SVI Alum Featured in Globe & Mail

SVI Alum Nick Kerchum and his firm Natural Balance Home Builders was featured recently in Canada's national Globe & Mail newspaper.

Modern, green, award-winning house a first for Vancouver
By: Hadani Ditmars
Globe & Mail, May 19, 2011

On an unsuspecting part of West 21st Avenue, a few blocks from Vancouver’s Endowment Lands, Western Canada’s first LEED Platinum-certified house basks in the spring sunshine. But the custom-built green home, designed by Frits de Vries for Natural Balance Home Builders founder Nick Kerchum, radiates an understated beauty. It’s clean modernist lines distinguish it from surrounding arts-and-crafts style homes with their pitched roofs and gables, and yet with its perfectly proportioned massing and scale, it feels right at home in the Dunbar neighbourhood.

The house has won multiple awards including the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC), Award of Excellence, Green Building, Honourable Mention; it was the 2010 National SAM Award winner, Green Home Category (Awarded by the Canadian Home Builder’s Association) and the 2010 Georgie Award Finalist in three categories (nominated by the Canadian Home Builder’s Association of British Columbia).

But for the 32-year-old Kerchum, it functions as a home office, a show home for his company, as well as the first residence for his young family. It’s also a model for many young people like Mr. Kerchum, who grew up in the neighbourhood, and want to come home again, not to fusty 80-year-old houses full of nooks and crannies, but to open, modern spaces.

“It’s a funny thing,” muses Mr. de Vries, who emigrated from Holland several decades ago to marry a Canadian, “that in Vancouver people are accustomed to modernist design downtown, but when they come home, their expectation is for traditional arts and crafts style homes.”

But what Mr. de Vries and Mr. Kerchum have created here is a beautifully crafted home whose open, flexible and streamlined spaces are well suited to the modern family. “Some people think that building green means giving up on style and design, and living in a box” says Mr. Kerchum, who became a builder after studying international relations at UBC and marrying a fellow student from Uzbekistan. “But our whole approach is about harmony between form and function. In the end, its about experiencing the space.”

Check out the full article here.