Discover The Most Inviting West Coast Homes From Our Pages
Whether it’s a rugged ski chalet in the Whistler mountains, a contemporary Sunshine Coast retreat or artsy condo in the heart of Vancouver, the West Coast has been the source of some outstanding homes in H&H over the years. It’s time to celebrate these natural beauties, which always seem to make the most of the light and breathtaking local scenery, and make modern design warm and livable. So, come away with us — no ticket (or umbrella) required for this trip!
A Renovated Whistler Townhouse
Nestled in the mountains of Whistler, this townhouse saw plenty of action as a weekend family retreat for 27 years. The owners turned to interior designer Alda Pereira to help rekindle their love of this 2,400-square-foot escape and transform it into a cozy spot for après-ski cocktails. Quiet but comfortable furnishings update the main living area, and dark beams create drama.
In the kitchen, custom alderwood cabinets are stained a smoky brown while silvery countertops add edge to the dark space.“They wanted to create an environment that was warm, inviting and rustic, but also elevated — one that acts as a place of refuge but will also serve them well in entertaining large numbers of people,” says Alda. “For me, that meant spaces that are understated and timeless, and that embrace the natural beauty of the landscape outside.”
Nothing beats alpine-themed art in a town known for its superlative slopes. A leather headboard adds rich color in one of the two new bedrooms on the lower level. The beds can be pushed together to form a king, and a slim bookshelf holds favorite weekend reads.
A Laneway House In East Vancouver
This compact, multipurpose laneway house — belonging to homeowner Janet Willson — is a stone’s throw from her main house, making it an ideal retreat. It’s just over 600-square-feet but has a wide-open studio space with easy-to-move furniture and a bed that can be folded away, while radiant heat keeps the concrete floors warm year-round.
A built-in bench upholstered in Marimekko fabric has a perfect view of the mature apple trees in the serene garden from the airy bedroom. A space-saving Murphy bed is concealed in the wall (right) during the day.
A Photographer’s Beach Home In Boundary Bay
Interior, food and lifestyle photographer Tracey Ayton was obsessed with director Nancy Meyers’ spectacular sets. The most coveted of these on-screen homes is featured in the movie Something’s Gotta Give, and ironically her Boundary Bay, British Columbia, beach home was built in 2003 — the same year the film was released. “It was full of potential,” says Tracey. The couple only wanted drawers for storage in the kitchen, so classic white subway tiles were installed on the walls instead of upper cabinetry.
While the home has a refined beach house feel, the roofline and ceiling are reminiscent of a barn. “The ceiling height is 16 feet at the peak, and the space above the fireplace called for a window to accentuate the barn vibe,” says Tracey.
The kitchen table was handmade by Brad Russell of Hand One Design, who salvaged the materials from an old train station in White Rock, B.C., a 30-minute drive from the bay. “We designed it together,” says Tracey. “It’s my favorite piece of furniture.”
Francesca chose the custom deep green for the cabinetry in the kitchen with reeded glass on the uppers that nods to the historic style of the home.
Francesca repurposed her old condo dining table as a desk in this home office. A quaint Wisteria Blossom wallpaper by Sanderson lends a vintage vibe and adds a sunny pattern to an accent wall.
A Heritage Home In Victoria
For this 1913 Craftsman-style home, designer Kyla Bidgood chose a moody palette of greys and blues, along with natural materials such as knotty oak, multihued quartzite and glazed terracotta for a rustic, decidedly West Coast vibe. She preserved its grandeur and quirky characteristics, like the hardwood floors and coffered ceilings. “When we upgraded the layout, we wanted it to feel like it had always been here,” says Kyla.
In the kitchen, barn-style cabinetry in a custom stain brings out the horizontal grain of the flat-front oak cabinetry, with matte black pulls for modern edge.
An Airy Craftsman-Style Home In Vancouver
The owners of this West Coast home have demanding jobs and craved a tranquil environment where they could unplug and unwind. Designers Cathy Radcliffe and Teigan Jorgensen took their cues for the interior from the 12-year-old Craftsman-style house’s architecture, as well as the Vancouver landscape.
The kitchen was completely reconfigured with 16-foot-wide folding doors to open up the back of the house. Above the Silestone-topped island, a mobile-style pendant strikes a playful note. “Contemporary lighting adds a sculptural beauty to any aesthetic,” says Cathy.
The Carrara marble-topped dining table’s traditional turned legs are actually made of china, for a unique twist on a classic look. The home’s original wide-plank fir floors were sanded down to remove a reddish hue, then coated with a sealer to prevent reddening over time.
A California-Style 1920s Bungalow In Victoria
Designed by a California architect, this sprawling bungalow looks like it could have been plucked from the Hollywood Hills. “Its Moorish influence is pretty unique in Victoria,” says homeowner Tamara Napoleon. Patterned cement tile on the fireplace and repeated arches (seen here in symmetrical mirrors) underscore the home’s Spanish flavor.
A diner-like tufted banquette in durable cognac vinyl maxes out seating around a custom-made table, fabricated from reclaimed hemlock and an old crank base.
In the principal ensuite, a monochromatic palette is a gentle reprieve from the home’s more dramatic moments. A mix of white penny rounds and honeycomb wall tile is interesting yet liveable.
A Scandi-Inspired Vancouver Family Home
Sometimes, it’s what’s outside that counts, especially when you live in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. For design pro Colette Soros, co-owner of Vancouver’s Parliament Interiors, the view of the city and the mountains inspired the renovation of her family’s Instagram-worthy abode. “We love our home — we have a view of downtown Vancouver and the North Shore mountains,” says Colette. “The living room is our cozy space,” she says.
Inspired by her Norwegian roots and Scandinavian-style houses, Colette worked closely with Etheridge Home Renovation to plan for high ceilings, skylights, decks off the front and back of the house and lots of natural wood finishes. Colette designed a built-in banquette that runs along the wall and provides enough seating for family and guests in the dining area.
“I put snacks and dishes within arm’s reach for the kids, who are right at home cooking in the kitchen,” says Colette.
A Heritage Apartment in South Granville
Vancouver photographer and store owner Heather Ross traded a modern condo for a 1912 heritage building in Vancouver’s South Granville neighborhood (a sought-after address reportedly once home to both Justin Trudeau and Sarah McLachlan) where Heather blends her signature coastal palette of blue and green with aged silver and pale lavender. In the living room, an antique settee stands beneath a casually pinned, unframed map of Savary Island, B.C., where Heather grew up. “Some of my happiest childhood memories happened there,” she says.
In the dining room, a rustic drop-leaf table is juxtaposed with modern chairs. Pretty vignettes on the dining table and sideboard look collected over time.
A Rustic Whistler Family Home
Vancouver designer Ami McKay‘s enchanting spaces draw inspiration from British Columbia’s rugged mountains and lapping ocean waves, while prioritizing eco-friendly design. This ski chalet-inspired home is full of natural materials to unexpected pops of color and texture. “I naturally opt for healthy choices, such as wool carpeting and rugs instead of synthetic, and sofas without fire retardants,” she says.
When the view is this good — like snow-capped Whistler mountains — there is no need to decorate to the nines. A warm wood dining table pays homage to the landscape, while hits of black add modern edge.
A feature limestone wall sets the tone in the entryway, while blonde wood and large windows feel light and inviting.
A Young Couple’s Urban Vancouver Loft
Danielle and Tyler Tomczyk wanted their global style loft in Vancouver to reflect their travels around the world. Designers Greer Nelson and Jamie Hamilton of Oliver Simon Design worked in the couple’s mementoes to give it a worldly yet personal spin. “We needed a huge light fixture because the ceilings are so high, but it had to be interesting since it’s visible from every room,” says Jamie of the sputnik pendant in the main living space.
Instead of a dining table, meals are taken at the breakfast bar, which is paired with comfortable leather barstools.
A Designer’s Cottage-Style Century Home
When designer Sophie Burke and her husband Cameron Burke bought their nearly century-old house, set on a half-acre in West Vancouver, she was drawn to the home’s original elements — the leaded-glass windows and a beautiful fireplace clad in river rocks from the neighboring creek. It took the couple four months to choose the grey grasscloth wallpaper in the dining room, but their deliberations paid off: “It makes the room cozy,” says Sophie.
Sophie saved the beautiful leaded-glass cabinet doors to face the new upper cabinets above the fridge and the double-width cabinets. While the lowers were painted Farrow & Ball’s Off-Black in a 10 percent gloss blend, the vintage doors were left unpainted to highlight their history. For brightness, she removed the wood ceiling panels to accommodate fresh drywall and six recessed lights.
An Artist’s Boho Vancouver Pied-À-Terre
Artist Sara Shafran wasn’t hemmed in by the small dimensions of her spunky Vancouver loft. For example, the guest room was transformed into a studio-meditation room. To make this nook, designers Erica Schmidt and Ivan Quintana sourced antique corbels for architectural interest, then added custom moldings and layers of pillows and textiles. “I’ve always dreamed of having a nook like this. I call it my Cleopatra lounge,” says Sara.
A hutch done in millennial pink — a Winners score that Sara had painted — anchors the dining area and hints at her artist’s sense of color. Iconic Martinique wallpaper, as seen in the Beverly Hills Hotel, and woven end chairs instil a tropical holiday-at-home vibe.
New floor-to-ceiling built-ins maximize storage without detracting from the bedroom’s serene mood. Pink accents, fringed lace-trimmed bedding and a wistful painting by Amanda McMorran are unabashedly feminine.
A Cozy Alpine Cabin in Whistler
With its sweeping views and Scandi-inspired decor, this ski cabin in Whistler, B.C., easily earns its title as the homeowners’ “happy place.” Designer Sophie Burke came up with a distinctive look for the interiors.
A compact work area in the kitchen is handy for catching up on emails or looking for recipes, and the desk and hardware mimic the nearby lower cabinets for continuity.
A Designer’s Pender Island Weekend Retreat
Soft ocean breezes, lush greenery and mountains dotting the horizon — designer Carrie McCarthy’s small family cottage has all the perks of a tropical isle, but is located on B.C.’s Pender Island, known as the Hawaii of Canada for its mild sub-Mediterranean climate. Carrie took the beautiful sight lines into account when designing the extra-large French doors that lead from the great room out to the patio, and left the ceiling beams exposed for a rustic look.
In the great room, the TV is offset to balance the window on the other side of the fireplace. Natural textiles are a cozy addition to the modern space. The 830-square-foot cottage was designed using local materials and tradespeople, and has a surprisingly minimalist interior, almost Scandinavian in its restrained white palette and simple but luxurious materials.
“The idea was for it to have a Scandinavian feel: light, bright and modern, yet still cozy,” Sophie says. She went with clean-lined but comfortable furniture, natural touches and a palette of cool blues and warm greys.
The existing ceilings were clad in warm cedar, so Sophie went with paler oak floors for a sense of balance. “We loved that it didn’t have any yellow tones,” she says. “It had just enough character to add warmth to the space, without getting too rustic.”
A Blogger’s Gastown Condo
Vancouver blogger Kate Horsman lives in a 1,100-square-foot downtown condo in Gastown, which was inspired by her love of surfing. “It’s very much a reflection of me,” she says. “In my spare time, I love to surf, and the whole idea of sun and surf, of incorporating natural elements, plays a huge role in how I am in my space. I wanted it to feel calm and laid-back, like a vacation home.”
In Kate’s dining room, the weathered wood table, shell chandelier and silvery branch sculpture does a credible Malibu impersonation. A convincingly beachy capiz shell chandelier sets the tone over a rustic, sun-bleached wood table. Lucite chairs, a silvery branch sculpture and white walls keeps things breezy.
An Antique Collector’s Vancouver Condo
In this 600-square-foot Vancouver condo steps from Stanley Park, the condo’s owner quietly amassed a collection of antique furniture while travelling the globe. He approached designer Peter Wilds and asked that he not only reimagine the home in a new light, but also carefully curate the objects inside. Affordable side tables from Ikea offset the cost of iconic black Tizio task lamps and a rolled arm settee.
“The antique desk is a workspace that also serves as a bedside table,” says Peter. The daybed was chosen to mimic the symmetry of the windows and makes the principal bedroom resemble a chic home office.
A Stately Waterfront New-Build In Vancouver
For her parents’ oceanside property, designer Sophie Burke referenced the home’s lush English-style garden, and brought the outside in with a cheery floral print to update an antique settee. The homeowners found a fallen tree at the side of the road and potted it in cement to create a graphic feature in the conservatory.
Sophie wanted this house feel like it had evolved over time. Blue vintage tiles found in England lend a personal touch in the kitchen.
Whitewashed oak floors in the living room give an airy look, where a coffered ceiling adds architectural interest. Two glittering chandeliers add a dose of glamour.
A Striking Contemporary Home On South Pender Island
In this stunning modern home on B.C.’s South Pender Island, designed by Carrie McCarthy and Tanja Hinder of Marrimor Interiors, the line between inside and out has been all but erased. The rooms are kissed by breezes that sweep through wide-open sliding glass doors and the palette mirrors the stone, sky and sea all around it. Furnishings are sleek and low-slung, so they don’t block the views.
The huge white oak dining table and benches are designed to feel like a modern picnic table, and the dining bench can be slid into the living area for more seating. Artful pendants delineate the dining area without blocking views. In the kitchen, the cabinets’ vertical grain leads the eye up to the cedar-clad ceiling, for a treehouse effect.
This principal bedroom is cantilevered out over the landscape and wrapped in windows to give it an unparalleled view of the treetops. Plush carpeting, linen drapes and cozy bedding in soft, calming shades of grey and taupe balance the austerity of concrete floors. A spiky wooden light fixture is a modern take on an antler chandelier.