An Architect Designs His Own Minimalist Home With a Dramatic Lightwell

A new year is a great time for a reset of the home, to do away with all the clutter that creates chaos in both the mind and environment. Monochromatic color palettes, warm neutral tones, clean lines, and simplicity – all lend themselves to minimalism, and while the aesthetic is a stripped-back approach, it doesn’t mean it’s boring or unimaginative. By scaling back to the essentials, only the most important elements remain, oftentimes resulting in much-needed serenity.

01.10.22 | By
An Architect Designs His Own Minimalist Home With a Dramatic Lightwell

Architect Omar Gandhi turned a narrow abandoned lot in the North End of Halifax, Nova Scotia, into his own family home, the OG House. Originally, the ground floor was to be Gandhi’s studio space, but during construction it became clear his architecture practice had already outgrown it. The space is now used for community projects located in the neighborhood, specifically housing for those experiencing homelessness and public amenities.

corner shot of tall narrow modern house with vertical wood slats

The home comprises a two-story, cedar-clad structure that rests atop a brick base. The bricked ground level features a rounded corner to draw visitors to the rear of the house where the primary entry to the home and studio are. The upper volume makes up the actual residence which includes a screen made of vertical cedar slats that provide privacy from the street below.

closeup of rounded corner of modern house

back view of modern minimalist house

back view of modern house with vertical wooden slats

Around back, a garage and parking area connect to a wide brick staircase that leads to the main entrance.

wide brick staircase

man entering modern house through corridor

A steel-clad, oval-shaped closet provides storage and a pathway into the home and studio.

modern interior clad in wood

view of kitchen with wood paneling

modern bathroom with brick walls

angled view of modern kitchen with long rounded edge island and wood ceiling

Just above the studio is the main living space, which includes the kitchen, dining room, living room, and bathroom. White oak panels cover the walls and ceilings creating a unified space that’s both warm and inviting. The simple color palette and material choices, along with a curated mix of design details and furnishings, result in a Scandinavian feel throughout.

modern kitchen with rounded corner island and wood paneling

man walking in modern kitchen with white cabinets and wood clad rounded island

An oversized rounded island complements a wall of white cabinets that go from the kitchen to the living room.

view of modern kitchen and dining room

vignette view of built-in storage and wood paneling

view of dining table and wood paneling behind

A pair of white Louis Poulsen PH 5 pendants hang above white oak dining table.

angled view of staircase behind wood paneled wall

fireplace with marble surround in modern living space

modern living room with tall ceilings

On the living room side of the main floor, an oak-clad lightwell reaches to the roof allowing natural light to fill the main floor. The studio did many light studios and parametric modeling to guide the design of the lightwell to ensure the best lighting conditions throughout.

modern living room with tall angled wood ceiling

up view of lightwell clad in wood paneling

interior window view of lightwell clad in wood paneling

The child’s room on the third floor has a window in front of a desk that looks out into the lightwell and down to the living room.

modern desk looking through an interior window to a lightwell clad in wood

view of two staircases

modern bathroom

modern bathroom

Photos by Ema Peter Photography.

Caroline Williamson is Editor-in-Chief of Design Milk. She has a BFA in photography from SCAD and can usually be found searching for vintage wares, doing New York Times crossword puzzles in pen, or reworking playlists on Spotify.