Western Living Magazine
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Architect Randy Bens uses artful window placement and natural materials for a light and bright abode.
You can’t underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep, and this home designed by architect Randy Bens prioritizes that all-important downtime. In fact, there’s a whole wing of the house dedicated to it. The Kelowna house, which backs on to a gorgeous apple orchard, has a “living” wing and a “sleeping” wing that connect only via a 5-foot wide, gallery-like hallway.
“The house is split in two,” confirms Bens. That’s not the only thing that’s split—thanks to creative thinking, the kitchen ceiling has a channel cut into it to bring light down from the entryway. That channel (called a dormer) allows light to flow freely into the living space. The white-and-oak vibe keeps the space casual and airy, and a Bocci pendant and Rubeena Ratcliffe painting add a pop of colour.
Bens (and builders at 3rd Generation Homes) thought outside the box—literally—when designing the living room. In order to maximize the view of the apple orchard, this space cantilevers out from the rest of the home. “When we have properties with views, we often have one space at least where you can stand at the very edge of the glass and not have the deck in front of you,” explains Bens. The unobscured apple orchard serves as a dynamic, wall-to-wall art piece.
In fact, it’s the mindful placement of windows that makes this home really shine. In the home office, the window is pressed along one wall (not in the middle of the room, as windows commonly are) in order to let in maximum light. “That way, you don’t have the shadow of a solid wall beside a window, and the light washes over the entire wall,” explains the architect.
The built-in shelving in the office gives the space a cozier mood, and it also emphasizes the gently vaulted roof. “We wanted it to feel kind of like a den, to make you feel a little bit more tucked in,” says Bens.
The outside of the home is clad in black metal—it’s a striking focal point among the orchard’s greenery. But the exterior and interior are connected via a stone wall that’s visible inside and out. Textured and natural, it unifies the home with its surroundings. “Calm elegance is what we were going for,” says Bens, “Nothing overly dramatic.”