Situated on the steep south facing slopes of North Vancouver’s Indian Arm, the Cliffhanger Residence is a boldly modern home with a surprisingly tiny footprint.

The Cliffhanger Residence realizes the architect’s belief that a key component of any ecologically minded project is extreme efficiency in both its overall planning and in its layout. In a residential building environment that often equates size with grandeur, the design of the Cliffhanger residence establishes itself is a refreshing departure.

The three-level home sits atop a tiny site that would be defined as challenging by size alone - it’s a mere 25ft wide by 100ft long - but the fact that the site drops nearly 60ft over its 100ft length seriously ratcheted up the difficulties for the architect.

The home is laid out on a simple open plan with the key day-to-day activity areas of kitchen, living and dining located on the intermediate level with unobstructed views to the water. At a mere 1986sf in overall area the home is designed to be efficient and multi-functional with no space going unused. The house is rated highly energy efficient by the Canadian Ener-guide energy efficiency program achieving a rating of 85. Conduits run from the mechanical room to the roof for future solar panel installation.

The architect is trained as a Passive Haus designer and planned the Cliffhanger Residence with those concepts in mind - maximum southern exposure for winter heat gain, robust insulation throughout and a tightly air-sealed structure.

The Cliffhanger residence is a modern home with small footprint that straddles the seemingly incongruous worlds of a big city metropolis and rugged mountain landscape.

Designer: Kevin Vallely Architect (
Builder: Econ Group Ltd (

Photographer: Nik West (

kevin vallely uploaded The Cliffhanger House through Add A Home.
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East Elevation

South Elevation

East elevation - exterior stair

Roof deck



South elevation