We design, project manage and construct bespoke buildings with a leaning towards the unusual. The photograph above is of a stone house within a 150 acre estate on top of Mount Tuam, Salt Spring Island. The brief was for a residence in the vernacular of a Scottish tower house, designed to minimize external maintenance. The geometry and material selection fulfills that brief in spite of the constraint imposed by local planning regulations that restricted the height of the building to 7.5 metres.
The front door and the door to the battlements at the top of the tower, each made of planked oak, are the only externally exposed wood on the project. The roof is finished in Vermont slate with lead flashings and watergates. Gutter use was minimized by the adoption of stone gargoyles, carved in the form of First Nations animals, which discharge rainwater onto the surrounding landscape. Trace heating elements within the gargoyles ensure the cavities are kept clear of ice in winter. Those areas such as the entrance forecourt where gargoyle discharge of rainwater would create an ice hazard in winter are equipped with gutters and downpipes in cast aluminum imported from the UK. This allows focused rainwater collection.
Drystane rubble walling from Port Renfrew on Vancouver island is used for the general walling material, with all dressings in blonde sandstone. Windows are made from Douglas Fir, protected from the elements by polyester powder coated aluminum on the outside.
Inside the finishes are traditional lime render, oak and stone floors and oak cabinetry. A stone spiral staircase rises clockwise, the entrance to which is protected by a traditional Scottish forged-iron yett, leads to the roof battlements. The direction of rise of the spiral stair is a function of whether the residents are right or left hand. Clockwise rise is for owners who would defend the stronghold with a sword in their right hand.
Further illustrations are available here.