Well, my last post on Design in My Backyard was also on Superior Street, just down from where I live, and this next one is as well! Superior is just a happening place for design, I guess… Maybe it’s more that I’m just noticing the houses that are in my neighbourhood a bit more than anywhere else. After all, I live and shop in the eight block radius around my house, and James Bay is a pretty awesome place for some very modern design, some very (very!) Victorian houses, some gorgeous Craftsman style places and everything in between.
So today’s house is also located in the lovely James Bay, just down the street from me.
The thing that catches my attention with this house is the “fish-scale” roofing tiles on the skirt roof under the upstairs balcony. I love it! I have never seen the same detail on another house. It looks to me like this roofing tile is made of some kind of metal that is going through an oxidization process – maybe a copper with a patina on it? This is a material that continues to age with the house (especially in a wet climate like Victoria) and will add grace and charm through the years.
I like the simple style of this duplex (another duplex!) – it is elegant, but has character. The fish-scales are a big part of that, but there are a number of other details that I think really elevate this house from nice to eye-catching. One of those details is the use of different siding textures on the upper and lower stories. This is something I find myself drawn to over and over. I find that mixing up the textures and colours between stories not only adds character, but also helps a multiple-storey building from being too overwhelming as a solid bulky block of house. In this case, the horizontal plane of the lower storey siding helps to ground the bottom half of the building, while the vertical siding on the second storey pulls the eye upwards towards the roof. Overall, this detailing scheme keeps the structure from both being a boring flat face and towering over anyone standing at the front step.
Some of the other details that I find really engaging are the transom windows – both over the front door and in the bay window. I especially love the stained glass elements in the bay window transoms. I feel like the inclusion of stained glass is a nod to the Victorian houses in the neighbourhood. I also love the style of the front door, with small glass lites high enough to allow light in and allow a visual connection between the inside and outside. I think the proportioning on the door is great, and the dark stain gives it a feeling of substance and sturdiness. Other details that I really enjoy are the thoughtful landscaping, the path of random-sized pavers with the darker border, the elements of the rock garden with the Japanese Maple, and the modern font used for the unit numbers (also used for the street address that is not in either photo). I really like the thought and detail that has gone into making this exterior space engaging and welcoming. These are all elements that draw people in, and they all probably contribute to me enjoying walking past this house so often! I think that the design elements all really come together to create an exterior that is simple yet detailed, and has elements of modern and traditional design that make it unique.