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photo of Tofino Beach House
Photo: Nic Lehoux

Tofino Beach House

Tofino, Canada

Tofino Beach House

Tofino, Canada

  • Design Principal

    Jim Olson

Nestled in a weather-beaten forest, this 2,500-square-foot beach house creates a connection between the drama of the nearby ocean and the sense of sanctuary provided by the trees. Composed primarily of one large room, the house is light-filled on the south side facing the ocean, and insular and protected on the other side.

Glass walls open the living area to panoramic views of forest and ocean, while two fireplaces on either end anchor the space and provide a feeling of refuge. Cantilevering the house from its base provides space for ferns and beach salal to grow underneath the glass flooring that runs the perimeter of the main room, giving the sense of floating above the forest floor.

The warm, natural tones of the interior take inspiration from Tofino’s coastal forest, and are punctuated by pieces from the owner’s contemporary art collection. Artworks were incorporated into the design of the home, with the fireplace walls specially designed to fit paintings by Sam Francis and Diego Singh. A collection of furniture pieces designed by Jim Olson specifically for the house, including a walnut sofa built into the hearth of one fireplace, complete the interior environment.

The emphasis was not on framing a single focal point view, but rather on capturing a panoramic view of the ocean beyond. The roof is held up only by the two chimneys on either side of the living space, which gives the feeling of the roof floating. There are no columns or interior structural systems to obscure the panoramic view; instead, it feels almost like you are outdoors in a big open space with two cozy campfires at either end. Jim Olson, FAIA




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