Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Anatomy of a plan: The Alpine

In 1962, Minto’s Alpine floor plan won a Canadian Housing Design Council Award. (See my previous post: http://modernrealtor.blogspot.com/2010/12/minto-award-homes-then-and-now.html). This plan was built in Crystal Beach and Parkwood Hills.

I recently visited a house built from the Alpine plan that is for sale in Parkwood Hills. I am quite smitten with the house and can see why the plan won an award.

My favourite part of the house is the vaulted and beamed ceiling in the living/dining room. It is probably the closest example of California Modernism (or Eichler-style housing) to be built by a tract builder in Ottawa. The vaulted ceiling continues throughout the house and makes the kitchen and bedrooms feel larger than they are. The exterior has large windows and a striking roofline that extends over the carport – which is a great protected area to enter the house.

Parkwood Hills
An earlier version of the plan, called the Rambler, was built in Hawthorne Meadows, circa 1960. The Rambler is quite similar in plan, but it differs in that it does not have the vaulted ceiling with post and beam construction of the Alpine.

Rambler exterior

Rambler floor plan

A popular 1960s Minto design was the Neptune – which is actually the same plan as the Alpine, only turned sideways and with a garage/carport added to the side. Missing too are the vaulted ceiling and post and beam construction.

Neptune floor plan

A few alternate versions of the Alpine were built, which moved the fireplace to the side wall of the living room. There are two different elevations with the side fireplace, one of which is not my favourite.

Parkwood Hills

Parkwood Hills

At first I figured that the small window on the right of the façade was an add-on, but upon seeing it on various other houses I realised that it was a part of the original design. Honestly, I don’t understand why the window is so out of proportion…
Crystal Beach
This version of the house with the side fireplace has a window composition in keeping with the look and scale of the house.

Parkwood Hills
This arrangement of windows is also very nice, but is the only one like it that I have seen.

The Alpine is one of my favourite Minto plans from the 1960s. The houses built from this floor plan do not go up for sale often, which is a sign that the homeowners not only like the plan, but that it still meets their needs 50 years after it was built! 


  1. The last photo you posted with the atypical windows was a modern renovation. I grew up on this street (Kilmory) and remember when this was being done. I think it originally was the model with the out-of-proportion dining room window.

  2. We just bought an alpine model in crystal beach! It's true they don't go on sale often.

    1. I grew up in one in Crystal Beach! Which street did you buy on?

  3. I live in an Alpine in Parkwood hills. It's a really great house! It seems that they were also built in 60s Minto developments in Crystal Beach, Fairfield Heights, and Qualicum. Strangely though, there's a stray Alpine in Grenfell Glen which I've driven past a few times. I know that there are other homes around the Ottawa area with similar look, but this is the exact model / same dimensions from the exterior to a tee. It's curious as to why a Minto model home ended up there. Thanks for your awesome blog!