Mulmur, Ontario

Designed for a client with environmental sensitivities, +HOUSE is a manifestation of a sustainable and healthy approach to building that does not sacrifice design. Sited along the banks of a stream-fed pond, this four-season home is nestled into a natural verdant slope. Extensive 14-foot-high glazing offers expansive views of the varied landscape and access to a full-length deck, while bedrooms, located on opposite ends of the rectangular plan, bookend the open living spaces.

+HOUSE’s quiet, clean lines and eminently functional spaces belie a wealth of complex, health-sensitive technologies beneath. In serving the client’s acute allergies and sensitivities, construction materials and protocols for the home were strictly prescribed. Built of inert cementitious blocks that inhibit the growth of fungi and molds, the walls are finished with a natural clay plaster that requires no paint finish. A soy-based sealer was used for the concrete floors and counters, and untreated silk and hemp fabric was used for the curtains.

The client was equally interested in environmentally responsible design. A careful approach was taken in preserving and where possible; enhancing the natural ecosystem of the region with its abundant vegetation and unique micro-climate for the area. Achieving a healthy house for both client and environment meant extensive research into a wide range of products and locally produced materials suited to the climate. A green roof, heat-mirror triple glazing, solar shading, passive ventilation and daylighting, and a geothermal system are just some of the features of this LEED Gold-certified project.

photo: Shai Gil