Asymmetrical shingle-clad laneway house is inspired by houseboat design

Ema Peter
© Ema Peter

We're fascinated with tiny houses on wheels, but we're also big fans of laneway housing too. Some years ago Vancouver, Canada was able to change their regulations to permit the building of these smaller homes in back lanes behind pre-existing housing lots. Since then, we've seen an uptick of more affordable, small and efficient homes being built in a city that has some of the most expensive real estate prices in the world.

But these laneway houses make sense in many situations beyond the paradigm of the conventional single-family dwelling. Vancouver-based Campos Studio created this shingle-covered, 640-square-foot laneway home behind the larger, existing house for a medical technologist who was looking to downsize, after her own kids had grown and left an empty nest. The client was now moving back to the old family home in Vancouver's Point Grey neighbourhood that is owned by her aging parents, with the intention of looking after them as they grow older. But instead of moving into the big house, she decided to take advantage of the fact that the property is zoned for laneway housing -- and had a smaller home built in the back yard.

Ema Peter© Ema Peter

Inspired by the multifunctional efficiency of houseboat design, Campos Studio has created a spacious and streamlined home, where no space is wasted and furniture is made to function in more ways than one. For instance, the custom-built seating also incorporates storage underneath. There's more storage hidden behind the slatted wood cabinet doors at the entrance.

Ema Peter© Ema Peter

To keep the living spaces feeling open and expansive, there are no doors in the house -- save one between the bedroom and bathroom. Instead, the texture of the floors is used to differentiate between various zones of the house -- the main floor has been done in an oil-stained concrete, while the bedroom floor is covered in wood. That spacious atmosphere is further emphasized with the open floating staircase made of metal and wood.

Ema Peter© Ema Peter

Ema Peter© Ema Peter

The home takes advantage of its site and abundant natural lighting by incorporating windows of all kinds: round, square and skylights -- which can open up to provide ample ventilation.

Behind the slatted wood volume is the kitchen, which has a skylight of its own, and which looks out onto the garden that's shared with the main house.

Ema Peter© Ema Peter

Here's the bedroom above; the bright walls offer contrast to the warm texture of the wooden wardrobe and various fabrics, as well as the view outside.

Ema Peter© Ema Peter

As designer Javier Campos tells Western Living, the asymmetrical and angular lines of the home's exterior finds its inspiration in the Japanese heritage of the client:

In Japanese architecture there’s a concept called ‘wabi sabi,’ which honours the beauty of asymmetry and imperfection. Everything is defined by volumes: the space and shape of the rooms. We started there and built the exterior around that.

Ema Peter© Ema Peter

Ema Peter© Ema Peter

With its modern interior wrapped in a beautifully imperfect shingled skin, this is a laneway house that breaks out of the conventional mold to stand out on its own. You can see more of Campos Studio's projects over on their website.

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