Style at Home
TRIAL WITHOUT ERROR
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
IN THE FAST-GROWING CITY OF VANCOUVER, NEW CONSTRUCTION HAS THRIVED IN RECENT YEARS,
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.