It takes time to figure out why, when you enter architect Andrew Reeves’ contemporary-themed home in Lindenlea, you feel a little less burdened by your daily cares, a bit more open to possibility.

Then you realize that it’s the ample daylight — illuminating the wide plank oak floors, slipping through the stairwell’s glass panels, and heightening the white of the walls — that’s making everything including you feel and look more buoyant.

“Since Day 1 I’ve been ultra-sensitive to bringing character and warmth to homes through light,” says the owner of Ottawa’s LineBox Studio. He likes how light casts shadows, how its quality changes over the course of a day, how his two young daughters lie in a band of sun on the dining room floor and observe the neighbourhood through a low-placed window.

Light and its soulmate airiness define the open-concept, 2,100-square-foot town that Reeves calls home. Not far from bustling Beechwood Avenue, it’s one of three LineBox-designed row units, each different both inside and out from the other two yet all sharing common elements like clever storage solutions and high energy efficiency.

With their exteriors of brick, stucco, cedar and metal, the Springfield Towns fit well with the neighbourhood’s eclectic architecture.

The homes were developed by ModBox, a high-end urban development company consisting of LineBox and contract/project managers The Lake Partnership. The project was a finalist in the Greater Ottawa Home Builders’ Association’s Housing Design Awards in 2014. The units, valued at about $995,000 each, have all been sold or rented.

Reeves says that with infill projects like this — and infills are a LineBox specialty — natural light can be an issue because of surrounding buildings. So windows are critical for both the brightness they bring and the solar heat they collect on frosty winter days.

In the New Edinburgh project, those windows, especially when viewed from outside, punctuate the walls in seemingly random fashion, most running horizontally and a few vertically. Look more closely, though, and you’ll see subtle patterns of placement and size.

“I like order in disorder so it doesn’t get too whimsical,” says the 39-year-old architect who could be speaking about himself and how he counterbalances his easy smile with an essential seriousness.

Like the windows in most of his projects, those in his own home require no window treatments for privacy. Homeowners can see out, but thanks to the shape and location of the windows others can’t see in.

That absence of window treatments reduces visual clutter (clutter being a bugaboo in Reeves’ world) and helps highlight the homes’ interior lines.

Reeves’ love of light extends to the artificial variety. For example, over the kitchen island hangs a cylindrical pendant fixture from Toronto’s Castor Design. Made of burned-out fluorescent light tubes, it’s lit from within, and the diffused illumination and round shape balance the fixture’s basically industrial look.

If the home’s brightness makes for a feeling of buoyancy, so does its verticality. The entrance is at street level, but you travel up to the second-floor kitchen, living room and dining area.

The floor above includes the two bedrooms. “We thought about having three,” says the Windsor-born architect, “but with just two we notice how much more connected the kids are.”

A final hike up the stairwell takes you to a kitchenette that serves the rooftop terrace with its view of the neighbourhood. Reeves, his wife, Melissa Reeves, and their daughters Ashlyn, 5, and Chloe, 2, moved into their home last summer, and have already experimented with a rooftop vegetable garden. They plan to add small trees. “I don’t get backyards — they’re just extra work, and we have two parks just down the street,” he says. Reeves’ customary rapid speech suggests a man in a hurry who’s figured out what’s important to him and what’s not.

In the sleek kitchen, visitors walk across large porcelain tiles on the radiant-heated floor to an island with polished concrete counter-tops. Reeves points to a banquette that doubles as storage space. It’s his favourite spot to sit, he says. “The kitchen really is the heart of the home.”

His other favourite elements include the Stûv wood-burning stove between the sunken living room and the dining room. The stove can be swivelled so the fire is visible from either the living or dining areas.

Also high on his love-list: a huge painting of a canoe by Ottawa artist Christopher Griffin (“My wife had a yellow canoe at her cottage when she was growing up, and I like the light in it”) and a Danish-styled credenza he’s owned for years (“It’s just a beautiful object. It’s hard to find things to have for life and then pass on to your kids”).

Between its form and content, Reeves’ home embodies what he explains as his approach to design: “A lot of modern architects design houses, and then people live in them. We try to do it differently, to design homes based on our clients’ characters.”

That approach has led to some tasty contracts including the nearby home of Tobias Lütke, president of Ottawa’s runaway success story, the online shopping company Shopify. LineBox has also designed Shopify’s spiffy new Elgin Street headquarters.

It was to do such smaller scale, one-at-a-time projects that Reeves, who holds a master’s of architecture degree from Carleton University, struck out on his own in 2006 after working at the much  bigger Brisbin Brook Beynon Architects, designers of such projects as Ottawa’s Convention Centre. “It was about finding my own way, my own style,” he says.

LineBox, winner of multiple design awards, has grown to be a 10-person firm including a small Toronto office. Its work includes commercial projects as well as residential construction and renovations.

Reeves will combine that diverse expertise in the transformation of the former Saint-Charles Church in Vanier into a mix of condos and commercial space. It’s another ModBox project, with the design work already begun.

“It’s going to be cool,” he says. “French, English, religion: it’s got it all.”

As we wind up our visit, Reeves comments on the copy of Wilco’s 2002 record Yankee Hotel Foxtrot stored with other vinyl albums in a kitchen cubby hole. “I have a soft spot for indie folk,” he says. “Life is crazy, and you run around all the time. It’s nice to take it easy once in a while, just sit back and relax.”