Designed as a carefully crafted response to its surrounding nature, the 3,300-square-foot Bear Stand Residence nestled in the remote woods along the shores of Lake Contau beautifully fulfills the clients’ desire for indoor/outdoor living.
In the initial site visit, Miller and his clients, Sharon Leece and Joe Magrath, spent several days camping in tents on the property.
This invaluable experience helped him and his team understand the clients’ needs, and allowed them to figure out how to best integrate the holiday retreat into the wooded landscape.
"We had a dream of creating an authentic cabin aesthetic in a modern yet comfortable context," explains Sharon, who adds that she and her husband jumped at the chance to buy the 99-acre woodland, waterfront site.
Not only was the site located in the heart of nature in the Halliburton Highlands where Joe had spent many summers growing up, but the pristine environment was also a refreshing change from China’s bustling mega-cities.
The two-story contemporary home stretches east to west to parallel the lake and steep granite outcropping on either side.
To create a home that would withstand extreme weather conditions and blend into the forest, the architects worked closely with the clients, as well as a contractor, to choose resilient exterior finishes, including board-formed concrete, stained western red cedar, double-glazed windows, black fiber-cement panels, and a raft of Douglas fir glulam beams that supports a standing-seam metal roof.
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In addition to the master suite, the residence offers three guest suites and a bunk room with four beds, as well as a den to comfortably accommodate a minimum of 12 guests.
A double-height living room with a locally sourced granite fireplace on the ground floor is the heart of the home, and connects to the kitchen and dining area. Sweeping forest views can be enjoyed throughout.
"In many ways the design aims to evoke the same feelings of warmth, gathering, and shelter that we experienced during that first visit," says Miller. "In an otherwise wild landscape, the building acts as a refuge, with a particular focus on inside-outside connectivity to allow the woods to figuratively reach inside, much like a tree house."
The Bear Stand Residence received a 2018 Housing Award from the American Institute of Architects (AIA).
Want to experience this exquisite retreat for yourself? Make a booking for the Bear Stand Residence here.
Architect of Record: Bohlin Cywinski Jackson
Builder/ General Contractor: Brinkman & Sons
Structural Engineer: Blackwell
Cabinetry Design/ Installation: Mill Line Woodworking Ltd.
Electrical: Mad Cat Electric Co.
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