“Design is that area of human experience, skill and knowledge which is concerned with man’s ability to mould his environment to suit his material and spiritual needs”. – Archer

“Besides his amazing skill as a celebrated photographer, James Houston is an incredible design impresario. His contemporary lake house is a masterpiece where design, space, light and the relationship between indoor and outdoor live in harmony with one another.   Besides the flawless aesthetic, he brings a practicality and well thought out function to the home appealing to all senses, allowing you to celebrate the experience with what you touch, taste, see, feel and hear.” – Colin Cowie -

I’ve always wanted to design, build and furnish an incredible house. In 2007, I was finally able to make that dream a reality. It was a life changing experience. I loved the idea of creating a ‘360 degree, five senses’ experience. Even though I love photography and film it’s still only a two or three-dimensional medium. I found that with a house I was able to take it to a whole new level of experience.

I built the house, Ananda, from the ground up. It was an amazing process – starting from scratch with just an idea and a vision then watching the house develop into a model, a plan and ultimately a three dimensional experience that I could share with my friends and family.

One thing I have definitely developed over the years is an eye for detail. I was really able to utilize that when it came to finishing the house, designing the interior and creating an experience or ‘effect’. All that said, I do not have technical experience in the areas of architecture or building and was extremely grateful to find people to work with who were able to take my vision and make it a reality.

I also loved working on the landscape design and embraced the challenge of linking the new house to a surrounding forest that had been there for hundreds of years. My goal was to take the Asian influence of the house and extend it to the landscaping and outlook. My good friend Jamie Durie inspired me with some great ideas (like using natural rocks cutting into the deck) and Nicholas Stauder’s landscaping company did an amazing job materializing my landscaping vision.

I would describe my design aesthetic as effortless, clean, contemporary and organic, and I embrace nature as my main inspiration.

On this page I am excited to share my design aesthetic and what I have created. Enjoy!

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