Inside the Box: Reinventing the Farmhouse, Canada Style by

Issue 8 · Winter Break · February 25, 2014

Inside the Box: Reinventing the Farmhouse, Canada Style

Issue 8 · Winter Break · February 25, 2014

Architects Jordan Allen and Ryan Trefz of Canadian firm bioi designed a deceptively simple 750-square-foot modern farmhouse in Alberta, Canada, to replace a house that could no longer meet the daily needs of a working farm. To minimize costs and environmental impact, the architects embraced the traditional form of the gabled-roof farmhouse and created a truly simple and efficient structure in a modern, all-black shell. 

Inside, however, tradition no longer applies. Rather than apportion valuable square footage for each household requirement, the architects designed a single large box to house them all: the kitchen, bathroom, laundry, clothes storage, and mechanical systems all reside inside a birch cube. And the rest of the house? It feels expansive and open to possibility.

Photographs by Alison Andersen. 

Small Kitchen in Modern Farmhouse in Canada, Remodelista

Above: One end of the birch wood headquarters contains the kitchen.

Interior of Small Modern Farmhouse Cabin in Canada with Central Organized Space, Remodelista

Above: Clothing storage is tucked into the opposite end. The architects intended for the owners to assign discrete functions to the box at will.

Interior of Small Modern Farmhouse Cabin in Canada with Lofted Ceilings, Remodelista

Above: The rest of the interior is defined by lofty beamed ceilings and a polished concrete floor with radiant heating. Windows and skylights take advantage of the southern exposure, providing both heat and light to the home.

Modern Farmhouse in Alberta, Canada with Cedar Facade, Remodelista

Above: A large deck on one end of the house is a platform for work; it stands next to a refurbished log cabin used as insulated storage. 

Small Modern Farmhouse Cabin in Canada in Snow, Remodelista

Above: A smaller deck at the other end of the farmhouse is for relaxing and taking in meadow views.

Black Corrugated Metal Exterior on Modern Farmhouse Cabin in Canada, Remodelista

Above: The house's outermost shell is made of a humble black corrugated steel wrapped over a thick layer of insulation. The steel covers the length of the structure.

Small Modern Farmhouse Cabin in Alberta, Canada with Cedar Facade, Remodelista

Above: Cedar façades at either end define the entryways. The house sits off the ground on screw piles—a precaution on land with a very high water table.

Modern Farmhouse in Canada with Black Corrugated Metal Siding in Snow, Remodelista

Above: A utilitarian material like black corrugated steel is a nod to the rural location and purpose of the structure; it's also a modern and dramatic-looking choice.

Small Modern Farmhouse Cabin at Night in Snow, Remodelista

Above: The house's cedar façades provide a warm contrast to the corrugated steel shell.

If you like the look of this farmhouse, browse our Steal This Look: An Economical Scandinavian Ski Cabin and A Minimalist Ski Resort in Sweden.



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