ONVhouse by ONV Architects

  • Paul C

    I think the space allocation for this home is well done. The limited space “budget” if you will, has not been frivolously spent. Not having a stairwell helps. The adaptability demonstrated on the project page is quite good as well. With some minor alteration, this particular home might even work on a narrower city lot.

    Thanks for walking us through the design.

  • John Brown

    I agree with you. Although this is technically a recreation home I think there is still a lot that we can learn from its simple planning strategies. I think it speaks to last week’s conversation when someone was lamenting the loss of the straightforward design evident in 1950′s and 60′s era homes.

    As I understand it, Soren has been taking this design strategy into more urban housing as well.

  • Brad W

    The transparency of this design is notable. Light on all sides including the roof. Clear sightlines through the dwelling. White walls and light wood floors. The sharply contrasting door and window frames draw you to the outside. The house becomes merely a brief resting place between adventures in the surrounding outdoors. A great small space illustrating vernacular modern themes.

    Thanks for the week John.

  • Doug Roberts

    Hi John

    I love the strong connection to the outdoors afforded by the floor-to-ceiling windows and the many exterior doors with transom windows above. When we purchased our recently completed infill I mentioned to the builder that the living room window (which is 7′ high) should have been taller to take better advantage of the 9′ ceiling and increase the view of the prairie sky, I was told that the height of the window was limited by a large supporting beam that spanned the top of the wall. Soren’s house features a much larger unsupported span from the end of the front exterior wall next to the dining room window to the far corner of the roofed terrace, yet there is no header at all above the dining room window. Was this accomplished by embedding some sort of engineered beam behind the roof facia? Is this only possible on a single-storey bungalow or could it also be done on the main floor of a 2-storey house? Is it much more expensive to go this route? (Although in my view unless the cost is prohibitive, the end result is well worth it!)


  • Louis Pereira

    Aside from all the other wonderful things about this is house, my favourite aspect is how they’ve organised the entire floor plan around the N/S and E/W axis with a great visual connection at each of these points.

    The other aspect is the sheltered terrace off the Dining and Living Room.


  • John Brown

    Your question points to an important issue that deserves illustration. Technically, your builder is correct. A beam is required to span across a window or door opening. However, what he is NOT telling you is that the beam could have been located higher up in the wall. Indeed it could have been incorporated into the floor structure allowing the window to extend up almost to the ceiling. The additional structural cost would probably be quite minimal. Of course, the window would cost more because of the additional height.

    This is a good example of typical detailing. The “standard” is a 7′ height because that is the height most doors and windows are produced for in the world of cookie cutter houses (with 8′ high ceilings). In the absence of any other information (as in drawings by a good designer) everyone from the general to the joist supplier to the framer would assume that the window would stop at 7′ because that is what “everyone else does”.

    In other words there is a reason for this – just not a good one.

    Thanks for asking the question.