If there’s one feature that captures the intention of this top-to-bottom renovation of a West Vancouver home, it is the front door. Once small, dated and ordinary, now the entryway is dramatic and impressive, lets in more light and sets the tone for an updated interior that meets the needs of a busy, modern family of four.
Originally built in the early 1990s, the three-level home was in the perfect location for the family with the children happily settled into nearby schools and sports activities, but the layout did not complement the family’s lifestyle – the teenagers wanted more room to hang out with teammates and friends while the adults found the living and entertaining space wasn’t well designed.
“The house faces east-west, so it got the morning light, but because of the [interior] walls, the darker floors and dark granite, I always found it very dark,” says the homeowner.
Creating an open-plan main floor was a top priority for the family, says Jamie Banfield, principal designer at Jamie Banfield Design , who was referred to the homeowners by contractor CCI Renovations . By relocating an office and incorporating that space into the kitchen – coupled with opening existing walls that separated the living room, kitchen and dining room – Banfield created a spacious great room to better fit the family’s needs.
The once U-shaped kitchen is now at the heart of the main level with the eight feet by four feet island designed as the hub of the house where family and friends gather every day and is perfect for entertaining too.
But the island is a standout for more than its size. When Banfield discussed options to contrast the island with the white modified Shaker panelled cabinetry on the perimeter of the kitchen, the homeowners’ teenage daughter suggested black.
“It’s not the easiest colour to keep clean, but the kids in the household are older, so we could pull it off,” he says, noting the island is the same colour as the new front door, Benjamin Moore’s Black Jack .
However, the suggestion is an example of collaboration between homeowners and interior designers, says Banfield.
“It’s the interior designer’s job to pull out as much information as possible and then nurture and use it in the best possible way during the design process.”
It can be difficult to create focal points in great rooms, says Banfield, explaining the decision to create the custom canopy directly above the kitchen island .
“The idea for the canopy was to add a centrepiece, much like you would add an area rug to a floor, to define the space,” he says.
While the canopy serves its attention-grabbing primary purpose, it also connects other design elements in the enlarged room. The ceiling fixture is made from the same wood as the cabinets that flank the fireplace and the open shelving in the kitchen, while the three 18-inch antique-nickel pendants (from the Thomas O’Brien Goodman collection by Visual Comfort) add another finish to the mix of metals in the space alongside the black hardware, stainless steel sink and appliances and polished nickel faucets.
“In a great room, you don’t need everything to match, but they do need to be related, to be part of a family of colours and finishes,” says Banfield.
Video: Finishing your basement with North Ridge Renovations (Global News)
With that in mind, the black trim around the marble fireplace surround connects with the island cabinetry, while the stone relates to the Caesarstone Frosty Carrina countertop.
One of the other renovations that contributed to the now lighter interior is the new folding door to the backyard. The nearly 10-foot-wide door makes the backyard more accessible and lets in plenty of light, says the homeowner.
Banfield notes that while the floor plan was reconfigured, he had to retain some features, such as the fireplace.
“We had to work with what we had, we couldn’t change the size and depth of the existing fireplace insert, but we wanted to create a long, linear look,” he says.
Adding to the challenge was placing the TV above the fireplace and ensuring it wouldn’t be impacted by heat.
The solution is wood panelling above the fireplace, giving the effect of pulling forward the insert – in fact, it remained where it was – and then designing cabinetry on either side to create a symmetrical look.
The panelling is horizontal to mimic the shape of the fireplace, and the elongated look is further enhanced by adding the 78-inch-long black frame around the Calacatta marble surround, he says.
Banfield and the homeowner chose the marble slab at C+S Tile in Burnaby.
“We could have cut out the centre of the slab, but because heat can potentially crack stone, we cut the four sides – vein matching on the diagonal at the top corners – so that the joints could function as expansion seams,” he adds.
While the changes to the main level were significant, the four-bedroom second storey was also completely transformed. By reducing the number of bedrooms to three, he maximized the extra space to design an ensuite bathroom for each room and relocated the laundry room from the main level.
“A lot of people think that reducing the number of bedrooms is a no-no because of resale, but in this case, adding a walk-in bathroom for each bedroom is potentially more valuable,” says Banfield.
There is a guest room in the basement where another bedroom has been repurposed for an office, still leaving the home with four functioning bedrooms.
In the master ensuite , a rich grey vanity with double sinks anchors the main wall along the length of the bathroom, while mirrors reflect light from the window on the opposite wall above the freestanding Kallista tub.
To create the spa-look the homeowners wanted Banfield layered finishes, with 24- by 24-inch floor tiles, 12- by 24-inch wall tiles and a hexagon mosaic for the shower floor and niche – all Calacatta Gold marble.
The wall mount basin set faucets by Kallista adds an old-world luxe feel to the space. While Banfield says it’s “twice the work and double the price” to install wall-mounted faucets, it saves countertop space and adds to the sophisticated esthetic in the bathroom.
While the homeowners welcomed input from their teenage son and daughter, they wanted the finishes in the new bathrooms to be fairly neutral and timeless.
Other than requesting a Bluetooth showerhead, the family’s teenage son was happy to leave the details to Banfield and his parents. Banfield specified a Moxie by Kohler showerhead, and the rest of the space is a simple and clean design featuring elongated white subway-style tiles for the walls and black tile for the built-in shower nook that complements the black floor tile.
The teenage daughter had more input for her walk-in bathroom, which is light and bright with a slightly shabby chic esthetic, says Banfield. Marble-look porcelain wall tiles contrast with Eros Grey Marble tiles by Ann Sacks laid in a herringbone pattern on the floor, while the wood vanity with a white countertop enhances the airy ambience in the space.
To complete the top-to-bottom renovation , the basement received its fair share of attention and was updated to include a gym, home office and social space for the teenagers to welcome friends.
“The gym has been really great during the pandemic, giving us a space to workout at home,” notes the homeowner.