RSAAW thoroughly renovated the interior of a tired, inefficient house with good bones to a contemporary home in vancouver, canada that adapts to perform to superior efficiency levels and to accommodate future generations of family life. in a market trending towards disposable fixtures and finishes, where demolishing to make way for the latest trends has become common, the designers’ renovation ensured the home stayed rooted to its origin.
images by ema peter
light wood floors, new drywall, and a fresh coat of white paint give the house a luminous quality
RSAAW was able to achieve the clients’ wish of preserving and enhancing the californian-style atmosphere of their two-level home while adapting to the reality of the canadian climate. the designer accomplished the task by completely replacing the entire interior building envelope, installing triple glazing throughout, and replacing the forced air system with energy-efficient underfloor heating.
the two main floors are opened up by a new atrium space anchored by a monumental double height library
before the renovation the two main floors were separated, with the entire lower level serving as a mortgage helper suite and family spaces somewhat cloistered, with minimal natural light entering key areas. the renovation opened up the entire home, connecting both levels via a central atrium space anchored by a monumental double-height library and topped by multiple skylights strategically located to filter in as much light as possible in all seasons.
an opening placed high on the wall allows the kids to peek down from the attic playroom
RSAAW augmented the sense of space further by vaulting ceilings throughout the main floor and adding oversized glazing to allow for views of the north vancouver greenery in the garden and beyond, filling the home with light even on overcast days. they improved circulation on the lower level by repurposing the former mechanical room to create a hallway lined with discreet storage for all the family’s bits and pieces. this almost secret corridor sits in a counterpoint to the public face of the atrium, where the family’s love of art, books, and found objects can be showcased.
a post-and-beam mid-century home renovated to adapt to the reality of the canadian climate
furthermore, the designers were able to regain the floor space lost when opening up the atrium, by creating a children’s paradise in a previously inaccessible attic space. the playful stripes of color in the attic are echoed in the paneling at the entry and in the garden treehouse interior. these tonal explorations, along with the warmth of the custom millwork throughout the home, bring a punch of energy into the home’s otherwise gallery-like monochromatic interior and exterior.
vaulted ceilings throughout the main floor and the addition of oversized glazing allow for views of the north vancouver greenery
RSAAW installed resilient tile flooring downstairs allowing the family to enter the home worry-free after outdoor activities and amplified the sense of light and space upstairs with the threshold-free light oak flooring and sculpted shadow-line walls. a few years before undertaking the interior renovation, the family asked RSAAW to design a garden playhouse for their children. the treehouse’s slender “stem” is threaded so it can grow vertically with the tree and a custom ring hugs the trunk without damaging the majestic douglas fir. the treehouse became a playful design experiment that now fits perfectly with the home’s aesthetic while respecting the environment it sits in.
the previously inaccessible attic space becomes a children’s playroom with peek-a-boo window
former mechanical room becomes hallway lined with discreet storage, improving circulation on the lower level
main bedroom’s exterior features playful colored paneling, which is also reflected in the attic playroom and the interior of the garden treehouse
multiple skylights are strategically located to filter in as much light as possible in all seasons
the treehouse became a playful design experiment that fully echoes the home’s aesthetic while respecting the environment it sits in
name: berkley house
design firm: RSAAW
design team: rafael santa ana, antonio colin, marina rosa, ondřej čáp, larissa llevadot, livia da costa, licia freire, adriana indig, cidinha ranzenberger
location: north vancouver BC, canada
area: 260 sqm (2800 sqft)
photography: ema peter
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edited by: yasmina karam | designboom