Western Living Magazine
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McKinley Studios designs a ski-in, ski-out Whistler vacation home that makes the most of the stunning forest views.
It started with a cereal box.
Well, really, it started with a tiny cabin on a piece of land in Whistler. Followed by a phone call from the homeowner to Walker McKinley, principal of McKinley Studios, asking for help with a tear-down and rebuild of a new ski-in-ski-out vacation home. And then came the cereal box. Once the homeowner hung up, he grabbed it to use as scrap cardboard and got crafty making a model of his dream house to share with McKinley.
“I’ve got to give him credit, it was all there,” laughs McKinley. “Yes, it got refined and architect-ed, but in the end, all the key details were right there in the cereal box model.”
Those details include an inviting, ski-in entryway, and a striking, cantilevered glass room that hovers above the West Coast landscape. Says McKinley: “When you’re there, you’re floating.”
Both floor and ceiling are finished in white oak; the walls are made either of glass or of stone that was quarried right from the property. “I don’t
know if we have a piece of drywall in the whole house,” says architect Walker McKinley.
The homeowner had spent years on the property before the McKinley project began, and had very specific wishes for how to let the site drive the architecture. “He literally knew what tree could come down, how light would hit at what time of day,” says McKinley.
A cozy booth in the kitchen offers a spot to warm up after a day on the slopes, bathed in light through the oversized windows. Cozy textured throws hang casually over the bucket chairs; padded leather cushions are mounted by a clever hanging tab system.
At just under 2,000 square feet, the home is small by Whistler standards—but it still packs a punch. “I was just talking to the client a few days ago,” says McKinley, “and he said the house is like Manny Pacquiao [the Filipino boxer and politician]: pound for pound the nicest house out there.”
“There’s really no shine to anything except the glass and lamp,” says McKinley. Everything else features a matte finish and natural materials—though excellent craftsmanship makes even the simplest of design details feel luxurious.
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