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Editors’ Picks: Our Favourite Homes for 2017

We love all the homes we feature in the pages of Western Living, of course—but reflecting back on the past year, it’s clear we’ve all got our own favourites.

(Photo: John Adrian.)

Ian MacDonald’s Second Jaw-Dropping Architecture Project

Several years back, I was in the Okaganan, visiting wineries for work and in between appointments, I was killing time just driving along the Naramata Bench, looking for houses that we might be able to feature in our then inaugural Okanagan issue. And that’s when I saw “Flying Leap.” It was a dramatically modern house, in an equally dramatic location overlooking Okanagan Lake, and the team here loved it so much we put it on the cover. Since that time, I’ve gotten to know the home’s owner, Ian MacDonald, a little better thanks to following the great success of his winery, Liquidity—and when he decided to build a cantilevered 480 square-foot studio space adjacent to the main house, everyone here was again excited. It’s just a building that sums up all that’s great about the Okanagan: it’s daring, it’s ambitious and it combines art and technology in a truly beautiful way. And it made for one of our most dramatic covers all year.–Neal McLennan, travel editor

(Photo: Janis Nicolay.)

Vanessa Stark and Misha Olynyk’s Mount Pleasant Condo

I love the white-on-white look that designers Vanessa Stark and Misha Olynyk embraced throughout the majority of their condo, but its their dark and intimate dining area that really put this space at the top of my inspiration list this year. It’s so easy to look at the photos in this story (published in the Spring issue of Western Living Condo) and imagine a cozy, unpretentious dinner party with friends—and with a coat of charcoal paint and a few artfully mismatched chairs, it won’t be too hard to take this look from magazine dream to my real life dining room in the new year. —Stacey McLachlan, executive editor

(Photo: Ema Peter.)

The Architect’s Loft

I may not be one to embrace colour (friends and coworkers often comment on my large collection of grey sweaters), but I’m a sucker for lofts, so this condo in the Arthur Erickson-designed Waterfall building—given new life by the team at Sturgess Architecture—has got my vote. There’s just something about transforming awkward, compact spaces into functional rooms that I can’t get enough of. And that gorgeous concrete staircase? Love at first sight.—Kaitlyn Funk, online editor

(Photo: Ema Peter.)

Modern-Meets-Cozy Bowen Island Retreat

For me, “home” is in the warmth and texture created by blending natural materials—bright light, cozy wood, natural stone—and ample windows to bring the outside in. And “life” is best spent slightly tucked away from the hub of a big city. This Bowen Island home by Frits de Vries Architect excels in all of this. I can picture myself, a few friends and my dog enjoying the coastal view from beside the backyard firepit with ease… almost too easily. Did you see the view from the kitchen?!—Natalie Gagnon, associate art director

(Photo: Ema Peter.)

Battersby Howat’s Ultra Modern Vancouver Project

My pick is this Battersby Howat home that we featured in the March 2017 issue. I love the mix of concrete and steel and warm wood. The built-in shelves are incredibly beautiful. Massive windows, modern architecture combined with a mid-century modern feel: I’ll take two! —Jenny Reed, associate art director

(Photo: Tracey Ayton.)

Inside Kate Horsman’s Gorgeous Railtown Condo

I often wonder if people in Vancouver are more obsessed with natural light because of how little we get of it year-round. “The light” is exactly what first enraptured Vancouverite Kate Horsman when she toured this Railtown condo (before buying it immediately afterwards), and it’s captured my heart, too. I interviewed her earlier this year and learned about how she turned the then Tuscan-yellow condo (complete with Italian-style arches and secret-compartment bookshelves) into a California-cool dream home that married hides, antlers and skulls with beachy shells and Tofino driftwood. The patio is bigger than most two-bedroom apartments and floor-to-ceiling windows wrap around the living room, office and dining spaces, so the whole place is awash with that calming grey-day filtered light. She’s created a space that makes me want to curl up with a good book, finally start writing that novel and do still-life sketches with the Burrard Inlet as my backdrop.—Julia Dilworth, associate editor 

What was your favourite home we ran this year? Explore the archives and let us know in the comments!

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