Scrap wood house a triumph of sustainable design

Posted by Rumin Mann
June 7th, 2011

Architect Scott Kemp not only found a one-of-a-kind waterfront paradise, but he built a one-of-a-kind house made entirely from scrap wood.

And he did it on a tight budget, proving that sustainable housing needn’t just be a vanity project.

The house, which is one of Canada’s first single-family dwellings to be certified LEED platinum, is situated on a dike just outside Ladner Village. The glass and wood structure sits on a strip of mixed-use waterfront, facing a quiet channel on the south arm of the Fraser River. It looks across the calm, silt-grey estuary to a long slip of an island where an eagle’s nest hangs heavy in a bare tree. To the rear of the property, across the street, a heritage house sits on acres of former farmland.

As far as protected waterfronts go, it doesn’t get much better than this tiny fishing village enclave, known as Port Guichon. It’s a tight-knit community where Mr. Kemp and his golden retriever Riley have become friends with the resident houseboat dwellers on their regular walks along the dike. Bald eagles hover overhead. Boats bob on the water. When traffic is good, the city is less than a 30-minute drive.

“There are so few places like this in the Lower Mainland,” says Mr. Kemp, looking up the empty channel that gets the occasional fishing boat and kayak. The island across from his house is only populated by trees, and he says it will stay that way.

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