How do you know if a home is right for you? Try it be­fore you buy it.


How do you know if a home is right for you? Try it be­fore you buy it


and in ev­ery di­rec­tion, it seems, shiny res­i­den­tial tow­ers reach to­ward the sky. But look a lit­tle closer, and you’ll find ves­tiges of the city’s orig­i­nal charm – hall­marks that hear­ken back to a dif­fer­ent era. Take, for ex­am­ple, the city’s lawn bowling clubs. Since the early 1900s, Van­cou­verites – dressed in tra­di­tional white garb – have gath­ered in these park-like set­tings to com­pete on the grassy lanes.

One of these sto­ried clubs is nes­tled in the neigh­bour­hood of South Granville, with two her­itage homes stand­ing guard nearby. A few years ago, these abodes caught the at­ten­tion of Jac­que­line and Matt Walker – both com­mer­cial real es­tate pro­fes­sion­als – who hap­pened to be on the hunt for a rental home. The good

news was the an­ti­quated struc­tures had been re­con­fig­ured in 2008 to cre­ate what are now four con­tem­po­rary town­homes. “But they were backed by a tow­er­ing sky­scraper,” re­calls Jac­que­line. “We were pretty sure we’d feel over­shad­owed and mis­er­able.” How­ever, they took a chance, know­ing a rental was low-com­mit­ment and they could al­ways stay for just one year.

That never hap­pened – in fact, they fell in love with the place. “We didn’t even no­tice the tower,” says Jac­que­line. “And it turned out the lay­out let in a lot of sun­light, which was fan­tas­tic.”

About six months later, Matt was walk­ing home from work when he no­ticed the neigh­bour­ing town­house was empty. The cou­ple quickly put in an of­fer, be­com­ing the sud­den own­ers of a 1,400-square-foot abode iden­ti­cal to the rental in which they were al­ready liv­ing. Not only did they know what the space

would be like, but they also knew ex­actly what they wanted to change – namely, the tawny-hued walls, a shim­mer­ing black and gold kitchen, builder-grade hol­low doors and mis­matched big-box-store cab­i­netry – so they hired Am­ber Kingsnorth of Mak In­te­ri­ors to help.

“The orig­i­nal space def­i­nitely wasn’t their style,” re­calls Am­ber. “Jac­que­line and Matt have a tai­lored aes­thetic. They dress beau­ti­fully and pay a lot of at­ten­tion to de­tail.” The pair de­sired a de­sign that would re­tain the home’s an­tique el­e­ments, such as the fire­place, and fea­ture a con­tem­po­rary neu­tral colour scheme – the per­fect blend of old and new.

Con­ve­niently, the cou­ple was able to re­main in the rental as Am­ber got to work. Her first task was to stream­line the de­sign: Am­ber opted to use only one wall colour, one floor type, one hard­ware type and one cab­i­netry style through­out the en­tire house. “Treat­ing a small house as if it’s one room cre­ates co­he­sion and flow,” she ex­plains.

Am­ber also com­mis­sioned cus­tom mill­work for ar­chi­tec­tural im­pact and scrapped an un­nec­es­sary break­fast nook to garner more counter space in the kitchen. The min­i­mal­ist din­ing room got a style up­grade thanks to a new cof­fered ceil­ing, and the bed­room went big on func­tion with a floor-to-ceil­ing wall of stor­age (fea­tur­ing a hid­den dress­ing room!). Even the mas­ter bath re­ceived a crisp makeover, go­ing from builder ba­sic to dy­namic and stor­age-savvy.

In the end, the “house next door” was trans­formed into a pol­ished and cu­rated space, just as well-suited to the mod­ern tower be­hind it as it is to the his­toric bowling green across the street – and per­fectly be­fit­ting the cou­ple them­selves.

Tra­di­tional Bergère chairs up­hol­stered in pale grey linen are ac­cented by graphite-grey toss cush­ions, which con­tinue the night-and-day colour pal­ette. Large win­dows al­low for lots of light and of­fer views of the bowling green across the street. SOFA,...

The tai­lored uphol­stery with sub­tle pip­ing on the sofa and Bergère chairs gives the liv­ing room of this Van­cou­ver home its but­toned-down aes­thetic. Flank­ing the her­itage fire­place, sleek float­ing con­soles keep clut­ter at bay and of­fer a strik­ing...

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