Karl Stittgen was nearly 40 years into his career as a successful jewellery designer when he decided to take on an altogether different kind of project in 1991: a home on Pender Island that was a tribute to his architectural hero, Frank Lloyd Wright. Ever since the day Stittgen was spellbound by a 1959 issue of House Beautiful that featured the architect’s work, he became a disciple, he says. He named the Pender project Halcyon Days, and it wasn’t so much on a hill as in it—and immaculate in its details, writer Bruce Grierson notes. 

Karl Stittgen House
Credit: Martin Tessler/Western Living December 2000

Jewellery designer Karl Stittgen designed his “Halcyon Days” home with incredible attention to detail. All of the woodwork is maple, stained to the colour of the arbutus trees outside. The tiles on the library wall are actually textured gold wallpaper, mimicking the look of tile.

Karl Stittgen House
Credit: Martin Tessler/Western Living December 2000

The floor in the study is a mix of aggregate, slate and beach rocks that Stittgen’s partner, Noriko, gathered and laid by hand.

Like the architect, Stittgen worked with bolts and screws to bind the wood instead of using nails; low ceilings bring the living space down to human scale; maple wall panelling was water-stained to the precise colour of the arbutus trees outside. “Halcyon Days is so redolent of Wright,” wrote Grierson, “you half expect the old man to emerge from the bathroom, in that Buster Keaton-ish flat hat, asking when dinner will be ready.”

Karl Stittgen House
Credit: Martin Tessler/Western Living December 2000

A large cast-iron bell hangs in the entrance to the home.

Karl Stittgen House
Credit: Martin Tessler/Western Living December 2000

Gridlike window grilles, another classic FLW nod, are featured throughout.

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