Yew House is situated on a small corner lot in Kitsilano, one of Vancouver’s original working class neighbourhoods. Originally built in 1910, the house has undergone a patchwork of renovations with most of its land being sold off to accommodate a neighbouring development in the 1970’s. Due to the sale of this land it is now impossible to build a new house of the same size on the lot. Following these zoning restrictions, the plan existing house was upgraded by gutting it down to the studs, re-insulating and seismically upgrading the timber shell.

Having raised their family in this walkable neighbourhood the owners wanted to find a way to create a home to suit their recent transition to semi-retired empty nesters through to retirement, and aging in place. The response became to create a bright modern open plan loft style living area with an unobtrusive and private guest area for visiting children and friends. The previous attic den was converted into a master bedroom and ensuite loft with hidden storage while the ground floor bedrooms are now a self-sufficient guest area connected to the main living space through a concealed door in the kitchen millwork. The main floor was designed to be re-configured for one level living by anticipating the eventual conversion of the TV room and powder room into a master bedroom once stairs become a daily hinderance.

Finishes were kept hardwearing and timeless throughout. The floors, including the stairs, are European White Oak. The millwork is a combination of Oak and Baltic Birch. During the demolition, an original fire place was discovered hidden behind drywall. It was restored and helps to define the dining and living areas.

Designed with Campos Studio.
Photography by Conrad Brown.