con­tem­po­rary warmth

Lo­cal ar­chi­tect Linda Chap­man has been get­ting a lot of at­ten­tion these days. She is mak­ing a name for her­self as an award-win­ning, eco-friendly ar­chi­tect whose style ap­peals to a green-minded clien­tele with a com­mit­ment to en­vi­ron­men­tally-friendly, sust

Ottawa Business Journal - Ottawa at Home - - DESIGNER AT HOME - writ­ten by mary tag­gart pho­tog­ra­phy by mark holleron

OOt­tawa At Home vis­ited with Linda at the Chelsea home in Que­bec that she shares with her part­ner Barry Cooper. The home is a ver­i­ta­ble na­ture lover’s par­adise, nes­tled in a wooded area with ex­pan­sive views of the el­e­ments. Thanks to a dwelling awash with win­dows, sun­light streams into all cor­ners of the home where an abun­dance of healthy va­ri­eties of plants at­tests to the ben­e­fits of sun­shine on green­ery. Linda’s style is con­tem­po­rary but not cool. Warmth glows through­out the open-con­cept space that show­cases an im­pres­sive art col­lec­tion, a pas­sion for mu­sic and a love of na­ture. You de­scribe your taste as con­tem­po­rary, what does con­tem­po­rary style mean to you? Con­tem­po­rary means mod­ern – clean lines, sim­ple forms and shapes, no fussy or­na­men­ta­tion. But mod­ern with­out all the uber slick, shiny stuff that makes a place feel “cold” and “ma­chine-like”. Yel­low is your favourite colour. What ef­fect does colour have on an en­vi­ron­ment? The warmth and light­ness of yel­low re­minds us of sun­light. It tends to mag­nify the feel­ing of be­ing out of doors and in the

sun­shine. Of course there are lots of dif­fer­ent kinds of yel­lows, but I am usu­ally drawn to­wards earth tones. Soft and warm yel­lows are the colours we used in­side our house. I re­ally like the look of tone-on-tone paint, which tends to high­light the three di­men­sion­al­ity of space, mak­ing walls and ceil­ings re­cede or come for­ward in a sub­tle way. Your home is tucked in the woods, sur­rounded by na­ture. Is this the op­ti­mum liv­ing en­vi­ron­ment for you or could you also live in an ur­ban set­ting? I love liv­ing in the coun­try in the sum­mer, sur­rounded by the woods and the Gatineau River. In the win­ter, it can feel a lit­tle iso­lated, es­pe­cially af­ter a six-foot snow­fall. I adore the cul­ture, the art and the ar­chi­tec­ture of a big city. I think I would want to re­tire in a walk­a­ble and pedes­trian-ori­ented city. But it is great to de­com­press in na­ture af­ter a stress­ful work­week in the city. Liv­ing in Chelsea we get the best of both worlds since we are only a 20-minute drive from the Mar­ket, and a five-minute walk to the Gatineau Hills. What green build­ing fea­tures does your home have? We have a geo­ther­mal wa­ter fur­nace. We also have: twice the in­su­la­tion lev­els of a stan­dard home; high-en­ergy-ef­fi­cient, south-fac­ing clerestory win­dows; big fans in the cathe­dral ceil­ings; an ef­fi­cient heat-re­cov­ery ven­ti­la­tor and we used a lot of lo­cal ma­te­ri­als such as clear pine trim, wood sid­ing, birch floors, cedar decks, maple cab­i­nets etc. Has your work al­ways lent it­self to be­ing eco-friendly? De­scribe the evo­lu­tion. I have been in­ter­ested in en­vi­ron­men­tal stuff from my early days. I used to vol­un­teer with Pol­lu­tion Probe in my teens in Toronto. I went to ar­chi­tec­ture school shortly af­ter the “en­ergy cri­sis,” so en­ergy ef­fi­ciency and pas­sive so­lar de­sign was a se­ri­ous area of study. Al­though in those days, green was not sexy from a de­sign per­spec­tive!

My own prac­tice of ar­chi­tec­ture grew at the same time as the ris­ing so­cial aware­ness of the in­ter­con­nect­ed­ness of the nat­u­ral and hu­man-made en­vi­ron­ments. It was a nat­u­ral evo­lu­tion for me. Now green de­sign is sexy de­sign, or at least, hot. Thank­fully that only took a cou­ple of decades! I think technology, hu­man in­ge­nu­ity, cre­ativ­ity and our ca­pac­ity to adapt should make the next cou­ple of decades of evo­lu­tion of ar­chi­tec­tural de­sign very ex­cit­ing to be a part of.

this page: Linda Chap­man. Warm wood tones, in con­junc­tion with the wall colour, cre­ate a re­laxed en­vi­ron­ment. right: The abun­dance of nat­u­ral light is the per­fect en­vi­ron­ment for thriv­ing green­ery.


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