Renovating, Reconfiguring and Re-Designing Boxy Vancouver Specials
In hot rod terms, this Vancouver Special in a quiet East Vancouver neighborhood is a real sleeper. Outwardly just another stucco and brick-faced home built in the early 70s with ground-level entrance, low pitched roof and slim second-floor balcony, yet inside there’s some big turbo hiding under its hood. “It might look like a Chevy but it really goes,” describes Ralph Belisle, President of TQ Construction who undertook the recent interior makeover. “The homeowner’s intention wasn’t to impress people driving by, but rather to create an entertainment space inside that’s all about the wow-factor.” Today when friends come for dinner they certainly swoon over the home’s transformation.
“During the total renovation of our original Vancouver Special, TQ Construction was able to bring the house into the modern day and beyond,” says the enthusiastic homeowner. “They listened to all our needs and wants and have made our vision come true!” Specials offer massive floor area, adaptability and affordability. Vancouver Specials materialized during the building boom between 1965 and 1985 as an inexpensive and easy-to-acquire design plan that maximized the standard Vancouver lot and was easy to build. Families then liked them for the same reason modern families like them today, explains Belisle. The large interior space (about 1300 square feet on each floor) and at-grade basement level is ideal for multi-generational living. TQ Construction recognizes a niche in the renovation of Vancouver Specials, and for Belisle who grew up in a similar home and has been in the construction business for over 30 years, this style provides the opportunity for original homeowners with modest budgets to not only stay in the neighborhood they love, but to create a stunning, contemporary living space.
“Some of our clients choose to stay close to the original floor plan and simply update finishes and fixtures, while others go all out and make them beautiful examples of luxurious modern design by removing walls to create open floor plans, changing out windows and doors and installing the latest energy-efficient appliances and mechanical systems,” says Belisle. The ground-level foyer of this Special was expanded and a glass and metal stair railing now leads upstairs. Originally segmented into several distinct rooms, TQ Construction gutted the space, removed and changed partition walls and swapped the original small back door and window off the eating area with large French doors to create one expansive space with generous portions of natural light.
For a family who loves to cook, TQ explored the functionality of the space and gave the kitchen a whole new pulse. Its U-shape allows two chefs to work their magic while family and friends gather at the L-shaped center-island or take a seat at the eating bar. The contrasting dark and white cabinets look fabulous with their high-tech gloss finish and an abundance of roll-out drawers which makes it easy to access everything. Rather than typical raised window sills, modern sill less windows frame the stove, and ingenious electrical plugs integrated into the island’s countertop. An innovative barn-door conceals the stacking laundry station which is prewired for TV, and incorporates a work station.
Astride TQ’s in-house designer, the homeowners realized their vision for a chic grey-on grey color palette in the living area which takes its cues from the home’s original handsome stone hearth fireplace. Removing the typical Special hallway resulted in an extra 70 square feet. The revitalized design combines two bedrooms into a stunning master retreat with walk-in closet and spa-like ensuite featuring an integrated rain shower with polished concrete and linear floor drain. The main floor bath features playful graffiti-inspired tile and a sumptuous soaker tub. Completing this Vancouver Special reno is the new two-bedroom rental suite with modern finishes and comfortable open floor plan.
By allowing their clients’ unique and sometimes challenging ideas to stretch their creative direction, TQ Construction focuses on what’s at the heart of all their home renovations. It’s about listening and renovating interiors into spaces which speak to their owners. TQ creates lifestyles, one room at a time. Learn more call 604-430-9900.