A Suburban Vancouver Home Edits its Privacy Settings

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By Allie Weiss and Dwell
A seemingly street-shy house near Vancouver opens to reveal an expansive interior.

Only two slim strips of glass provide a glimpse into the interior of a dwelling in New Westminster, a suburb of Vancouver. The house, composed of concrete walls and cedar siding, was designed to keep prying eyes at bay. But the structure leaves an impression that is far from unwelcoming: Swaths of bright yellow paint, tucked into recesses along the facade, suggest a certain playfulness. "Enigmatic" is how architect David Battersby describes the home’s streetside appearance. 

A Suburban Vancouver Home Edits its Privacy Settings - Photo 1 of 5 - Sliding doors by Mountainview unite the garden and interior of a residence in British Columbia. The underside of the deck overhang is covered in Benjamin Moore’s Turmeric paint, a shade also used on the house’s front facade. A Canyon sofa by Bensen joins Fat Fat tables by Patricia Urquiola for B&B Italia in the living room; a cinderblock wall with a stove by Stûv divides the space from the kitchen.

Sliding doors by Mountainview unite the garden and interior of a residence in British Columbia. The underside of the deck overhang is covered in Benjamin Moore’s Turmeric paint, a shade also used on the house’s front facade. A Canyon sofa by Bensen joins Fat Fat tables by Patricia Urquiola for B&B Italia in the living room; a cinderblock wall with a stove by Stûv divides the space from the kitchen.

The residence of Grant Sigurdson and Todd Benko, the house contains a surprise beyond its entrance. Inside, its living spaces open dramatically to a veranda with a thriving garden and views of the city. "The actual experience of the house is antithetical to its street face," says Battersby, who designed the dwelling with Heather Howat, his partner at the local firm BattersbyHowat.


A Suburban Vancouver Home Edits its Privacy Settings - Photo 2 of 5 - The exterior is clad in stained cedar and painted channel siding; the Turmeric shade was selected to complement the hue of the ginkgo trees in the front yard. 

The exterior is clad in stained cedar and painted channel siding; the Turmeric shade was selected to complement the hue of the ginkgo trees in the front yard. 

The home sits next to an elementary school, so the area gets busy in the afternoon and evening, says Grant, a hematopathologist. Limiting apertures along the north and west sides of the structure provided as much of a barrier as possible from the noisy schoolyard. In addition, the clients requested an L-shaped house, a layout that allows for a more intimate relationship with the backyard. "We could have built more economically on the site, but Grant and Todd were really focused on what they were getting out of the project qualitatively," Battersby says. "The plan isn’t the most efficient one, but the net benefit substantially outweighs a simple box."

A Suburban Vancouver Home Edits its Privacy Settings - Photo 3 of 5 - The kitchen includes custom ash cabinets made by JMV Woodworks paired with stainless-steel countertops.

The kitchen includes custom ash cabinets made by JMV Woodworks paired with stainless-steel countertops.

The interiors feature simple finishes: white ash millwork, polished concrete flooring, and a cinderblock fireplace wall—a midcentury-inspired feature that the couple requested to distinguish between spaces. On one side of the wall, the living room leads directly to the garden. "If you’re sitting on the couch, all you see is the yard," Todd says.

A Suburban Vancouver Home Edits its Privacy Settings - Photo 4 of 5 - The homeowners requested that color be integrated throughout the house; a wall underneath the countercovered in Benjamin Moore’s Covington Blue is one bright detail. Caravaggio pendants by Cecilie Manz for Lightyears hang above an IKEA tableand Eames chairs.  

The homeowners requested that color be integrated throughout the house; a wall underneath the countercovered in Benjamin Moore’s Covington Blue is one bright detail. Caravaggio pendants by Cecilie Manz for Lightyears hang above an IKEA tableand Eames chairs.  

Grant is an avid gardener (a passion he shares with Battersby, who donated plants from his own backyard for the clients’ lot), and the owners wanted to create a strong indoor/outdoor dynamic, taking advantage of their location in the suburbs. Says Grant: "We have a lot of house-garden interaction here that’s not possible in Vancouver." 

A Suburban Vancouver Home Edits its Privacy Settings - Photo 5 of 5 -