Site Area: 7,306 sq. ft.
Built Area: 2,605 sq. ft.
Builder: Ledo General Contractors
This traditional-style urban home tucked away in the quiet neighbourhood of North Burnaby, came about as a result of the clients not wanting something that most folks in this and many other Vancouver suburbs were constructing – big box spec. homes. The clients had a very specific program in mind but with a limited budget, a fairly stringent zoning by-law and a big-box spec home (their current home at the time) to compete with, the challenge was on to custom design their dream home!
One of the initial requests early on was the couple’s desire to have the Master Bedroom on the main floor which would help for aging-in-place. The accompanying master ensuite achieves a spa-like retreat that is filled with natural light from the double skylight above in the vaulted ceiling. With the Master Bedroom on the main floor, this meant the couple’s 3 young kids laid claim to the upper floor (more on the upper floor later). Another request saw an Office that triples as a learning centre complete with a chalkboard wall for in-house tutoring and a guest room. A 3-piece bathroom readily equipped for a possible guest flanked the Office. Following the flow towards the rear of the house, leads to the open living space which includes the kitchen, dining room and living/family room. This space needed to spell out “e-n-t-e-r-t-a-i-n” even though the young couple admitted to not holding many social functions in the past at their previous house (that’s about to change!). The floor level of this living space conforms to the contours of the lot as you go from the front of the house to the back and sits a couple of steps down from the 9-foot ceilings of the Master Bedroom and the Office — the resulting 10-foot ceiling hovering over the living space helps increase the feeling of openness. To further that feeling, because the entire living space resides in the north side of the house, we took this opportunity to introduce unheated natural daylight into the space by providing extensive windows and glazed door systems that opened up to the private rear yard. Intensifying the open layout even more is a 9-foot wide folding accordian-style door system which when completely opened, connects the indoor dining room right out to the outdoor patio deck.
With the stairs exposed to the living space, one would naturally be drawn to exploring upstairs, which this young couple vehemently yet subliminally requested in order to easily have their kids go upstairs for bed! Fear not, as the upper floor is where the kids would naturally want to go anyways. Greeted with a clerestory window followed closely above by a skylight on the adjacent vaulted ceiling, this modest staircase feels grand because of the openness and the naturally-lit walls. To welcome the kids to their domain is a study centre with built-ins that support a homework desk along with upper shelving for a mini-library of their favourite books. From there, the kids would separate into their respective rooms, the eldest being rewarded with the master-like bedroom complete with a walk-in closet and 3-piece ensuite. Because of the zoning regulations in this part of Burnaby, the upper floor had to be no more than 75% of the area of the main floor which meant a fairly tight and efficient space plan that would house these 3 bedrooms. One of the couple’s request was to provide space in their children’s bedrooms where they would sit and look out the window while reading their favourite books. So naturally, we incorporated bay windows to each of the bedrooms to help serve two functions; 1. open up the bedroom walls to give that feeling of a larger room and 2. provide alcove-like spaces for the kids to immerse themselves in their books.
After a few months of design work, constructive back-and-forth revisions with the client and even a halt on the entire project at one point, this traditional house with an asymmetric massing to conform to the adjacent dwellings, was built in 6 short months and quickly occupied by the homeowners to call this home their very own – the clients couldn’t be any happier!
A case of great clients = great projects! Be inspired!