Adventurous architecture takes on modern multigenerational living in this Arbutus-area home with panoramic views of Haro Strait. Designed by Keith Baker of KB Design and built by Paul Cosgrave of Cosgrave Construction, the dwelling creates two distinct living spaces with the curb appeal of a single residence.
“Four generations of one family have lived on this property,” says Baker, whose design evolved from the footprint of the original house, situated to take the best advantage of the land and views. The grandparents reside in the private suite, while their son lives with his wife and young family in the more expansive side of the home.
“Wherever we could, we repurposed lumber salvaged from the original house for everything from the framework to interior finishes and even custom furniture,” says Cosgrave, who also sourced both suppliers and materials locally as much as possible.
To allow for soaring ceilings and three stories within the height restrictions of the lot, Baker employed a flat-roofed, terraced design with wide sliding doors, corner windows and glass railings for unfettered views. An elevator and stair tower separate the two-storey inlaw suite from the main house, which angles back above the garage for added visual interest, enhanced views, and definition of space within the open floor plan.
Cosgrave created planters, low-maintenance garden beds, illuminated pathways, and extensive concrete landscaping to transition the house into its natural environment. A custom-built entry gate and interlocking brick driveway create beautiful curb appeal, while patios and defined garden areas carve out both private and shared outdoor living spaces.
Corten steel siding on the entryway adds bright rusted patina to the neutral combination of Dryvit stucco and Dizal extruded aluminum siding exterior finishes. To achieve the home’s Built Green Silver certification, Cosgrave and Baker employed Low-E windows, external and internal insulation, and hydronic in-floor heating powered by a natural gas boiler. A heat pump cools the upper floors in summer while a heating, venting and cooling system filters and exchanges interior air with fresh air from outside.
Inside the front entry is the elevator shaft, impressive with its exposed mechanical work visible through glass walls. Symmetrical pocket doors lead into the main house on one side, and the suite on the other.
In the private suite, a gentle palette of soft greys, light-stained oak, and white create a serene space for the oldest generation of the family. To maximize the floor plan with plenty of storage, Cosgrave added built-in cabinetry to the kitchen, living room and bathroom. To flood the suite with natural light, Baker designed floor-to-ceiling windows and skylights above soaring ceilings, plus access to a private garden area and deck above the carport.
In the main house, light oak, wide-plank floors are soft underfoot, while high ceilings span the main living areas along with sliding doors that lead to sweeping terraces.
The kitchen’s all-white design features contrasting indigo blue island cabinetry with natural wood shelving, all topped in white quartz.
Flat front cabinet doors with linear pulls provide a quiet backdrop to the sweeping views, while the contiguous pantry keeps additional appliances and food prep areas accessible, yet out of sight.
The master bedroom connects to the waterfront views with terrace access and is separated from the walk-in closet by a feature wall in striking indigo geometric wallpaper.
In the ensuite, indigo millwork, white counters, and grey porcelain tile floors combine for a sophisticated nod to nautical style. A dual-steam shower, with built-in shelving and seating, adds a spa-like touch the homeowners love. The vanity mirrors, uniquely framed by exterior windows, demonstrate Cosgrave’s trademark talent for refining the design with unique solutions to storage and finishing challenges.
Clever solutions, like the dog washing station in the mudroom, hide pull-out stairs and integrated storage. In the entertainment room, a swing-out television allows the family to watch movies from their hot tub on the patio.
Combined with Baker’s mastery of restraint, perspective, and the best use of light and space, Cosgrave’s workmanship and on-the-spot design ingenuity capture the essence of balance. The result is a strategically designed multigenerational abode where families can live harmoniously together while maintaining a sense of autonomy.