Who in their right mind chooses the challenge of building a sustainable design waterfront guest house on an island with limited resources?
Sustainable Design: The Barn Gallery

How can one implement sustainable design cost effectively, without compromising the actual design?

Sustainable Design: The Barn Gallery

The end result is the BARN GALLERY waterfront guest house, showcasing sustainable design. A real life example designed to inspire and educate others to take the sustainable design path. If you are interested reserve a holiday to experience the BARN GALLERY. The guest house (148 square meters) consists of a Great room, two complete bedroom suites and a mechanical room.

Sustainable Design: The Barn Gallery

It started with deconstruction of an existing house built in 1975. The designers chose to deconstruct rather then bulldoze the house, thereby saving 80% for up-cycling and re-purposing. When we ran out of the recycled wood from the original house, we sourced wood from other dismantled buildings in the Northwest and California.

The original building’s entire footprint was retained for the new structure resulting in minimal disturbance to the environment.The almost square footprint was modified somewhat to include an extended privacy wall allowing entrance on either side of the house. These openings in the wall tempt you with a glimpse of the water when you arrive.


Sustainable Design: The Barn Gallery

The siding planks are from the floor joists of the original house 5 X 30 X 730 (cm); cut from trees on the property in 1970. They were carefully removed from the original house in 2014, transported half a mile down the road to a neighbor’s saw mill. The boards were then resawn for use as the siding you see here; they are untreated and weathering naturally. That’s a small carbon footprint!

Recycled steel and metal artifacts are integrated into the design complimenting the reclaimed woods. The design echoes a barn on the adjoining property, but with a decidedly contemporary flavor. Guests comment both ways…… they love the modern design and they appreciate the design maintaining the local rural feel!


Sustainable Design: The Barn Gallery

A slick Ferrari red kitchen created from a big-box store product has both form and function. Above glass vessels by artist John deWit and a Ferrari pedal car are displayed. The over-scale pivoting front entry door crafted from VG white pine planks 3″ thick, sourced from a previous century farmers co-op building in eastern Washington, opens with a touch of your smart phone.

Sustainable design is focused on minimizing the depletion of natural resources, so the decisions and actions of today do not inhibit the opportunities for future generations. In other words design for maximum re-use of existing or renewable resources. Our sustainable design also focuses on energy conservation and we choose the infrastructure appropriate for each aspect to accommodate this effectively.


Sustainable Design: The Barn Gallery

The great room is 13.5 meters long and 7.2 meters at the widest, so designing for structural insulated panels (SIPs) was an easy choice for us. This resulted in unobstructed ceiling spans, as the structural wood (fabricated laminated splines) are incorporated inside the insulated panel. The BARN GALLERY building envelope was complete in a week by an off-island company. This solution moved the project along when on-island building crews were scheduling a year out.

The ultimate benefit is that its a very tight house requiring small cost to heat. What is more it feels wonderful on the coldest, windiest days of the year.


Sustainable Design: The Barn Gallery

The wood burning fireplace goes against “sustainable” design. However, with winter winds downing trees creating an abundant supply of firewood, we can justify and sometimes we indulge. The custom fireplace cabinet, fabricated from raw steel is recessed into a wall of up-cycled wood planks from a deconstructed building outside Vancouver BC.


Sustainable Design: The Barn Gallery

The wood slab for the live-edge walnut dining table seasoned appropriately in the designer’s barn-workshop for ten years before it was hand-crafted by Scott Havel into the BARN GALLERY dining table. The pivot front door, art bench, the antique church pew restoration and most of the interior finish details, all custom designed started their life in the very same barn-workshop.

The concrete floor has about 700 meters of pipe installed under the slab in a thick insulated layer. The water in the pipes is heated by a hot water heat pump system, which takes the outside air and converts it into hot water for pennies a day. It’s a Sanden SANCO2 and we installed the first UL listed unit from Japan in the BARN GALLERY


Sustainable Design: The Barn Gallery

The copper towel warmers are plumbed inline with the hot water pipes in the floor. As the hot water cycles through the heating pipes it detours through our art on the wall. This was one of the most talked-about features recently on the San Juan Islands Green Home Tour. The window wall is “Fossil” ink-jet porcelain tile by Italian manufacturer Refin Ceramiche.

The white washed cedar ceiling planks in the ensuite are recycled from the ceilings and exterior siding of the original house. The lighting throughout the house are LED fixtures and strip lights, with Crestron Pyng and your smart phone app for lighting control.


Sustainable Design: The Barn Gallery

The BARN GALLERY faces the waterfront bluff only a short meadow away. (Rain Garden -bottom of image)

Sustainable Design: The Barn Gallery

Standing on the bluff above the San Juan Channel, one looks at Cattle Point lighthouse, southwest across the Strait of San Juan de Fuca, and beyond to the snow-capped Olympic mountains.


Sustainable Design: The Barn Gallery

The rain garden in its second year, functions as a natural filtration system for storm water runoff headed to the channel below.

The collection, filtration of rain water, and a focus on natural landscaping are an integral part of the BARN GALLERY sustainable design philosophy. That’s one reason the 9500 galleon cedar plank rain tank from Forest Lumber & Cooperage in Sooke, BC, is prominent at the entrance! The up-cycled culvert (right above) houses the prefiltration first-flush system removing most of the particulates before the rain water supplies the tank. Additional 3-stage filtration is located in the mechanical room including UV. We created this infographic for the recent home tours and it covers several of the sustainable technologies we selected into this project.

At this point it maybe evident that we did not include a major component of sustainable design; solar collection. We did not include solar and we are often asked why. The reason why is this is by design a very energy efficient house, and the cost of a solar installation would have taken 20+ years for pay back, (less perhaps with some rebates). However, our goal was cost effective sustainable build to a budget, and after professional evaluation and serious considerations, we selected the best value technologies for the project. And in this particular case did not include solar.


Sustainable Design: The Barn Gallery

The Adirondack chairs deigned by James Ferris were fabricated in the barn-workshop by Scott Havel on the Island.The custom metal fireplace, washbasin vanities, cortens portico, chimney box and all the exterior metal artifacts were fabricated off the island by a commercial metal fabrication shop with whom the designers work closely to implement their designs.

Sustainable Design: The Barn Gallery

The corten chimney box, was designed and fabricated in six pieces for easy transport and installation. It took only a couple of hours to unload and install on the roof.This is the North side of guest house which is screened from the neighbors with 7metre tall Temple bamboo.

Another unique aspect of the BARN GALLERY showcases local artists with a changing exhibit. We are not in the “selling art” business, but in the spirit of sustainable we’d like to inspire art collectors to contact and buy from our artist exhibitors. Helping promote and sustain the local art scene is a hobby of ours!

Sunset illuminates the San Juan Channel through the trees……..this is what you will see when you arrive at the BARN GALLERY on Lopez Island via the late evening ferry.

Sustainable Design: The Barn Gallery

What’s next on the BARN GALLERY sustainable design agenda?

  • Electric vehicle charge point by the end of 2017.
  • Sustainable Design workshops presented by INCLINEDESIGN in Spring 2018.
  • Local Artists Show Off ~ BARN GALLERY ART EXHIBIT Spring 2018.
  • Fiber internet May 2018.
  • Holiday Experience June-September 2018 via OEX.CLUB

©Steve Horn Photography ~ these and other high resolution images are available to our favorite print publications.

Please contact us if you have any questions or comments or would like additional information ~ James Ferris and Caroline Di Diego, Principals @ INCLINEDESIGN

The Barn Gallery  ~ Dwell Magazine website

The Barn Gallery ~ INHABITAT

The Barn Gallery Sustainable Design~ Northwest EcoBuilding Guild



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