Monday, November 9, 2009


One of the many things I really enjoy about my job is the vast number of amazing and talented people that I meet on a regular basis, clients and talents in my industry. As my blog progresses I will be writing about many local architects, designers, artists and trades I am lucky to call friends. To kick this off, I'd like to introduce you to Nigel Parish from Splyce. Parish's work is modern, light, comfortable and appeals to the senses. Natural woods, concrete, and other noble materials are combined through very well thought out, planned and executed details and designs. His spaces always make a great use of space, playing with volume and adding flexibility through multifunctional sliding doors and other such aiding architectural elements. Now that I've walked through a few of Nigel's projects, when I'm there I tend to find myself slaying "ah!" while I'm looking through unexpected peek windows in clever places, admiring perfectly thought out material joints and simple details that make the ceiling look like it's endless and may just be disappearing.

The photos in this posting are of a project Nigel recently completed in Shuswap Lake, BC. This project is exciting for me for different reasons, one being that I think it's great to see Vancouverites moving more and more towards modern life and architecture. This project and much of Nigel's other work is a perfect blend of modern design with a west coast personality. Kudos to Nigel's clients for committing to a modern lifestyle and taking this sensibility into their weekend retreat.

The project was designed for a couple who likes to entertain, but the house isn't planned solely for entertaining, it has a large sliding wall panel which allows them to divide the space if they feel so inclined during times when they want to enjoy it alone. The large oversized exterior sliding doors allow the space to open up almost completely into the views of the lake and natural surroundings. I really like the small covered area on the deck, which I find hard to distinguish if it's the deck that is encroaching into the interior floor plan or if the interior itself was carved out to add a refuged area to the deck. Just like in most of the other houses that I am drawn to, there is a harmonious and symbiotic relationship between the outdoors and the indoors.

The simplicity in the selection of interior finishes create a very peaceful atmosphere, grey, white and natural wood - no fuss goes a long way. The fireplace being a darker charcoal color and a monolithic full height form adds drama and interest to its peaceful surroundings. When it's dark out and the view disappears and all eyes can focus on the attention demanding fireplace surround, which in turn must seem to slighting disappear when the lights are dimmed and the fire is crackling. Not to go on and on about the fireplace, but there's one more thing that has me stoked about it… it's a unifying element within the space, stretching from the concrete hearth to the ceiling, It brings attention to the beautifully crafted exposed wood post, beam and joist roof structure.

I think it's wonderful that Nigel and his clients committed to this project and saw it through into completion, because modern designs aren't always the easiest to build. Modern design requires great attention to details followed by very, very precise construction. Vancouver is slowly becoming more modern, with builders and trades who understand the aesthetic and the level of involvement and commitment that it requires. For this particular project, the builder had never built a modern home before and Nigel had an ongoing challenge of coordinating and providing adequate documents and instructions to the builder who was 400 kilometres away. The magic and successful expected level of detail happened through strategically timed visits and thorough communication.

Model photos...

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