Family property gets ready for another century


It’s obvious to see how a family with architectural roots in the heart of Vancouver, once made this property the place to spend time to getaway as long ago as the great depression. With its stunning island, ocean and mountain views what better place to set the weekend anchor, relax and create memories? Fast forward a hundred years and what has changed? Not too much, except that maybe it’s time to retire the old cottage and create a space that will service the needs for the present and future generations.

Building goal: To remove the aging family cottage and replace with an 1800 square foot architecturally designed dwelling that connects the space between land and sea.

Challenges: Singe point access to the steeply sloped building site from a sporadically busy road meant that every step of site preparation and build needed precision planning. Starting with the removal of the existing cottage and installing a new septic field to putting the finishing touches on the driveway, access was our biggest challenge.

Charms: With the use of a folding door system and an open floor and deck plan, interiors flow seamlessly to exteriors. Views of the rugged North Shore mountains and summer sailing activity are captured from every angle. A curtain wall glass system, more commonly seen in commercial applications and topples/post less glass railings allow for unobstructed vistas. Large decks, outdoor patio heaters and even an outdoor shower all lend themselves to the homes intended purpose of connecting the family, with each other, ocean and nature. Every family has their story. For this one a new chapter has begun.


Rainforest Living


The rich rainforest cycle provided the organizational and architectural genesis for a 2000 sq.ft family residence and 1000 sq.ft garage and studio. The plan and form of the house - a long, listing bar and a tall, tipped tower - evoke the ecological form and function of nurse log and stump relic formations of the rainforest. To minimize excavation, the stump and log formations of the buildings “come to rest” on the forested slope. Without overhangs, the house provides light and water to budding vegetation, as would a natural nurse log.  To minimize site disturbance during construction, a 12” thick super-insulated panelized shell was prefabricated and lifted into place. To minimize heat loss, the entire slab foundation sits upon a thick cushion of foam. Truly a unique design, complemented by custom building techniques - this is a flagship home in Summerhill's portfolio.


Simple. Living.


As the awareness of our sensitive environment grows so do our ways of living quietly within it. This home is an example of one families response to the complexity of living lightly. Combining thoughtful design that captures the sun as a heat source with building technology to retain its energy results in a home with low energy costs and a reduced ecological footprint over the life of the building. As part of the low footprint, the homes expectancy is designed as a 150+ year building.

Using the passive house principle of orienting the house to face south, the home maximizes solar gain during winter months. During summer months the 7’ overhangs provide necessary shade and allows it to stay cool naturally. Thick and heavily insulated concrete floors and walls provide a thermal mass that helps to regulate the temperature in all seasons and provide comfort for the family. Continuing the theme of low energy use, the house was equipped with a super high efficiency and passive house approved Zehnder HRV to provide continuos clean air to the home. As well LED lighting, a heat pump clothes dryer and Energy Star appliances all help to reduce the homes power needs.  

If using very little energy wasn’t already enough the homewas also equipped with a 11 kilowatt grid tied solar system. When the sun is shining the rooftop panels feed electricity back to BC hydro and ultimately reduce the operating cost of the home.  

To further reduce the environmental footprint of the home the house was designed to capture and store 9500 litres of rainwater to flush the toilets, water the plants and wash the cars. Speaking of cars we shouldn’t forget the allowances made for the electric car charger for the owners future car. 

The Sunshine Coast is full of people who love the outdoors and care deeply about our planet and its future. It’s been our honour and pleasure at Summerhill Fine Homes to build for clients that have made their homes examples of how we can step forward lightly. 


When the daughter of a late Vancouver architect came to us and asked for our help building her a family home that would make her dad proud the task was not taken lightly. From orienting the building on the property to make the most of the light and views, to putting the finishing touches on the last of the details, care and collaboration were always a must.

At the end of the day, the results speak for themselves.


Waterfront Living


Waterfront manor built for extended family to enjoy for generations. The classical design speaks to the owners desire to merge old and new with a style of refined, contemporary living. Highlights of the home are custom rock work, fir soffits and beams, extensive crown moulding and trim work. The home was designed to accommodate the owners extended family by having multiple living spaces for people to enjoy; like the separate carriage house, yoga/workout studio and office working spaces. For the owners comfort the home is appointed with a heat pump furnace, and water catchment system to irrigate the lawns and gardens year round.


Living on the Bluff


Dramatic, elegant, and inspiring, this home is simply beautiful. The Shoal Lookout Residence is situated on a rocky perch with 190 degree angle wrap around views of Howe Sound and the Strait of Georgia. The upper floor is loft like, open to views on 3 sides. A glass enclosed hydraulic lift links the lower and upper floors. There is a level access from the entrance, extra wide sliding doors allow the space to flow when opened, and showers are all designed without any barriers at the floor.

The home is constructed to high sustainability standards under the LEED for Homes program, and has been awarded LEED Gold. Rainwater is gathered into a rain garden feature near the entrance, and the overflow is stored in a recycled septic tank for irrigation. Energy saving features include continuous insulation at the exterior of the walls, enhanced insulation levels, air tight construction, solar hot water heating, hydronic radiant in-floor heat pump heating, a heat recovery ventilation system and high performance fibreglass windows. The house was prepared with infrastructure to receive future photovoltaic cells and a wind turbine power generator.


Handcrafted, Modern Day Performance


It's beautiful when you can take your client's vision and give them exactly what they wanted - this house is no exception. We provided old-world craftsmanship and beautiful finishing carpentry, and built a sustainable and modern home.

This property features a true sustainable building strategy, using locally sourced wood and building products, Geothermal technology and Solar thermal hot water. All wood is FSC certified, no PVC, insulated with R40 rigid, and locally sourced, milled and kiln-dried fir flooring. To cap this project off, we sourced all rock from the local quarry, only 5 kilometres from the property. Enjoy!


A Forest Retreat


This property is close to Roberts Creek Provincial Park, and features old-growth timber, ancient moss and stunning glacial deposits. Summerhill utilized local materials - including beams, cedar shakes and board & baton siding from trees on the property. The home is 1,800 sq.ft., and facilitated the owners lifestyle to create a low-impact home in the forest, while allowing a home office and yoga studio. There are many beautiful features, including outdoor catwalks to access areas of the home - all surrounded by natural terrain undisturbed by the home.


Refined Waterfront Living


We really enjoy a challenge. This property presented a narrow building lot with restricted access, and the end result is stunning. We had to utilize the outdoor space to connect the home with the view and water access. The 2 bedroom, 2,400 sq.ft. home + garage exudes simple lines, large outdoor living space, and a wall of accordion doors that face the Pacific ocean. This home features custom timber work, using locally sourced and milled beams and soffits.


First Impressions Are Everything.


Working with a property that had an existing cottage at the front - the homeowners wanted to build their home to accommodate a growing family. The 4-bedroom, 2,000 sq.ft. home boasts glamour cedar posts that were salvaged from a forest fire just up the Coast. The unique look and feel is timeless and a major feature of the home. The curve and undulating roof line is stunning. Flanked by locally sourced and milled cedar shakes and siding, along with a generous outdoor living area - this home offers a timeless design and relevant building features. Polished concrete floors, clear-fir trim and casings plus a locally built fireplace...simply beautiful!


Village Living With Peek-A-Boo View.


A Summerhill designed and built custom home - inspired by Japanese theme and architecture. A total 2,600 sq.ft. home - with a self-contained 1,000 sq.ft. 3-bedroom lower living area, this home has it all. Trademark Summerhill fir and cedar accents and locally sourced floor, trim and siding make this a spectacular home to gaze upon on an evening village stroll. Carrying on with the Japanese inspired look, we had a local woodworker hand-build the front door - a bamboo and fir ply door, elegant and inviting.


Renovations + Additions.


We helped the owners round-out their waterfront property by building a custom timber work carport, outdoor shower, privacy fencing and wood shed. All material was locally sourced and milled, and the project highlights Summerhill's craftsmen skills and ability to adapt to any property location and challenge.