An Ordinary Suburban Home in Vancouver Is Given a Modern Edge

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By Kelly Dawson
When a West Vancouver couple called on an architect to build their family home, he delivered—he just had to change the roof first.

A couple living in West Vancouver with two young kids had a plan. They wanted a home where their family could grow; a place that had enough room for toys, and books, and play. It seemed like a typical enough objective, as most couples with children want this. And even though the 1950s property they purchased had likely spent generations as the setting for this type of dream, this pair couldn't picture their future amongst its history. 

Before:

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Here is a glimpse of what the house looked like before the remodel.

Here is a glimpse of what the house looked like before the remodel.

After:

"Exterior materials include black anodized-aluminum windows, stained western red cedar, and pre-painted metal siding," Parish says. "These materials complement the new modern volume of the house, while also nodding to the existing character of the neighborhood."

"Exterior materials include black anodized-aluminum windows, stained western red cedar, and pre-painted metal siding," Parish says. "These materials complement the new modern volume of the house, while also nodding to the existing character of the neighborhood."

 "The interior had seen a couple of interior renovations over the years, but the structure and the bones were all existing," principal Nigel Parish of Splyce Design says. "The exterior was in its original 1950s form."

Stained white-oak flooring was used throughout the interior, which help to bring the natural siding from the outdoors in. 

Stained white-oak flooring was used throughout the interior, which help to bring the natural siding from the outdoors in. 

The house as it stood was an everyday suburban address, complete with a triangular roof that covered a simple single story. "Our goal was not only to provide more functional space," Parish continues, "but to improve its overall quality and feel." 

To create square footage with personality, Parish concluded that the renovation had to feature a radical shift. Instead of keeping the roof as it was and modernizing the inside, he chose to add a second story and give the property a sloping cover. 

Hay stools are lined in the completely renovated kitchen, which is punctuated by an abundance of natural light and a large Moooi Random Light. 

Hay stools are lined in the completely renovated kitchen, which is punctuated by an abundance of natural light and a large Moooi Random Light. 

"Adding a new floor above an existing structure is always a challenge, both structurally and architecturally," Parish says. "But by maintaining the majority of the existing home's footprint, the proposed changes were feasible. The sloping roof provided the opportunity to gain a half upper story, which accommodates the master bedroom, ensuite, and office."  

The newly opened kitchen, dining, and living space connect the home from front to back," Parish adds. "Operable windows on both ends allow for cross ventilation and unobstructed views, too." White oak millwork is shown throughout the space, including on the appliances. 

The newly opened kitchen, dining, and living space connect the home from front to back," Parish adds. "Operable windows on both ends allow for cross ventilation and unobstructed views, too." White oak millwork is shown throughout the space, including on the appliances. 

The addition of the second story allowed for a private hideaway—a luxury for parents with young kids, of course—and it provided Parish with the flexibility to maximize the rooms on the ground floor. 

He blended the living, dining, and kitchen areas into one continuous space, and sectioned off a guest room for impending visitors. The two kids also have their own dedicated play area, too. All of the couple's wishes were met, in fact, but Parish didn't stop there.  

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A private master bedroom and ensuite were key to the renovation, and include as much natural light as the ground floor. Benjamin Moore's White Heron was used throughout the interiors to complement the light. 

A private master bedroom and ensuite were key to the renovation, and include as much natural light as the ground floor. Benjamin Moore's White Heron was used throughout the interiors to complement the light. 

"Renovation on the basement level includes a larger and more functional mudroom, and dedicated media room as well," he says.  

Porcelain floor tiles and Caesarstone countertops encompass the master bathroom, which also includes a pair of Duravit sinks and Aquabrass faucets. 

Porcelain floor tiles and Caesarstone countertops encompass the master bathroom, which also includes a pair of Duravit sinks and Aquabrass faucets. 

Every space in the home is united by natural light and a minimalist touch, an atmosphere that complements the volume of the sloped roofs. And even though the finished scene vastly altered the original structure, Parish feels like he delivered on the couple's long-ago plan. 

The exterior's many textures include stained western red cedar siding, a white oak veneer front door, and a concrete walkway. 

The exterior's many textures include stained western red cedar siding, a white oak veneer front door, and a concrete walkway. 

"The new appointed spaces work for the family: They are tailored to their needs, yet are flexible enough to accommodate future demands," he says. "While the new form of the house is a dramatic departure from the original 50s bungalow, the overall scale of the home still fits within the context of the neighborhood, yet adds some interest to the street." 

Project Details:

Architect and Interior Design: Splyce Design / @splycedesign

Builder: Blackfish Homes

Structural Engineer: WHM Structural Engineers