Omar Gandhi mixes contemporary and vernacular design for Jib House


The Canadian architecture studio Omar Gandhi Architect has made a vast Novia Scotia house clad in two different types of cedar.

Jib House’s name is derived from the coastal site’s triangular shape, which resembles that of a jib, a thin triangular foresail used on a traditional sailing ship.

Omar Gandhi Architect designed a cedar clad house in Nova Scotia

According Omar Gandhi Architect Founder, Omar Gandhi, clients wanted a home that took advantage of the slender waterfront site while providing plenty of space for their growing family and for large gatherings.

The six-bedroom home stretches along the waterfront. Its pale eastern white cedar roof and siding are indicative of typical Nova Scotia coastal architecture, while cantilevered shadowboxes – fake clad in red cedar add a modern touch.

Nova Scotia house clad in cedar
The house incorporates several types of cedar

“Part of the house is a kit of red cedar-clad lenses of various sizes and proportions, which slip into the main gable form clad almost entirely in eastern white cedar, the most ubiquitous regional vernacular”, Gandhi told Dezeen.

“These lenses provide unique views of both the foreground and the distant landscape from critical social areas of the home.”

Cantilever planters
The house has cantilevered shadowboxes

Indiana limestone covers the base of the home while plank-like concrete walls twist through the landscaping, leading to a hot tub and pool. An adjacent pool house has a low, sleek wrap and a functional window wall facing the water.

Clad in the same red cedar as the shadow boxes, the pool house includes a sauna and a wood-burning stove.

The main structure has two floors that follow the steep slope of the site.

“A long, curved shape allowed for unique views from each of the main spaces in the house,” Gandhi said.

Wooden staircase Omar Gandhi Architects
A wooden spiral staircase leads from the entrance mezzanine to the living room

The entrance to the top floor of the house leads to a glazed entrance that Gandhi described as a “squeeze zone”, where a glass balcony overlooks the living areas.

Five bedrooms are all accessible from this level, two of which have red cedar-clad planters that hold up terraces.

Omar Gandhi stone fireplace
The fireplace is clad in light stone

A central spiral staircase connects the two floors and has been crafted from solid wood manufactured with 5-axis machining, a process that uses computer numerical control (CNC) to cut wood from five angles at once.

In the main living area, double height glass windows let in light and a large stone clad fireplace decorates the center of the room.

Behind the fireplace is a dining room and a kitchen, which lead to the sixth bedroom.

The studio chose a soft exterior-like color palette for the home’s interiors, with limestone and cedar finishes repeated throughout.

A terrace surrounds the common areas and a sunken conversation pit has been placed above the cantilevered red cedar planter at one end. From here the landscape descends with a series of retaining walls to the pool below.

House of architect Omar Gandhi in Nova Scotia
Rooms have water views

A pre-existing wharf was used to connect the new building to the water.

Other Omar Gandhi Architect projects include a home built for the founder in Halifax and a restaurant in Toronto for celebrity chef Matty Matheson.

The photograph is from Adrian Ozimek. The video is from Media ThreeSixFive.

Project credits:

Architecture: (Omar Gandhi Architect) Omar Gandhi (Principal), Jeff Shaw (Partner, Project Architect), Eric Stotts, Chad Jamieson, Kelly Cameron, Lauren McCrimmon
General contractor : (MRB contract) Mike Burns, Alex MacDormand
Of construction: Campbell Comeau Engineering

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Rozella J. Cook