May 27, 2024
West Van home showcases sense of flow designed to have staying power

The result is a residence with enduring style and design—truly, a ‘forever home.’

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When a couple decided to build their “forever home” in West Vancouver, they enlisted the help of an interior designer they’ve known, well, forever.

“The clients are friends of mine from university, so we go way back,” says Trish Knight, partner at Vancouver-based Knight Varga Interiors.

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The couple had purchased a piece of land on a hillside in West Vancouver with a view of the water and an early ’60s rancher that was beyond repair.

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But in 2019, Knight and her team were able to walk through the residence to get a sense of how natural light and the landscape could be optimized for their future project. “We looked at the sight lines and the views from where it was situated on the lot and started to think about what kind of house we wanted to build,” the designer explains.

A minimalist palette of black, white and oak with steel accents creates a modern and peaceful ambience.
A minimalist palette of black, white and oak with steel accents creates a modern and peaceful ambience. Photo by Janis Nicolay Photography

In consultation with the clients, Knight and business partner Nicole Varga and architect Mason Kent got to work drawing up the plans for what would become a 6,200-square-foot, three-storey home with four bedrooms upstairs and a guest bedroom on the bottom level.

The goal was to create a home where the clients—a couple with three kids—could relax, work, entertain and play, now, and decades from now. “We wanted the style and the materials to really stand the test of time. Their kids are teenagers and they ultimately want to bring their partners, as well as their children, back to the house,” Knight says.

Black accents create anchor points in the principal bathroom.
Black accents create anchor points in the principal bathroom. Photo by Janis Nicolay Photography
The goal was to create a home where the clients—a couple with three kids—could relax, work, entertain and play, now, and decades from now.
The goal was to create a home where the clients—a couple with three kids—could relax, work, entertain and play, now, and decades from now. Photo by Janis Nicolay Photography

In terms of esthetics, the team from Knight Varga Interiors leaned to a warm West Coast modern look that would be as relevant today as it would be tomorrow. To achieve this, the team used wide-plank European white oak hardwood floor in most rooms, which “is more neutral and greyed out” than North American white oak. In the powder room, lounge and office on the main floor, they installed Dekton, a large-format slab material. “The homeowner wanted to have her dogs hang out with her in the lounge area on a regular basis, so we thought a more durable floor underfoot was important,” Knight explains.

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To create a sense of continuity throughout, the team chose a repetition of materials inside and outside in different cuts and textures. The wood panelling in the kitchen and some of the bathrooms and the wall detailing in many rooms complements the colour of the flooring. “Being a large open-concept home, we wanted to bring in more texture and tone, rather than switching up the materials and using a bunch of different colours. We wanted it all to flow and feel very serene and very calming,” Knight says.

A white steel staircase in the foyer is as beautiful as it is functional.
A white steel staircase in the foyer is as beautiful as it is functional. Photo by Janis Nicolay Photography

A minimalist palette of black, white and oak with steel accents creates a modern and peaceful ambience. The steel stairs were built off site and brought in in pieces by a crane, welded and finished on site, then painted the same white as the walls. “They’re a statement because of the style, but it’s quiet,” the designer says. Black arches in areas such as the dining room create definition without closing off the view.

The natural wood theme continues outside in the covered patio areas, where soffits were used in the same wood as inside. Outside, there’s a pool, hot tub and a landscaped patio area where the clients can entertain much of the year.

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Inside, a large home gym, a media room and ample storage space accommodate the active family, and durable materials in the kitchen are designed to withstand the wear and tear of the family’s many chefs. A dog run alongside the house allows the owners to see their two dogs from inside.

Contemporary furnishings and a modern fireplace create a sense of calm in the living room.
Contemporary furnishings and a modern fireplace create a sense of calm in the living room. Photo by Janis Nicolay Photography

Convenience and ease of living were also a priority for the family, so Knight Varga Interiors’ team ensured the house was fitted with high-tech features such as a whole-house control system, including iPads on the wall to control lighting, security and blinds.

Sustainability is also always top of mind for Knight Varga Interiors, whose team makes it a habit to check that their suppliers use FSC-certified wood and are carbon-neutral in their shipping and production processes.

“When people build a forever home, longevity is step one,” Knight says. That meant selecting the highest quality materials, appliances and furniture, from brands such as Miele, Fulgor Milano and Inform Interiors. “The [furniture] is all pieces you’d reupholster, reinvent or refinish, and never throw away,” says Knight.

Like many projects that happened during the pandemic, the biggest challenges the team faced related to timeline issues. Fortunately, the clients were able to stay in their existing home while they contended with material delays. But when you’re building a home as beautiful as this one, it’s well worth the wait.

Architect: Mason Kent

Builder: Trillium Homes

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