A House For Entertaining
A bespoke home on Vancouver’s best street has an envy-inducing patio that’s the perfect setting for throwing a summer wine tasting.
Every summer, rain or shine, the rooftop deck of this Vancouver home plays host to 50 or so friends and family. It’s an annual gathering to watch the Celebration of Light fireworks—guests wander from the top deck, the prime viewing area, down to the living room below (with its floor-to-ceiling windows, not a bad viewing spot itself), where homeowner Scott might be prepping a few snacks and pulling another bottle from the wine rack. His work takes him around the world, but when he’s home, he’s hosting friends, whether for said fireworks or for a more subdued wine-tasting party, like the one we captured on these pages.
It’s just these kinds of nights that Scott envisioned when he got together with architect Howard Airey to design his home. As he sat around brainstorming ideas for the new space with Airey and a close friend, the rooftop deck quickly rose to the top of his priorities—it would just require a rethink of the design. “Howard said, are you comfortable flipping the living arrangements around,” says Scott, “so you’re not popping through the bedroom to get upstairs?” Airey laid out a plan where the living room and kitchen would be on the upper level, while the bedrooms and den would be downstairs. Thus, the house for entertaining was born.
Scott, a bachelor who frequently travels for work, wanted to create a home inspired by the London row houses and New York brownstones that he’d seen on his travels. Authentic weathered bricks were sourced by Adera Stone from a decommissioned chocolate factory in Pennsylvania—and then only those bricks that had been on the exterior of the factory were chosen, ensuring a uniform finish. Alanna Johnston from Living Environments was tasked with bringing the row house concept through to the interiors: her design became a London-West Coast fusion, pairing brick-faced walls with fir beams on the ceiling, and sleek built-ins with decorative archways.
The hand-casted, faux-concrete wall in the living room creates an industrial-meets-warm-modernism aesthetic in the space. The space is designed to be the music room when people get together; a grand piano sits in one corner, while custom millwork houses his guitar collection. Classic modern furnishings are naturally quiet enough to not detract from the ocean view outside.
The kitchen has become the hub of the main floor: “It’s inspired by Earls,” laughs Scott. “I wanted a fireplace, a television and a long bench of seating along the island.” He’s an avid cook himself, so this wouldn’t be a typical bachelor’s design that’s more likely to store off-season clothes than kitchen gadgets. A 60-inch range is the workhorse of the kitchen, and an industrial refrigerator holds enough to feed any late-night gatherers. A slab of end-grain walnut butcher block at one end of the counter provides a safe landing spot for chopping and glasses of wine, while white marble counters offer a timeless, European-inspired character.
Up on the roof, an outdoor kitchen—complete with a barbecue, refrigerator, sink and the all-important icemaker—saves Scott from traipsing up and down the stairs once the party’s on, and a fireplace paired with Royal Botania sectionals and blankets extends the season well into the fall.
It’s a home that’s in perfect keeping with Scott’s vision: low-maintenance landscaping that can handle his frequent travel, and a welcoming space that’s ready for friends to come over once he’s home. His happiness with the design is one of the benefits of being single, he laughs. “Everyone told me that building a house was a very stressful thing. But that was because of the decisions that had to be made and compromised on between spouses,” he says. “As a single guy I didn’t have that—it was a fun experience.”