Nestled in a weather-beaten forest, this 2,500-square-foot beach house creates a connection between the drama of the nearby ocean and the sense of sanctuary provided by the trees. Composed primarily of one large room, the house is light-filled on the south side facing the ocean, and insular and protected on the other side.
Glass walls open the living area to panoramic views of forest and ocean, while two fireplaces on either end anchor the space and provide a feeling of refuge. Cantilevering the house from its base provides space for ferns and beach salal to grow underneath the glass flooring that runs the perimeter of the main room, giving the sense of floating above the forest floor.
The warm, natural tones of the interior take inspiration from Tofino’s coastal forest, and are punctuated by pieces from the owner’s contemporary art collection. Artworks were incorporated into the design of the home, with the fireplace walls specially designed to fit paintings by Sam Francis and Diego Singh. A collection of furniture pieces designed by Jim Olson specifically for the house, including a walnut sofa built into the hearth of one fireplace, complete the interior environment.
“The house is raised up off the ground because of the salal plants, which grow naturally to five or six feet tall. This is the height of the floor level, which allows you to look out over the top of the native plants. Inside, it feels like you are in a boat floating over a green sea of salal.”—Jim Olson, FAIA, Design Principal
Project Team: Jim Olson, FAIA, Design Principal; Olivier Landa, AIA, LEED® AP BD+C, Project Manager; Will Kemper, Project Architect; Christine Burkland, Interior Design
Key Consultants: Spearhead, Structure Prefabrication & Front Door
Photography: Nic Lehoux