Project: Halfway Hill House
Architects: Woodford Architecture
Location: Port Rexton NL, Canada
Project size: 950 ft2
Project Budget: $250000
Completion date: 2020
Photography: Jane Brokenshire
Text and photos: courtesy of Woodford Architecture
Halfway Hill House is a 950ft² two-storey wood frame house perched upon a steeply sloping site in Port Rexton on the Bonavista Peninsula of Newfoundland, Canada. Compact and energy efficient, this small house was designed to provide large views of Trinity Bay in the North Atlantic Ocean. An open living / kitchen / dining area makes up the entire top floor while the lower level consists of two bedrooms with bath. Each lower level bedroom has access to an exterior wood deck with views to the ocean.
The entry to the house is framed and protected from the strong Newfoundland winds by a wood storage shed with deck above. The view framed by this covered entrance is of Fox Island in Trinity Bay. The view to the Trinity Lighthouse is highlighted as well from the dining area window located directly above the entrance. The upper deck offers sweeping views of the entire Trinity Bay area in the dramatic North Atlantic. From there you can see the communities of West Champney’s, Port Rexton and Trinity.
Playing off of the dense surrounding forest the exterior walls are constructed of “Soot” coloured pre-painted pine cladding on an exterior wood stud wall with spray foam insulation. The windows are of durable wood construction with doubled glazing and black exterior fibreglass cladding. A charcoal coloured standing seam metal roof completes the exterior envelope providing a contrast in texture from the wood siding. Exterior decks are natural cedar.
Interior finishes are almost all local to the island with white painted spruce walls and ceilings, and natural stained black spruce flooring. A light grey tile is used in the lower foyer, and in the bathroom and powder room. Kitchen cabinetry was custom built from clear stained birch plywood, also sourced locally.
Who are the clients and what’s interesting about them?
Halfway Hill House was initially designed as a vacation home for a soon-to-be retiring couple living in Toronto who were looking to spend more time on the island they once called home. It was to be modest in scale and material, and give the couple a cozy second-home to spend their golden years.
As the design came together, the couple fell in love with the house and their life in rural Newfoundland and decided to make Halfway Hill House their primary residence.
What were the key challenges?
The project had to be an affordable home, compact and energy efficient. The house had to take advantage of views of the Town of Port Rexton as well as the Atlantic Ocean. Site disturbance had to be kept to a minimum as the site is nearly completely covered with impenetrable spruce forest typical of this part of the Island of Newfoundland.