photos: Bonny Makarewicz,