A Vancouver Renovation Transforms a Backyard Into a Giant Living Room

Sliding glass doors and new landscaping fulfill a family's outdoor needs.
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Traditional homes are a common sight in the Dunbar neighborhood of Vancouver, British Columbia, and this home once fit that standard. But after a few years of living here, the owners felt that the layout didn’t exactly meet their needs. They couldn’t observe their two young children when they played in the backyard and there was no space adjacent the kitchen where their family could relax. According to Nigel Parish, architect and founder of Splyce Design, the owners contemplated moving or rebuilding from scratch, but ultimately, they decided that the property "had the potential to sustain their requirements." Parish made renovations throughout the house but the biggest changes came in an addition alongside the kitchen and a detached garage studio. The latter now invites the family to spend more time outdoors.

"The backyard, which was kind of the focus of the project, was overgrown and quite disconnected from the house itself," said architect Nigel Parish. The glass doors of the addition open onto a patio and lawn where the kids can play.

The addition of a living room beside the kitchen lets mom and dad spend more time with their kids – and watch over their activities. The children are sitting on a NeoWall couch by Living Divani, the light fixtures above the island are Smithfield by Flos, and the floor is oak.

The landscaped backyard acts as a second, open-air living space between the home and garage studio. The cladding on the addition is painted in Benjamin Moore’s Iron Mountain, and the deck is stained western red cedar.

The garage studio shares a space for the owners’ car with a multitude of functions ranging from gym to playroom. It complements the home's addition with shared materials: stained western red cedar and the same Iron Mountain shade by Benjamin Moore.

"Before, the house turned its back on the landscape," said Parish. "This renovation and addition really animates the garden." Sliding glass doors match those of the living room beyond the deck, and both can be completely open to the yard.

The backyard’s emphasis on nature is mirrored in the front of the home, which also underwent extensive landscaping by Considered Design. The owners and Parish wanted to "tone everything down" and turn the home into a backdrop for a natural setting.

Interior walls were repainted and flooring was repaired, but the master bathroom received the most attention in the existing house. The renovation included marble mosaic floor tiles, fixtures by Blu Bathworks, and Silestone countertops.

The whole exterior of the home, including the trim, is painted Wrought Iron by Benjamin Moore for a monochromic, quiet look.


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