Bringing The Outside In

May 24, 2023

Frank Lloyd Wright, the famous and highly influential architect is credited with the concept of Organic
Architecture in which a building is to develop out of its surroundings.

While not every home needs to be an architectural opus, any project can gain a sense of place and life when we apply some fine craftsmanship and draw on the natural beauty of its environment.  Most custom homes built on beautiful Vancouver Island require a few trees to be cut down on the building site. It is often with mixed emotions that we clear these to build a home. Yet, with a little foresight some timber from these trees can be given a chance to live on in the form of fine furnishings that can really tie a home into its surroundings.

The home’s beachfront setting.

Custom wood side tables made from beam off cuts.

Custom wood and concrete bench.

Custom bench in use with live edge mirror.

The great woodworking master George Nakashima, who in the mid 20th century graced America with his amazingly elegant blend of simplistic modernism, understated craftsmanship, and pure live edge forms, is said to have had the gift of making a tree live twice. I think all wood workers hope to claim a bit of that gift.  Our world is full of consumer grade products that fulfill a need but may lack a sense of soul. When I create furnishings for my own family home or anyone else’s, I am proud to know that I am creating something with more connection. Something that reflects the relationships that we have with our environment and each other. Something that celebrates the best parts of humanity and our vital engagement with the earth.

The home’s natural setting.

This pass through window has a wood bar on the porch from the property.

Large kitchen island made from wood from the property.

Each step of this stairwell is wood from this property.

It is very gratifying to surround yourself with the natural beauty of the region. This area abounds in beautiful Arbutus, Maple, Alder, Cedar and the grand Douglas Fir. All majestic trees and if they have to come down, can be fine timber for built-in furniture, coffee or end tables, bars, or simply a slab presented in pure form as art. Of course this type of craftsmanship is not limited to materials sourced on site but the purist in me loves to grasp the opportunity when it comes.

The home’s natural setting.

Custom wood mantel from the property.

The most joyful feedback I get from people often comes from the special features that we incorporate into their homes in that organic relational way. The things that tie the home to their characters, to the
land, and to the people who worked together to see it built.

The home’s natural setting under construction.

Custom wood bench to suit the property and cottage.

Custom live edge, local wood book shelves

So if you are planning or even just dreaming of a new custom home or renovation, consider the benefits of this relational building philosophy. It could be the way to make your dream home that much more meaningful.

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