Small Spaces Photo Credit: Janis Nicolay

The Home Tour: A 1,400-Square-Foot Townhouse With Scandi-Cool Style

How a renovated 1980s townhouse was transformed into a dream home for one young North Vancouver family.

When Chris Hill, managing partner for Ritchie Construction, was looking for more room for his young family of three, he naturally didn’t do things the easy way and move into a ready-made space. Instead, he took on the task of transforming a dated ’80s townhouse on the North Shore into their dream home.

It took almost a full gut to create the open-concept look he wanted for the three-storey, three-bedroom house. In the end, about 500 square feet were left for the living and dining area, but with some smart design choices, Hill made the most out of every inch.

Fresh white walls and rustic wooden touches throughout create a modern-but-warm space. “I call the look ‘Scandinavian industrial,’ laughs Hill. The kitchen cabinetry is from Ikea, but Hill added some high-end touches to elevate the space as a whole, like rugged concrete countertops from Caesarstone and Eastern barn wood panelling on the sides. “We wanted something we didn’t have to clean every five seconds,” says Hill. Ann Sacks tile brings a hit of style to the backsplash.

It’s the lack of upper cabinets that helps this floor feel bigger than its square footage, and lets the natural light in. “The openness of the space is one of my favourite aspects,” says Hill. “We have clear views to the windows, so there’s a little bit of green on display.”

With plenty of pre-planning and materials selected early in the game, the reno came together quickly, but even for an expert contractor like Hill, it was still a tough project. “It was definitely a different labour of love,” says Hill. “My job is to walk throughout the details, so working on your own project definitely causes some late nights.”

Many of the accessories on display come from the Cross Decor and Design.
The Ann Sacks hexagonal tile brings a little bit of pattern into the otherwise neutral space.
A pendant light from BA Robinson hangs above a table passed down from family, sanded and refinished to fit the space.
Furniture was sourced from a variety of places—the sofa from a furniture liquidator, the table from HomeSense and the rocker from CB2. Gus the dog models here.
Hill designed the headboard himself, installing the sconces and building in the lightswitch and USB chargers below the top shelf.
The flooring is hardwood from Monarch Flooring.

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