Five Cove Island House by RHAD Architects on Marvins Island, Canada

Project: Five Cove Island House
RHAD Architects
Marvins Island, Nova Scotia, Canada
1,869 sf
Year: 2021
Photographs by:
Julian Parkinson

Five Cove Island House by RHAD Architects

Located on Marvins Island in Canada, the Five Cove Island House by RHAD Architects is a one-story dwelling that embraces the local shed building vernacular. The design features an extended shed form that creates three courtyards, offering various options for sun exposure and wind conditions. Oversized patio doors connect the living space to the “East Deck” with stunning views of the mainland and surrounding islands. The house is split to accommodate both the main resident and guests, with a flipped shed area that can be opened up for extra space. Exposed steel trusses, shiplap walls, and thoughtful details like overhangs and pergolas contribute to the cottage-like ambiance of the home.

This house finds itself at the edge of a weather-beaten island on the south shore of Nova Scotia, surrounded by five coves. A small causeway connects the island to the mainland.

The main living space is 1560 sq ft, with an additional 290 sq ft dedicated to the garage/storage space, giving the house a small footprint. The one-story house was conceived as an understated shed form that has been cut, pulled, flipped and extended. These moves make areas to enter, to walk through, and create moments for sunny retreats. The tight form speaks to the local vernacular of shed buildings commonly found on the south shore. The extended shed creates a sheltered courtyard space, a place for a garage, and forms a courtyard viewed as you approach the tip of the island by road.

The design creates three courtyards, which can be used depending on the sun exposure and wind conditions on any given day. Oversized patio doors open up from the living/dining/kitchen area to the “East Deck” framing the big view to the east of the mainland and many islands. When chilly winds blow over the water from the east, you can retreat to the sunny south-facing deck protected from east and west winds by the house. The garden and clothesline also benefit from the microclimate on the private/hidden side of the house. The large south-west facing courtyard provides a sunny and protected area for arrival to the house and its large garden.

An overhang on the east deck gives rain and snow protection allowing for a place to sit on inclement days while also shielding the large patio doors below from sun and driving rain. Slat and pergola details on the south deck create a play of light and shadow on sunny days and create a lantern effect at night, viewed from both the ocean and when arriving from the road.

The house plan was split to create a distinct area for living for the main resident and another for guests. When guests arrive, the flipped shed opposite the entry corridor can be opened up for extra space, creating a “cottage within a cottage”. Steel trusses in the open living, dining, and kitchen area are exposed, expressing the structure. This vaulted, public area of the house is wrapped in shiplap, painted white for a distinct, simple cottage feel. The end walls are clad in kitchen cabinetry at one end and salvaged barn boards, remnants from a previous project, on the other. A wood-burning fireplace is tucked away in the corner to avoid obstructing the monumental view from the patio doors.

RHAD Architects


Tags: Canada, contemporary, interior, Island House, landscape, Marvins Island, nature, RHAD Architects

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