The Perfect Après-ski Retreat

The Perfect Après-ski Retreat

Our brief for this project was to design a retirement vacation home for our clients on a piece of land they purchased 15 years ago in Whistler, BC. This home is also meant to host their expanding family to gather and enjoy the incredible local scenery and outdoor activities. 

We approached the project with the overall strategy of keeping things simple, with quality, longevity, and easy maintenance in mind. The result is a home that is the perfect backdrop for the family activities while reflecting their Nordic and European backgrounds.

Interior Designer: Simon Rowlands, ARIDO
Design Firm: Rowlands Associates Inc.
Photographer: Kristen McGaughey

Outdoor view of the Nordic minimalistic style inspired house

We intended the overall composition of this new build to be simple and inviting when viewed from the street. Upon entering the front door one is greeted with a view to a lower level family room and a prominent staircase. Guest bedrooms and the family room on this level allow for opportunities to gather in both small and large groups, or to get away from the crowd into a more private, quiet setting. 

In addition to the living area, the main floor consists of a garage and adjacent mudroom to accommodate ski equipment and clothing storage as well as changing areas. There is a small exercise room off this area and functional requirements such as laundry and an elevator are in this space. 

Lower level living room in the back and the prominent staricase that invites to the second floor

The prominent stair screen made of white oak slats and the light flowing in from large windows both invite toward the second floor. This "Stairway to Heaven" reveals amazing lake and mountain views and a large, open-concept family gathering space with a modern fireplace, dining area and kitchen.  

The gyrofocus suspended wood burning fireplace is a unique solution for providing a focal point for gatherings in the second floor living room area without blocking any views. A circular fireproof tile base was inlaid with metal trim, oriented to compass directions, connecting it to the surrounding outdoors.

Second floor living area with comfy lounge area around a gyrofocus suspended wood burning fireplace

The gathering spaces and the master suite are on the second floor to take full advantage of the home’s beautiful setting and surrounding mountain views. An elevator accessible from the garage was installed to allow for easy transport of groceries and supplies to the second floor spaces. This feature creates barrier free access to the upper level area and supports aging in place by extending the functionality of the home as the owners get older.

Minimalistic and modern kitchen in gray and wood tones and beautiful views out the window above the counter. A small wet bar is visible in the back room

By using long lasting locally sourced materials we added to the sustainability and longevity of this home which aims to reduce waste in the long run. The flooring and exterior siding were locally sourced. Metal siding installed on both the roofs and side walls of the home will be a long lasting maintenance-free solution. Materials like porcelain kitchen countertops and antimicrobial laminate we used on kitchen countertops are good solutions for both the environment and the wellness of our clients. The kitchen cabinets are clad in Fenix, an antimicrobial, a forward thinking laminate material on which any small scratches can be easily repaired with a home iron. This solution ensures longevity as well as a stylish aesthetic, which perfectly aligns with our clients’ wishes for this space.

Dining room just off the kitchen leading toward the bedroom hallway
Wet bar just off the kitchen area done in light wood, dark wall tile behind the shelving and a bold-patterned countertop

Our design solutions in this vacation home maximize and celebrate incredible lake and mountain views to maintain a constant contact with the surrounding nature. With sustainable and long lasting materials and wise construction choices we designed a place the owners will be able to enjoy throughout their retirement years.

Simon Rowlands

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Simon Rowlands

Rowlands Associates Inc.

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