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In The Vancouver Sun

Architect finds full potential in standard city lot

Three homes allow occupants to stay connected, but to maintain their privacy
by Jane Vorbrodt
ian wes copy

photo of Ian and Wes by Jane Vorbrodt

When architect Ian McLean designed his house in East Vancouver, the idea was to build a home for his four-year-old daughter — and to surround her with the most important people in her life.

“We jokingly call our home ‘Erindale’ because, basically, the whole house is built for our daughter Erin,” McLean says.

McLean needed a plan that would accommodate not only himself and his partner, but also his parents, who provide on-site daycare, and his former partner Avelle Leason, Erin’s other dad. This meant three separate units would be required.

McLean had worked on dozens of house and renovation projects in Vancouver, so explored the options by tapping into his familiarity with local zoning.

McLean created a home with two side-by-side units, a main suite for himself, Erin and partner Wesley, and a vertically oriented secondary suite for his parents. The third unit on the property is a laneway residence that’s home to Leason.

See the full story here:

The Vancouver Sun, Westcoast Homes, May 7, 2015:  Architect finds full potential in standard city lot

(McLean has his own firm, Ian McLean Architect, which specializes in residential design.)

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In The Vancouver Sun

Home ripples with energy

Principles of feng shui incorporated into the design of Burnaby house
by Jane Vorbrodt
4 imu

photo of Imu Chan of FSOARK by Jane Vorbrodt

Yuen Huang always knew he wanted to build his own home — a space to be enjoyed with wife Jia, three-year-old son Yii and his parents.

Such a home would also be a legacy to pass on to future generations.

Huang selected a site on a hilly area above Brentwood Mall in Burnaby, a quiet neighbourhood where his family had settled after arriving in Canada from Taiwan in 1978. The newly completed home now fits in easily with its neighbours — mainly well-maintained two-storey mid-century houses on wide lots — but it’s far from typical.

Painted a warm grey, it has a low metal roofline running horizontally across its face, a modern nod to traditional Asian architecture.

“When we were designing this house, we could have built a humongous big-box square with three floors,” Huang says. “But I said, don’t try to be the biggest and the baddest. You have to show some respect to the neighbourhood. Blend in, with class and quality.”

It’s clear from the outset that this is no ordinary home.

See the full story here:

The Vancouver Sun, Westcoast Homes, March 6, 2015:  Modern home uses feng shui influences in design

(Project designed by Imu Chan, principal and director of FSOARK, a Vancouver-based architecture firm.)

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In The Vancouver Sun

Family maximizes their 900 square feet

Woodworking couple micro-customize their east-end Vancouver home
by Jane Vorbrodt
blackboard

family organization station at the Watt house (photo by Jane Vorbrodt)

Over the past six years, Phil and Rebecca Watt have been transforming a once-neglected east-side Vancouver house into a cosy and well organized home through the integration of creative storage and living solutions.

The Watts share their 900-square-foot space with their sons — aged four and eight — and an international student.

“It’s a shame when people rip everything out, unnecessarily, not picking and choosing what is good,” Rebecca says. “I like to work with what is existing, to be thoughtful about it, to make it work.”

It’s easy for Rebecca to see the potential in a building. After all, before the couple chose their house, they had already renovated several other homes, condos and kitchens.

For them, this one was perfect: it had good bones and required little adjustment in terms of layout. Most of the work to be done was cosmetic.

It doesn’t hurt that both Rebecca and Phil are woodworkers.

See the full story here:

The Vancouver Sun, Westcoast Homes, February 6, 2015:  Family maximizes their 900 square feet

(The couple runs a busy woodworking and joinery business called Phil and Rebecca Watt.)

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In The Vancouver Sun

Shaughnessy home small in area, big on style

International influences informed design of split-level laneway house
by Jane Vorbrodt
exterior john.

photo of John O’Regan by Jane Vorbrodt

Tucked behind their 3,000-square-foot Shaughnessy heritage home, brothers and builders John and David O’Regan created a tiny house for their recently retired parents.

With some constraints — including a new garage on the site — they came up with a home measuring 585 square feet. What makes the residence feel more spacious, however, is its split-level layout.

“We spent a lot of time at city hall,” John says. “With all of the bylaws and regulations for laneway houses, the resulting floor plan was limited …

“We went with the split level to take advantage of the slope.”

When you walk in, you can see how the split level works. The main living area comprises a living room, dining area and kitchen. At the end of this space, a small flight of stairs leads to a bedroom. Almost like a tree house, it’s small but cosy, with enough space for a queen-sized bed and a bit of storage.

See the full story here:

The Vancouver Sun, Westcoast Homes, January 9, 2015:  Shaughnessy home small in area, big on style