Halifax based Canadian architecture firm MacKay Lyons Sweetapple Architects have brought their maritime roots to the Two Hulls House located in Port Mouton, a small town in southwestern Queens, Nova Scotia. This ship inspired coastal home features two timber “hulls,” raised on a pair of concrete piers, cantilevered over the beach and overlooking the oceanfront lapping at its feet. The nautical look and feel of the house is in perfect harmony with this sweet spot of water, wind, and open blue sky as far as the eye can see. If you can manage to tear yourself away from the stunning scenery, here’s a tour of this equally impressive house design.
The glaciated, coastal landscape sets the stage for this seafront house, which focuses as much on the pristine sandy beaches and turquoise waters as on the architecture itself. A concrete wall at the base of the house protects it from the crashing waves.
The 3,360 sq. ft. home organizes living areas in these two linear volumes, framed in steel and wrapped in a wood skin, each volume stretching toward the waterfront. The architects explain, “The two pavilions float above the shoreline like two ship’s hulls up on cradles for the winter, forming protected outdoor places both between and under them.”
Flanked by these parallel volumes, a slim snapshot of the sea is accessed via a set of stairs leading to the beach below.
The home’s two volumes – a day pavilion and a night pavilion, each with a glazed facade – are described by the architects as “a landscape-viewing instrument; like a pair of binoculars, first looking out to sea. A third transverse ‘eye’ looks down the coastline, and forms a linking entry piece.”
While the home’s thoughtful exterior is certainly an impressive display, interiors will wow you both in terms of their casual yet contemporary style, as well as their views. Open air lower level decks and upper level terraces frame the endless sandy beach below and the sparkling shoreline beyond. But you don’t have to be outside to get a good view of this wonderful natural landscape.
This family home organized living areas in either the public pavilion, housing the principal living areas, or the private pavilion occupied by the bedrooms. Each volume ends with a massive glass wall facing the waterfront.
The living room features a tall ceiling and white backdrop, flooded with natural light pouring in through the massive windows, along with the views. A 24-ft. floating totemic hearth is a warm addition to this cool space. The home’s simple interior aesthetic always directs your attention back to the outdoors, either by sight or by foot. Each glass-faced volume ends with a seaward terrace, one leading out from the living room and the other from the master bedroom.
Between the two volumes, a third linking form features an entrance foyer, the core and the kitchen. This wood finished interior is warm and welcoming, always leading your attention back to the views.
The wood is as much an art form as it is a structural element in this beachfront house design – mush like this region’s heritage of shipbuilding.
Even this home office and work space resounds with the home’s signature style and what we like to call “the 3 Ws” – white, wood and windows.
“This sculptural, yet calm and mature project contains generous white volumes on the interior, and exhibits the ironic monumentality of boats on the exterior,” according to the architects.
By night, these dual cubes glow like lanterns dangling over the water’s edge.
Here are some floor plans and site plans of the property:
MacKay Lyons Sweetapple Architects