Novak House looking out from kitchen

The Novak House lies on the outskirts of Vancouver BC in Point Roberts, a pene-exclave of the United States on the southernmost end of the Tsawwassen peninsula. Situated on a heavily forested lot overlooking state lands, the 1100 sq ft structure will function as a studio space, a home away from home, and a possible future permanent residence for an artist and professor.

The footprint of the house measures 40 x 28 ft and features a simple array of studio trusses that run down its length, dividing the plan into two equal but distinct halves. The vaulted portion of the house faces North to the front yard and the gravel access road beyond. This volume is illuminated primarily by three skylights and contains a generous studio space and the kitchen area. The southern half of the house looks out onto the forest. This portion has a tall, flat ceiling plane and consists of the main living space, a bathroom, and a bedroom.

The relationship between working, cooking, and relaxing was given special consideration in the project. The living room opens onto the vaulted conditions of the kitchen and a corner of the studio space via a wide opening below the roof ridge; the studio space and kitchen, in turn, are separated by a full height partition wall, open on both ends. The arrangement of these very basic elements was done in a way to maintain a particular degree of separation between activities, but still allows for an easygoing movement of people, objects, and ideas across these zones.

The construction methods are commonplace and economical, namely prefabricated Douglas fir walls and trusses over a radiant slab on grade. Interior walls and ceilings are white painted gypsum board. In essence, the house is a well-constructed shell with a spartan interior that will inevitably evolve over time.

Novak House living room sketch
Novak House studio trusses sketch
Novak House north elevation
Novak House view from the southeast
Novak House organizational axonometric
Novak House framing axonometric

Location: Point Roberts, Wash.
Expected completion: 2021
Client: private
Team: Landry Smith, Harrison Moser
Structural engineer: Munzing Structural Engineering
Program: single family house
Area: 1,100 sq ft