Smith Bay House, Ontario Home, Canadian Real Estate, Architecture Images
Smith Bay House in Prince Edward County
13 Mar 2021
Design: Solares Architecture
Location: Prince Edward County, Southern Ontario, Canada
Smith Bay House
Smith Bay House, located on a flat stretch of land just a stone’s throw from the water, is an embodiment of serenity and style. A young Toronto family dreamed of a new sustainable home in the countryside, and Smith Bay House delivers that getaway. The scenic Prince Edward County property offers tranquility with its uninterrupted views of the calm bay, well removed from the fuss and hurry of city life.
The two-storey dwelling successfully marries the traditional farmhouse with the contemporary home. It is shrouded in a small cluster of trees. Two distinct gable-topped volumes speak the language of rural Canadian farmland, but the wood-clad entryway separating them and their orientation perpendicular to one another are fresh and modern. The defining palette of light corrugated steel siding is punctuated by the black of the accent panels, roof, and window frames.
This home’s thoughtful beauty emerges from its practicality. The owners are a busy and active family of four. They wanted a tidy, efficient space that would be an extension of their lifestyle and cater to what matters most: spending time together as a family, both indoors and out. They hired Solares because of the residential architects’ passion for green home design expertise and extensive portfolio of modern home design projects.
When you enter through the front door and look straight ahead, you are treated to a breathtaking floor-to-ceiling view of the still lake. This is what Smith Bay House is all about: the tranquil beauty of its setting.
There is a bank of discreet wardrobes at the entry and beyond that, to the right, is the main living space that includes the kitchen, dining room, and living room. Airy, open space is important for this family. With an open floor plan and large glass doors off the living room, the parents can see the girls do their schoolwork or run around on the lawn while still tending to their own tasks and hobbies. They can also entertain in the relaxed style they love: the clean and efficient kitchen keeps them connected to guests as they prep meals, do clean-up, and store equipment.
You feel powerfully connected to the outdoors in this open area. Two sets of large glass doors off the living room let the active family see and access their beautiful surroundings. The fresh outdoor air and all the lake sports they love are just steps away.
If you retrace your steps and turn left when you enter the house, you can bypass the staircase leading up and enter the quiet guest wing on the ground floor. With its own bathroom and a private sitting room with floor-to-ceiling corner window views of the lake, this area feels truly private.
The central staircase leads to the private family spaces on the second floor, which are stacked above the guest wing. There are two bedrooms and a shared bathroom for the girls, and a spacious master suite for the parents. Every bedroom offers a picturesque view of the bay, which becomes a sea of colour at sunset.
The palette is one of easy elegance: the white walls accentuate the brightness and airiness of the home, complemented by accents of soft wood and crisp black. But there are pops of personality, too: playful tiles, graphic wallpaper accents, vintage vanities, and carefully chosen pieces of rustic furniture. Even the staircase is a modest statement piece, with black balusters uniting the light wood treads and railings. The building is a testament to the fact that green home design and modern home design can come together beautifully.
This house employs many common construction methods. For example, it has an ICF (insulated concrete form) foundation wall with footings sunk over four feet deep to pass the frost line and prevent cracking and heaving. The frame is made of wood, with engineered joists and trusses, and the internal insulation materials is mineral wool. However, as “green architects” whose passion is energy efficient house construction in Ontario and beyond, we used several innovative methods, materials and technologies in our pursuit of very high energy efficient standards, all expertly built by Mike McGonegal of Reeves Fine Homes.
Vapour-Open, Air-Closed. Many buildings are sheathed with plywood or OSB (oriented strand board, which is similar to particle board) and covered with Tyvek. But at Solares, we choose to use ZipWall sheathing. This one product provides two things. It gives us lateral bracing to protect against wracking. It also provides a barrier that is vapour-open but air-closed, meaning that it allows moisture to leave the wall cavity (preventing mold over the long-term) but does not allow air to leak in. When the joints are taped, the air barrier is continuous.
Quality Insulation, Inside and Out. Most houses are insulated on the inside. At Solares, given our passion for energy efficient design, we insulate on the outside as well. Not only does this increase the overall R-value but outboard insulation prevents thermal bridging (i.e., when outdoor temperatures are conducted along the wood joists into the house). The Smith Bay House has 3″ insulation, which, while above code, is the minimum Solares standard for new homes, and is silver foil coated to reflect light and heat. The thermal rating for the exterior walls is R40.
Considering a Neglected Space. Our pursuit of superior insulation means that in addition to using spray foam insulation at joist ends (which is not uncommon), we also insulate the underside of the roof (which is). This makes the attic part of the conditioned space, which is especially important in a building with no basement for storage or services. The thermal rating for the pitched roof is R62.
Finding and Stopping Air Leaks with Surgical Precision. AeroBarrier technology was first developed to find and fix holes in output lines for air conditioning systems. We use it once the building is air-tight to find and block any holes in the building envelope. First, the air inside is pressurized. Next, a vapourized sealant is sprayed into air. As the air is pulled out of the building through tiny holes, the sealant coagulates, sticking to and blocking the gap. The final result is an astonishingly low level of air leakage: blower door test recorded an air leakage rate of just 1.0 ACH (air changes per hour).
Marrying HVAC and Design. We took great care in ensuring that the HVAC and architectural design inform one another in order to achieve a seamless and comfortable experience inside. The only bulkhead is in the corridor. This means that the spaces where people linger, like the open-concept main living area, have uninterrupted full-height ceilings—a key component of the modern home design.
Durable, Recycled, and Recyclable. Cladding houses in steel is rare. But steel has a very high recycled content, is extremely durable, and is itself recyclable, making it a surprisingly eco-friendly material. It was an excellent choice for the Smith Bay House where high winds off the lake demand something strong and where corrugated steel fits the local agricultural architecture language. In this case, using steel made for a more sustainable house.
Smith Bay House in Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada – Building Information
Architects: Solares Architecture
Project size: 2683 ft2
Site size: 13242 m2
Completion date: 2019
Building levels: 2
Photography: Nanne Springer
Smith Bay House in Prince Edward County images / information received 130321
Location: Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada
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