“It has always been my dream to renovate a ’50s rancher,” says Patti Houston, owner of the home staging companyFlüff Designs and Decor. Houston and her husband, developer Rick Williams, made it their mission over a year to totally transform their Vancouver home — marked by light green carpet, brown linoleum and worn wallpaper — right into a modern oasis.
The home “is really on a slope-away lot with a killer view. It had good bones but wanted plenty of lipstick and rouge,” says Houston. “When we began peeling off the first layer, we decided to go full tilt and took it right down to the studs.”
in a Glance
Who lives here: Patti Houston, Rick Williams and their youngest daughter, Jordan (age 21)
Location: North Vancouver
Size: 3,600square feet; 1 bedroom, 3 bathrooms, 2 offices, plus an 800-square-foot 1-bedroom apartment
Year constructed: 1954
The kitchen is the area the couple worked on. “We eliminated all the walls between the kitchen, dining and living spaces to create an entirely open space,” says Houston. “I love to cook, and that’s where all of us hang out.”
The couple sought aid from Curt Olbrecht, a cabinet contractor, who installed their new teak cabinetry.
Bar Condominiums: Glenn, Ikea
The kitchen initially had dated cabinetry and wallpaper. This distance was revamped by the couple and added a fresh island.
AFTER: Folding windows by NanaWall connect the indoor and outdoor entertaining areas. “Hands down, our favorite quality of the home is the opinion and our connection to the outdoor spaces,” says Houston. “We installed windows and walls which will be wholly opened in the summer. It actually suits our lifestyle.”
Houston and Williams added a 10-foot-long island and a second breakfast bar behind the cooker. “Guests can talk to me while I cook. I call it my risotto bar,” says Houston.
Refrigerator, dishwasher: LG; range: six-burner Viking. All from Trail Appliances.
The couple added sliding doorways to create an intimate dining area. “I wished to have the ability to close off the hallway from the primary living area, and there definitely was not space for hinged doors,” explains Houston.
The dining table bases are concrete gate posts with a terrace block on top. “There was a business in Vancouver several years back that made incredible concrete and glass tables, but they were very expensive,” says Houston. “This was an efficient means to get the look for less. The dining table has proceeded with me many times.”
Dining chairs: custom, Flüff
As a result of significant structural changes, the first pair of smaller decks couldn’t support the couple’s need to enlarge their outdoor living spaces and create a whirlpool bathtub. The homeowners worked with Bob Turner, an architect and engineer, who redesigned the deck space, taking support and construction .
The glass roof above the outdoor dining area necessitated large beams running the whole span of the home. The treated fir timbers were manufactured in Squamish, British Columbia, by FraserWood Industries. The deck surface , trading timber was altered by the owners to get a low-maintenance merchandise from Eon Outdoors.
Lush surroundings add a feeling of solitude, while the soothing sounds of a backyard flow contribute to the ambiance.
This is the amazing west-facing view from the wraparound deck. Poking out through the treetops and outside is Vancouver Island. “It is so private and serene,” says Houston.
The busy homeowners enjoy living near nature, with hiking and biking trails in their doorstep. “Plus it is so fast to reach our place at Whistler,” adds Houston.
A heated pergola offers protection from the elements and allows for year-round outdoor living and entertaining. The area is opened until by the doors at the backdrop.
“I love clean lines, feel, and never compromise comfort,” says Houston. She and Williams made over the living area with a white accent wall, with tiles from Ican Ceramic.
Fireplace add: Maxwell; vase: 18Karat; area rug: HomeSense; artwork: Snap Gallery (now closed); couch, sofa seats: custom, Van Gogh Designs
The entryway and pale green carpet, wallpaper and a metal banister initially had dated.
AFTER: The couple replaced the wallpaper with crisp, pale grey paint. The railing was updated with satin nickel hardware and glass, while the green carpet was swapped out to get walnut hardwood.
The fir entry door comes from Jim’s Pre-Hung Doors; the firm installed all the doorways in the home. “I love the horizontal lines along with the stainless inset,” says Houston. “It is simplicity at its best.”
Her favorite part of art is that this serene Michael Levin picture hanging in the stairwell. “He’s brilliant. This really is a limited-edition print on aluminum; it is called ‘Zebrato,'” says Houston. “He won International Photographer of the Year for this image.”
The first main-floor toilet had an awkward floor plan and tired floral wallpaper illuminated by cold, institutional lighting.
AFTER: The couple included a large picture window with a view to a rock garden and a Buddha statue. Because of its weight, the rock had to be installed using a crane.
All the windows in the home are commercial-grade storefront windows. “I desired them to go to the floor, be aluminum and have a feeling of being connected to the outside,” Houston says. The bathroom floor tile is honed limestone from Ames Tile & Stone; all the tile floors in the home are heated.
Building codes have changed over the years, so shifting the staircase to the lower level proved tricky. The minimal headroom requirements have increased since the 1950s, and meeting those was a bit challenging. Houston explains, “We stole space from the entry closet — it now has a raised floor — and out of the main-floor toilet, which has a floating spout instead of a vanity.” The lower level comprises a one-bedroom suite, plus an office area for Williams and an additional bathroom.
Houston made the custom millwork underneath the staircase, and builder Eamonn Hindson constructed it. “It is just half the thickness of the staircase,” she says. “The other half is storage obtained from the downstairs suite for a snowboard or other similar things.”
The couple modified the original floor plan. What was two bedrooms is now the couple’s extra-large master bedroom with a walk-in cupboard, an en suite bath and a laundry area.
Headboard: Baronet Furniture (now closed); nightstand: Huppé Furniture; lamps: HomeSense; bedding, cushions: custom by Bandit Decor
The master bath was initially a bedroom that is bigger. The Zen garden found from the primary bathroom is also visible from here. Frosted glass panels allow light to filter in, providing privacy.
Art: Shane Edwards; sinks: undermount, Kohler; faucets: Hansgrohe, Emco; dressing table: custom by Eamonn Hindson
The living room had an uncluttered fireplace. Houston and Williams eliminated the traditional brick surround and installed a modern gas add (with centered placement) in its stead.
AFTER: Now a sophisticated neutral palette enhances the distance. Houston addedgray wool carpeting, decorating the space inspired by London interior designer Kelly Hoppen.
The couple replaced with the old windows with aluminum ones. The sofa is a queen-size sofa bed, allowing this space.
This artwork in the family room was a collaborative effort by Eben Bender, an airbrush artist, and Neal E. Nolan, an installation artist. “There was an amazing gallery in Vancouver called Snap — now closed — owned by Barry Dumka. He represented interesting artists,” says Houston.
Desk: Nood (now closed); seat: oil, Tobias, Ikea
Houston’s home office was a darkened area with walls. The paneling came down, alongside the doors of the closet. The cupboard now stores electronic equipment and office equipment, while fresh sliding sandblasted-glass barn doors conceal the clutter when the space is employed as a guest space. The couch bolsters come off, which makes this a perfect bed for an overnight guest.
Vases: 18Karat; side table: Gus Design Group; couch: Flüff
The daisy artwork in the office is a photo Houston shot and published on canvas.
Williams and Houston, shown here, waited before the home was complete before going in. “After searching for over a year, we finally found The One. We have never regretted it for an instant,” says Houston. “This was the ideal project. We’re just enjoying it now.”
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