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Old meets new, older West Vancouver home gets a modern update

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Old meets new, older West Vancouver home gets a modern update

Photography by Colin Perry

When a young professional couple called upon designer Negar Reihani, principal of Vancouver-based design firm Space Harmony, to update their home, they had a tall order: They wanted a more functional space for their growing family, a home that was both welcoming and comfortable yet also made a visual statement with design choices that honoured their 30-year-old home.

Reihani was up to the task. She combined farmhouse character and west coast casual in a gorgeous, open-plan living area that’s perfect for the modern family.

Lifestyle needs

The couple moved from Port Moody and purchased the West Vancouver home to raise their young family. With both parents working full time and travelling extensively, they needed a designer who could understand their needs and create a family home that not only stayed true to its character, but was better suited to their busy lifestyle.

The pros

“The house had a great size and flow, beautiful high ceilings and an abundance of natural light. We altered the space planning a little to meet the needs of today’s busy family life and reinvented the interiors with a modern farmhouse style that would work perfectly with the existing features of the house,” says Reihani. “The goal was to create a home that could accommodate the needs of the growing family but that would also be unique enough to be desirable on the real estate market, if the need arose.”

Spacious & stunning 360 views

Nestled in the picturesque West Vancouver neighbourhood of Caulfeild, the sprawling 5,000-square-foot semi-rancher boasts stunning views of the mountains and lush pine trees on one side and the ocean on the other, while being just a five-to 10-minute drive to Caulfeild village. Although not a full two-storey, the home has five bedrooms and four and a half bathrooms, and benefits from most of the rooms being on the main floor, including the master bedroom and the office, while the other three bedrooms are located upstairs.

Design language

“My job is to choose elements the homeowners like and incorporate them into the space seamlessly, so that their tastes are reflected and blended perfectly within the design scheme. The influence of a modern farmhouse was in their pictures. For example, they liked black accents, light-wood floors and shiplap boards on the ceiling,” says Reihani.

Breaking down barriers

“The first challenge was to transform the small and dated kitchen into an elegant and functional space that meets the needs of a busy family who do lots of cooking, baking and entertaining,” says Reihani.

To create more space, the wall separating the kitchen from the rest of the house was partially opened and the dining area was moved from inside the kitchen to its new location beside it. This allowed Reihani to extend the kitchen and move the cooking station closer to the windows, where messes could be kept hidden and unwanted smells could be swiftly exhausted through the double windows and the large range hood.

Storage optimization

The couple asked for as much storage as possible since their previous kitchen was small, so a variety of storage options were provided throughout the kitchen to accommodate different needs and to provide a visual balance. For example, small appliances are cleverly housed inside a cabinet with pull-out shelves so they can be used in situ. To provide a sleek, seamless look to the kitchen, the refrigerator was panelled to match the cabinet while the pantries on either side feature decorative glass panels, adding sparkle and lightness to the space.

Go big

An extra-large island in the kitchen overlooks the dining room and provides an ideal prep area, while leaving plenty of space for daily comings and goings. The Calacatta Vagli marble island features soft cream, grey and gold veining that adds an understated elegance to the space. Measuring 11 feet complete with drawers, the natural- stone island is specially sealed to protect it, making it the perfect area for food-prepping and entertaining.

Facing the family room from the kitchen, there’s another storage cabinet with a white quartz countertop and black Kohler faucet. This smart-looking setup offers a natural, informal hub for chatting or watching TV while working in the kitchen. A white subway tile backsplash (from Creekside Tile) keeps the space fresh and fun, imparting a casual, timeless quality.

Elevated farmhouse

With the new open layout, double-high ceilings and abundance of natural light, Reihani wanted to add something special and different when it came to creating the elegant kitchen finish. In keeping with the modern farmhouse style, she chose a black finish for the kitchen, which creates a bold, unexpected statement. Black Magic paint on the cabinets anchors the space, while brushed gold accents, such as the island pendant lights (from Restoration Hardware), add warmth and connect the light oak floors throughout.

“The black and gold combination has a traditional vibe, yet the gold accents add an element of luxury,” says Reihani. “I think black and gold is a beautiful and timeless combination. To me it has an old-world feel.”

While the accents reference the past, the black-and-white contrast cements this stylish kitchen entirely in the present, with features and functionality that make it perfect for family living today.

“Everything really turned the space into a nice, well-functioning kitchen,” says Reihani. “Renovation is a daunting task so it’s important to have the right team by your side who knows their craft; the success of this project is the result of close communication with the clients and their full trust and commitment to the design.”

Catalina Margulis is a writer for The Globe and Mail, Flare and Elle Canada, among others, she has covered everything from fashion, beauty and travel to health, food, decor, business and parenting. When she’s not working on her latest assignment, she’s chasing after her four young children and writing her first novel.

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