Homes & Design Photo Credit: Broda Photography

Home Tour: A Heritage-Inspired Vancouver Renovation

This bright and welcoming family home takes its design cues from the house’s history.  

Even for the biggest modern-design fan, ignoring the history of a nearly 100-year-old house would be a difficult task. So when interior designer Jenna Josephson was tasked with a complete overhaul of a shingle-style Vancouver home for a young family, it was only natural she turned to the past for some inspiration. “We wanted to honour the age of the house and not do something totally modern,” says Josephson. Though the home was gutted, the resulting renovation celebrates the original heritage design through thoughtful details and warm finishes. “We wanted to go back to that Victorian character.”

With the help of Novamax Construction and RSA Kitchens, Josephson pulled together a historic look that’s still thoroughly fresh. The black-and-white colour palette of the 2,850-square-foot home is accented throughout with brushed brass details, from the cabinet pulls to the light fixtures; green details (a velvet sofa, built-in dining room cabinetry painted mint) are peppered throughout to keep the vibe from being too stark. And at the centre of it all: a brick chimney that runs  right up into the kitchen, acting as the perfect centrepiece to bring in that old-world character.


The heart of the fireplace was original to the home, though Josephson brings  the wrought-iron piece into the 21st century by surrounding it with cool black-and-white Fifa tiles from Ace Premium Stone and Tile, and black marble.


Wide-plank oak flooring is a modern adaptation of more traditional flooring. An industrial Jonathan Adler chandelier hangs above the rustic dining room table.


These over-sized barn doors were custom made by Interior Groove; when they’re closed, the planks of wood create a diamond pattern.


“We wanted a pop of colour and we really liked the idea of having a dark green velvet couch,” says Josephson. “The homeowners like to be bold and make a statement.” A custom Van Gogh Designs sofa was the perfect fit.


A Schoolhouse Electric pendant light brightens up dish-duty in the kitchen.


A Julien farmhouse sink and Aquabrass faucet are the stars of the kitchen.


The kitchen is a bit of an optical illusion: because the staircase runs behind the cabinets, there isn’t a lot of depth to work with. “We cheated visually by putting in a floor-to-ceiling pantry, but the cabinets are only 12 inches deep most of the way,” says Josephson. She painted the lower cabinets a dark charcoal and the uppers white. “We didn’t want it to feel like a hallway, so keeping the uppers light helped make it more bright and airy,” says the designer. “And the darker colour makes them a little bit lower maintenance…a little more kid-friendly!”


Because the powder room next door was already rocking the statement wallpaper, Josephson felt that more wallpaper wasn’t the way to go in the home office (“Plus, it would be a little distracting for a working space,” she says.) Instead, she installed a grid of moulding and painted it grey-blue.


The powder room pops with pattern thanks to a bold Ellie Cashman floral wallpaper; a Cedar and Moss light fixture illuminates the space.


The railings were one of the few original elements of the home that made it through the reno.


One of the big challenges of this project was making sure all the brass matched. “We used so many brands, between the faucets and lights,” says Joesphson. “If you’re going to try to do that, you really have to go the extra mile and order a sample for everything.”

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