Drawn to the historic charm of First Shaughnessy’s well-heeled neighbourhood, our clients wanted to develop a custom home of their own that would blend into the district’s heritage character, yet embody its own distinct identity and personality. This project called for the demolition of a modest 1950s or 60s aging bungalow to be replaced by a grand craftsman style house, compliant with the new heritage preservation guidelines detailed in the First Shaughnessy District Historic Style Manual introduced by the City of Vancouver in 2015.
After several client consultations and detailed research into the area, a strong design rationale evolved. The plan addressed the District’s urban design guidelines; a document inspired by the early 20th century “Garden City Movement” that advocated the formation of planned self-contained communities surrounded by greenbelts containing proportionate areas of residences, gardens and industry. In addition, the guidelines underscored the need to retain heritage elements and materials common to homes in the area.
For Peter Rose Architecture + Interiors Inc. these guidelines reflected a unique understanding of humanity’s relationship to nature, an Edenic narrative that clearly expressed the intimate and joyful relationship between man and his environment. This meant a special marriage between the house and its site; a place where each had a voice capable of influencing the other … a place where the boundaries between house and garden could dissolve, and a melding of both worlds might occur.
The front elevation is an impressive façade that acknowledges a powerful presence and yet sits still behind a veil of layered and well placed landscaping. A red maple welcomes and embraces those at the entry gate. Its red leaf canopy a shelter and filter to the world beyond; a foreshadowing of the eyebrow dormer and red entry door just beyond.
Working closely with a landscape architect, the Eden inspired design slowly revealed itself. Upon combined discovery and sensitivity to the heavily vegetated site, the home’s interior space and outlook was expanded with the introduction of a elegant garden deck that flows directly into the grand living area. The two spaces are connected through a series of wide diagonally oriented glass windows and doors, effectively removing the boundaries between the interior rooms and the lush outdoors.
All in all, the design has resulted in an expression of wholeness, or holiness if you will, embodied in this luxurious custom home based on the Eden narrative. Paradise found in First Shaughnessy.