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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

Modern Home Tour 2014

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135 East 17th Ave. rooftop deck. Image courtesy of Modern Home Tours.

Last weekend, as joint venture between Western Living Magazine’s Design Week and Vancouver Design Week, Vancouverites were given the unique opportunity to walk through a number of Vancouver’s modern homes. Curated by Anika Quinn – Western Living’s Editor-in-Chief – and Modern Home Tours, these self-paced walkabouts focused on seven homes scattered across Vancouver and, or course, West Vancouver.

As a design student interested mostly in commercial design, I was pleasantly surprised by these homes and my excitement for residential design. Due to the fact that I was taking transit to visit these sites, I was only able to visit three of the Vancouver-based homes. And despite their similarities, their differences made for a rich and interesting experience:

135 East 17th Ave. roof detail. Image Courtesy of author.
135 East 17th Ave. roof detail. Image Courtesy of author.

135 East 17th Avenue
Architect: Oliver Land, LWPAC, Builder/Interior Designer: Vanglo Sustainable Construction Ltd.

Anybody familiar with this East Vancouver neighbourhood just west of Main Street will know that the streets are lined with older character homes on tightly spaced lots. Walking along the sidewalk beneath all the mature trees, 135 East 17th immediately jumps out at the casual pedestrian, with its angular and intriguing look. It sits in stark contrast to its surroundings. The upper level was a personal highlight, with its angular ceiling and sleek finishes creating a comfortable space. Its rooftop deck was particularly wonderful. Another great aspect of the home is that the downstairs walls are non-load bearing, giving homeowners flexibility in how they lay out their partition walls.

The serene garden. Image Courtesy of author.
The serene garden. Image Courtesy of author.

5012 Marguerite Street
Architect: David Thom, IBI Group, Interior Design: Hodgson Design Associates, Builder/Interior Millwork: Stirling Millwork, Pool: Transolini Pools

In contrast to the tight urban context of 135 17th Avenue, 5012 Marguerite Street is located at the south-west corner of Shaughnessy. Of the three visited, it had the most serene environment and fostered a different approach to the larger natural context. With this in mind, the design team did a wonderful job integrating the outdoor and indoor environments. There were many points of interest in this home and wherever one looked there were breathtaking views. There was even a cute little dog to play with!

1316 Arbutus St. attic space. Image Courtesy of Modern Home Tours.
1316 Arbutus St. interior. Courtesy of Modern Home Tours.

1316 Arbutus Street
Architect: Sheridan Macrae, Interior Designer: Kelly Deck Design, Contractor: Horrock’s Construction

The last home on our tour which had the best New Home Design offered the perfect ending to a sunny Saturday afternoon– right across the street from Kitsilano Beach! One couldn’t help but appreciate the simplicity of the spaces and how they highlighted the adjacent outside areas. I even discovered an awesome reading nook (even though I’m sure it wasn’t pegged to be one) while going up the stairs to the loft area.

As mentioned earlier, the Modern Home Tour was an enriching experience, overall, and I am very thankful to those who graciously organized the event, as well as those kind enough to open their doors to the public – very fun and definitely worthwhile!

A piece of advice for those interested in attending next year: If you want to view the majority of the homes, having a car really helps. But if you’re okay with meandering through just a few, then public transit or cycling is always a good idea!

To see more images of the homes above, as well as the others I didn’t get a chance to visit on this year’s Modern Home Tour, check out the official website here.


Berçin Janzen is a second year Interior Design student at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Berçin’s roots may lay in the city of Istanbul but she has called Vancouver home for the past twenty-two years. She has a passion for the environment, wildlife conservation, supporting local businesses, and the never ending possibilities of design. She is a student of life and adventure.