A detailed kitchen renovation turns this coastal home into a functional family beach house in the exact style they dreamed of (and with a view!). Find the resources list at the end of the article.
By Danielle Pope | Photos by Joshua Lawrence
Two summers ago, Kim (last name withheld for privacy) and her family were on the quest for their coastal dream home. They had become accustomed to the beautiful views of their old house, but it was time for a style change and to find a space that would accommodate growing teens. When they discovered a beachfront property listed along Cordova Bay, they were intrigued — the panoramic ocean views and beachfront access were remarkable — but the property’s style didn’t match what the family was after.
“We realized the only way to improve the view we already had was to literally be on the beach, and this home offered that,” says Kim. “The house had been built in 2015, so it was relatively new, but, style-wise, it was completely different from what we wanted.”
Thanks to Kim’s passion for design and the support she enlisted, a quick close on the purchase turned into a rapid new beginning — with only six weeks until move in — that would give Kim just enough time to start transforming this home into a modern gem.
The bones of the 2,700-square-foot house were solid, and the four bedrooms, three bathrooms and lower level media room offered the space the family was seeking, but Kim knew she’d have to cosmetically “gut” the home. Her goal: turning the overstated crystals and heavy textures of “beach glam” into a natural, modern and minimalist West Coast motif that welcomed the warmth of family life.
With only two weeks to go after taking possession of the beach house, Kim wasted no time removing the faux wood tile, heavy laminate and fluffy white carpet, and replacing it all with rift-cut white oak hardwood floors throughout. She then turned her focus to the bathrooms, stylizing each one with simple beach themes while removing pressboard cabinets and replacing vanities with durable materials, fine hardware and subtle tilings that modernized each space.
Given the rushed timeframe, Kim took on much of the initial renovation work herself, but relied on the teams at Splashes Bath & Kitchen for support with plumbing, as well as Inform Interiors in Vancouver for a hand with lighting fixtures. Those features, like the Moooi Random stairwell pendant and the Foscarini Spokes dining chandelier act as subtle centrepieces of the home.
Bringing In The Experts
For the larger kitchen project, Kim worked with Atarah Humphreys, designer at Urbana Kitchens, to redefine the kitchen and customize the space for how the family would use it — from cooking together to entertaining others.
Humphreys says situations like this can be especially tricky for renovation, because the home is already in good shape and customized — but for someone else. Her goal was to bring this into alignment for Kim. To do this, Humphreys and Kim spent time going over the flow of the kitchen to understand how the family would move within the space and what equipment would be relied upon. New appliances included a Wolf double oven and range top and a hidden stainless-steel Miele built-in hood fan.
“Because Kim was undergoing a style change too, she wanted to move away from the French country look of her last kitchen and create something that reflected the modern environment she was going for now,” says Humphreys. “But it still had to be warm and welcoming.”
To soften the look in the beach house, Humphreys brought in natural materials like Cambria quartz in White Cliff for the perimeter counters, paired with stone Super White quartzite for the island. Birch cabinetry boxes and solid maple drawer inserts contrast the white matte cabinetry finish, and the kitchen tile backsplash in Kanso Mosaic from ANN SACKS adds modern flare.
Humphreys designed an oak frame around the kitchen and island to draw the eye from floor to ceiling. That oak framing appears again in the hidden pantry-turned- coffee-nook to elegantly outline storage cabinetry, then snakes down to add visual interest with a floating mug shelf. An oak statement wine rack was custom-designed for the dining area, which nestles into a standing bar feature. Humphreys was also integral in customizing the lower level’s Murphy bed and “hidden bedroom” for one of the college-age children, along with the media room retreat: a refuge for teens.
“Our goal was to enhance the functionality of the home,” says Humphreys. “The layout was well done, but we needed to make adjustments to create a more contemporary space and add special areas — like the coffee nook — that Kim and her family could look forward to using.” Those spaces in the beach house have become priceless to the entire family.
“Most Sundays, we have about 14 family members show up, and this house accommodates that beautifully,” says Kim. “The renovation process can feel quite big while you’re going through it, but, after it’s finished, it’s so worth it. This has really become our home.”
KITCHEN DESIGNER: Atarah Humphreys, Urbana Kitchens
KITCHEN/BATHROOM & CUSTOM MILLWORK: Urbana Kitchens
PLUMBER: West Bay Mechanical
PLUMBING FIXTURES IN BATHROOMS AND KITCHEN: Andrew Sheret, Splashes Bath & Kitchen
ELECTRICIAN: Alliance Electric
LIGHTING: Inform Interiors, Vancouver
TILE & FLOOR REFINISHING: Island Floor Centre
KITCHEN BACKSPLASH: ANN SACKS, Vancouver
POWDER ROOM VANITY: Splashes Bath & Kitchen
LANDSCAPE: JoyGardens Landscaping Collective