May 29, 2024


West Vancouver: Renovation honours architectural legend Barry Downs

West Vancouver home gets a contemporary upgrade while honouring late great Canadian architect

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Architect Cedric Burgers wasn’t mincing words: “If you don’t buy it, I will,” he told Tanya and Scott McMillan, at an open house for what would become their West Vancouver home.

The couple had asked Burgers to join them and give his two cents on the home’s potential. And he had learned that the 1966-built house was originally designed by late great Canadian architect Barry Downs.

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“The house was beautifully built for its time; a well-crafted West Coast Modern mid-century house with a flat roof,” says Burgers.

It was 2016, and the McMillans were returning from a stint living in New Zealand with their three children, aged 7, 9 and 10. The home, with its large, open rooms, wide windows and North Shore forest setting, seemed like a perfect place to land.

“We loved the bones, the clean lines and the large windows. It was set in this natural landscape and had a great indoor-outdoor connection,” says Tanya. “We knew it was going to need some work, but Cedric educated us on the history of Barry Downs and his contributions to architecture in Canada. Knowing the history and the relevance, we jumped at the opportunity.”

In the home's two-storey living room, the design team used cedar panelling matching the home's exterior siding for a focal point wall that runs from inside to out. Zinc panelling gave a crumbling brick fireplace new life, while custom-cut window panes slotted into the home's original cherry-stained wood frames.
In the home’s two-storey living room, the design team used cedar panelling matching the home’s exterior siding for a focal point wall that runs from inside to out. Zinc panelling gave a crumbling brick fireplace new life, while custom-cut window panes slotted into the home’s original cherry-stained wood frames. Photo by Andrew Latreille
Large basaltina porcelain floor tiles run throughout the home, the terrace and the pool surround.
Large basaltina porcelain floor tiles run throughout the home, the terrace and the pool surround. Photo by Andrew Latreille

Burgers was thrilled to work on a home with such a pedigree, as intent on honouring Downs’ vision as modernizing. Among other upgrades, the project would include structural reinforcements, new flooring and windows throughout, a new kitchen and dining area, layout adjustments, and a new wing accommodating a new primary suite and a pool.

Once draft drawings were complete, Tanya invited Downs himself — who happened to live nearby at the time — over to take a look. “He used to walk his dog around our block,” she says. “We wanted to include his suggestions because we wanted the renovation to feel like it was part of the original design and not an add-on.”

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With this in mind, the house retains most of its original form and profile, with its entry on top and three floors stepping down the hillside. The pavilion-like new addition juts off the bottom floor, while a system of retaining walls replaces a sloping garden at the back to make way for a patio and pool.

A series of retaining walls filled a sloping garden to make way for a new pool and patio, floored in the same porcelain tile as the home's interior spaces.
A series of retaining walls filled a sloping garden to make way for a new pool and patio, floored in the same porcelain tile as the home’s interior spaces. Photo by Andrew Latreille

“I explained to Barry what we were trying to do, and he was very receptive,” says Burgers. Not only did Downs remember the original home, but he was gracious about the proposed changes, writing a letter of support to the District of West Vancouver. The District eventually approved the project — even the setback-exceeding addition — contingent on preserving the home’s heritage value.

Inside, the spaces had been through two renovations since the 60s, creating a sort of esthetic hodgepodge. So, the team’s first step was to peel back these layers, then restore as much as possible to original condition, while refreshing the home for modern living.

The home’s centrepiece, then and now, is the two-storey living room, where floor-to-ceiling cedar panelling, with a charred and stain-rubbed finish, now matches the home’s exterior siding, for indoor-outdoor flow. Zinc panelling gave a crumbling brick fireplace new life, while new custom window panes slotted into original cherry-stained wood frames. The effect is clean-lined, but also textured enough to feel welcoming.

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“We love being there watching movies with a fire going, and nice light. Especially in the winter, we spend a lot of time in there together,” says Tanya.

In the new wing, large windows match the feel of those in the original home, but with modern glass-to-glass corner joins for even wider views; something Burgers imagines that Downs would have done himself, if the technology had been available in his time.

On the home's lower floor, a pavilion-like new addition houses a new primary suite, thoughtfully designed to blend with the look and feel of the original structure, overlooking the swimming pool and the surrounding forest.
On the home’s lower floor, a pavilion-like new addition houses a new primary suite, thoughtfully designed to blend with the look and feel of the original structure, overlooking the swimming pool and the surrounding forest. Photo by Andrew Latreille
Walnut millwork, grey tile and marble counters create a serene setting for the primary ensuite.
Walnut millwork, grey tile and marble counters create a serene setting for the primary ensuite. Photo by Andrew Latreille

An open-plan kitchen and dining room replace tucked-away rooms typical of the home’s era, retaining the original windows to frame the forest view, with large new skylights and a white palette to brighten further.

“When you look through (the home), you’re always connecting to the outside,” says Burgers.

As a result, the house is now very much the forest sanctuary the family envisioned when they first toured it all those years ago, says Tanya. “It’s almost like a holiday when you’re at home,” she says. “In the winter, you see all the snow on the mountains when you’re sitting in the kitchen, and in the summer, it’s like a tropical little paradise.”

The design team wanted to restore as much as possible to original condition, while refreshing and updating the home for modern living.
The design team wanted to restore as much as possible to original condition, while refreshing and updating the home for modern living. Photo by Andrew Latreille

Downs wasn’t able to visit the renovated home before he passed away in 2022, but Burgers hopes he would have approved. After all, from the front, the structure looks almost as it did in 1966 — except for a row of Douglas fir trees, which were saplings at the time of construction and now tower to 100 feet tall, rivalling the surrounding cedars.

“If this had been a new build, all the trees would have come down,” says Burgers. “But those beautiful trees have grown in and around the house. The roots and foundation have settled into their way of living with each other.” And the house into its next era.

Architectural Design: Burgers Architecture

Interior Design: Marieke Burgers

Construction: Jason Lorenz, Lorenz Developments

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West Seattle artist shares Diy strategies for reworking home furnishings

Amanda Whitworth shares furniture transformations and her cancer journey with extra than 27,000 Instagram followers on her account Sawdust and Soul. #k5night

SEATTLE — What is previous is new once again, many thanks to the expanding pattern of “furniture flipping” and men and women like Amanda Whitworth.

She runs a tiny enterprise from her property in West Seattle, turning unwanted furnishings into elegant and usable items.

"I just like having the most dilapidated piece of home furnishings you can uncover and wholly transforming it into some thing you'd in no way identify,” she claimed.

She showcases and marketplaces her capacity via enjoyable movies exhibiting “before and after” projects on Instagram. More than 27,000 persons abide by her account Sawdust and Soul

But Whitworth's feed is just not committed to purely very issues. She also posts brazenly about her most essential Do-it-yourself challenge: herself.

For a lot more than 20 a long time, she's been on a winding and unpredictable cancer journey.

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It started off in 1999 when her mother known as with devastating news: she had endometrial cancer.

“I bear in mind my whole environment just slowing down and my to start with assumed was, ‘Oh my god, my mom is likely to die,’" she claimed.

Her mom survived, but 3 several years later on Whitworth’s brother was identified with stage 2 colon most cancers.

Ultimately, the total loved ones was analyzed and health professionals found out they carry a genetic mutation.

“We have some thing identified as Lynch Syndrome,” Whitworth mentioned. "It boosts our lifelong chance of getting several varieties of most cancers. I was identified in 2017 with metastatic most cancers of an mysterious primary resource.”

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At the time, she'd just started woodworking, and the pastime grew to become a life line.

"It was like my therapy,” she claimed. "It saved me mentally and emotionally, and it gave me one thing to plan for."

Right after undergoing surgical treatment and radiation, Whitworth defeat the cancer. But the potential for a further fight stays.

"I even now have a possibility of getting other cancers, and that is pretty terrifying to stay with,” she claimed. “But at the very same time, it motivates me to live a existence that feels the truest to me, in the most authentic way I quite possibly can."

She mentioned that suggests doing what lights her up, and listening to her intestine. In September of 2021, her intuition explained to her to start off flipping home furniture for a living.

"We only get one shot at lifestyle, and if you can find something you want to do and try, you may as very well just try it, and even if you are unsuccessful, that's alright,” Whitworth said. "You will find practically nothing completely wrong with failing simply because sooner or later you are likely to succeed."

She hopes her followers and clients are influenced to abide by their very own callings — no matter if they contain woodworking or not.

"We can change lives by the much more genuine and clear we are with our possess,” she stated.

Whitworth is also a wood artist specializing in landscapes. Her operate is offered on her site, and she’s now using commissions for equally furniture and artwork. She also vlogs on YouTube.

KING 5's Night celebrates the Northwest. Contact us: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Email.


Alison Victoria of ‘Windy Town Rehab’ Heads West

Is “Windy City Rehab” going from Chicago to Los Angeles? On the most up-to-date episode, Alison Victoria announces she may broaden her company westward, with new investment associates no significantly less.

“I began having this idea in my head that I want to relocate, just for the winter,” Victoria clarifies. “Get absent from Chicago for a when, then travel back again and forth to do work.”

Victoria has a true estate agent pal in Hollywood Hills named Michaela Tupta Cadiz—who, alongside with her husband, Luis, acquired a typical 1923 Spanish Colonial at auction for $1 million. It has two bedrooms and two baths, but it is in shambles, and they request Victoria to aid them carry it back again to existence.

“It went from movie star standing to squatter house genuine immediately just after its owner died,” says Victoria.

Hollywood Hills home before renovationHollywood Hills home before renovation
Hollywood Hills home in advance of renovation


And nevertheless, “From the next I saw this household, I realized I preferred to be involved,” she claims. “This is a aspiration challenge.”

So she hops on a plane and heads west.

Michaela and Luis program to commit $550,000 on the renovation to attain a projected sale price tag of $2.6 million—hopefully giving them a financial gain just north of $1 million. Victoria would get a proportion of that.

As she maneuvers quite different terrain, Victoria shares insider renovation strategies that can be applied by anybody, anywhere. Right here are some of the greatest.

Stucco and tile make for a wonderful hearth face-raise

Original fireplaceOriginal fireplace
Alison Victoria and Michaela Tupta Cadiz with initial hearth


There is a enormous, blocky wood-burning fireplace in the residence that appears like it is from one more time and place.

“Somewhere along the way, the hearth shed its authentic heritage and I just can’t wait to provide it back again,” claims Victoria.

She opts to conserve the essential brick framework (which is a authorized necessity if you want it to remain a wooden-burning hearth), but she places white stucco around it to match the relaxation of the household and makes use of Moroccan tile for accent. It ends up currently being superior than new.

New fireplaceNew fireplace
New fireplace


No lawn? Trick out your terrace

Terraced front yardTerraced front yard
Terraced front garden

(Real estate

The dwelling sits on a hillside, and there’s pretty very little flat property, in entrance or in back. Victoria helps make up for this by cleverly furnishing the home’s many terraces, introducing a eating desk, fire pit, hammock, and even an elevated sizzling tub manufactured of cedar.

“The scorching tub is magnificent,” she states. “It’s cedar and it smells delicious.”

It also has a black bottom, which draws in heat and is less complicated to preserve clean up.

Your front door must make a assertion

New/old front doorNew/old front door
New/aged entrance door

“The new entrance door creates times of elegance and curiosity—that sets the tone,” suggests Victoria.

She employs Arie, her go-to carpenter again in Wisconsin, to make this doorway added particular.

He employs a steel window grate from the authentic, moreover new wooden, unique wood, and reclaimed wood, blending them all jointly and antiquing them so the new door suits in completely with the Spanish Revival type.

Make absolutely sure all events are on the similar page

Group of contractors/designers discussing plansGroup of contractors/designers discussing plans
The group of contractors and designers discussing designs


It looks that Michaela, Luis, their contractor Frank, and Victoria all have to some degree unique visions for the house. And though Victoria is again in Chicago, Luis and his employees stop by the web site at sporadic intervals and deviate from the programs. This causes holdups and costly do-overs.

So Victoria flies out and phone calls a meeting. Luis is reluctant to share his designs with the many others, describing he likes to preserve them in his head and make variations when he feels like it.

“I recognize the passion, but I will explain to you, communication is my crucial to good results,” Victoria tells the team tactfully. “Imagine how good projects can be when we’re all on the similar webpage.”

While it isn’t simple to wrangle employees and contractors, it’s distinct that renovations go considerably additional easily when all events share their visions fairly than keeping designs to on their own. It also helps to look at in on the operate as a lot as feasible, in situation study course corrections must happen.

Save house, time, and dollars with a spiral staircase

Antique spiral staircaseAntique spiral staircase
Antique spiral staircase


The dwelling place in the property is 2,250 sq. ft, but for the reason that of the way it is laid out, there’s no place to spare for a grand staircase. The upstairs area is not expansive in any case, accommodating only an excess bed room and bath.

They determine a distinctive round staircase is the way to go, so Michaela goes online and finds an English antique iron spiral staircase for only $3,600. Because it is so intricate, it also serves as an artwork piece, providing the room substantially additional character than a classic staircase would have completed.

How does the residence switch out?

In the finish, Victoria and her expense associates deal with to change this run-down mansion into a sparkling L.A. paradise.

Hollywood Hills home after renovationHollywood Hills home after renovation
Hollywood Hills property right after renovation


“Michaela and Luis procured this assets for $1 million,” Victoria explains. “Now the assets is valued at over $2 million. Michaela and Luis resolved to maintain onto it due to the fact the rental market place in L.A. is mad.”

Confident sufficient, the property soon displays up on the rental market place for $11,000 a thirty day period.

“Even however they determined to rent it out, I place in roughly $47,000, and I built 25% on that cash,” Victoria states. “That’s why I received in the business—to be worthwhile.”

Spring Dwelling Design: A historic West Seattle kitchen goes from clunky to sunny

THE “BEFORE” OF this tale stretches again just about a century to a significant architectural milestone that now grounds a recently sophisticated, supremely purposeful kitchen area as the “after” hub of the property — and as homage.

Brandon and Jill (additionally their “two-legged child,” who is 9, and their “four-legged child,” who is a giant German shepherd) stay in a historic 1927 French Colonial in West Seattle developed by Elizabeth Ayer, the to start with woman to graduate from the expert architecture application at the University of Washington and the initially girl registered as an architect in the state.

Brandon and Jill experienced driven by Ayer’s creation from time to time and usually were drawn to its allure. Charming as it was (and is), nonetheless, by the time it was theirs, it experienced been neglected for years, Brandon claims. “It was adequately taken care of and cleaned, but practically nothing had definitely been up to date.”

Reveals A by Ouch: “The kitchen area was laid out with a breakfast nook,” he suggests. “There was this terrible blue Formica on the countertops and a bizarre pantry. It had two doorways and was pretty segmented. The kitchen had a small peninsula that jutted out with a major cabinet that, if you weren’t paying consideration to, you’d bash your head on.”

That was not Ayer’s development. “This was a mid-’90s or late-’80s up to date kitchen,” states inside designer Krissy Peterson, of K. Peterson Structure. “You could convey to they attempted to maintain it variety of kitschy to go with the times, but it entirely skipped the mark: dark cupboards that did not look to perform nicely, and quite heavy. When you have this superb check out over and above the wall, it just felt shut-in.”

Brandon and Jill started out their modernizing, nearly anything-but-kitschy updates at the tippy-leading of the residence and labored their way down, bringing on Peterson (who went to Seattle Pacific University with Jill) for the total renovation of the confounding kitchen area (Remodeling Authorities LLC was the contractor).

“I heard Jill’s voice loud and crystal clear that she required a light-weight, bright, much more-purposeful place to be able to have additional people circled all around whilst you’re cooking, a additional central kitchen feeling,” she states. “And then I listened to from Brandon, ‘I want good appliances that do the job properly and do enjoyment factors, and far more home to flow into.’ Both equally like to prepare dinner and appreciate entertaining. That was the driving power driving every thing. I also needed to emphasize the awesome see of Puget Sound that had earlier been blocked.”

Nicely, correct off the bat: That head-bashing block of cabinetry disappeared. As did anything out-of-date, uncomfortable or dark. Brandon and Jill’s new kitchen opened up to sunny brightness, to roominess, to that unique see, and to a joyful new century of operation and enjoyment.

A central island (it is a spectacular customized piece of household furniture, not a created-in) anchors white cabinetry gleaming with bronze components, an unlacquered brass faucet — and one spectacularly tactile reminder of Ayer’s operate. “The primary brick that we still left unfinished was type of a delighted incident,” Peterson says. “It’s a chimney that we could not acquire down, and when we eradicated the wall and pushed the wall back again and captured some area in a mudroom driving that space, it was … an amazing little bit of texture to leave and to present the record of the residence, too.”  

While the growth additional only 23 square toes to the kitchen area (from 197 to 220), “It’s adequate of an increase that it seriously modified the full experience,” Peterson claims. “The prior sq. footage was all there, but it was squandered room.”

Absolutely nothing is wasted now, and every little thing is appreciated. “The kitchen has gotten plenty of use and a great deal of time to obtain and provide all people all around, like we required,” Brandon says.

It is just what Peterson desired, also — and rather maybe even the home’s authentic pioneering architect. “It was crucial to me to renovate the kitchen area in a way that made it experience like it was there the entire time,” Peterson states. “I actually preferred to honor the dwelling and its history, and regarded as how Elizabeth Ayer would have up to date the home if she ended up alive nowadays.”