Home Tour: A Modern Laneway Home in North Vancouver

Get a sneak peek at this Shelter Residential Design laneway house, part of this weekend's Vancouver Modern Home Tour.

Get a sneak peek at this Shelter Residential Design laneway house, part of this weekend’s Vancouver Modern Home Tour.

It’s always a dilemma when your kids start having kids: do you stay close, or give them space? For one North Vancouver family, whose residence is featured as part of this year’s Vancouver Modern Home Tour, the solution was the best of both worlds. The younger generation took over the family home, and the parents decided to build a coach house in the backyard: maximum grandkid access, with some built-in privacy for everyone.The homeowners tapped Mark Simone, principal at Shelter Residential Design, for help in creating their backyard hideaway, and the laneway house he created embraces modern design on a small scale—and more importantly, will be a place for the grandparents to call home for years to come. “One of the driving principles of the coach house was the concept of aging in place,” explains Simone. “We wanted a house that accommodates people in the older years to stay there as long as possible, to continue to live close to their family and interact with the next generation.”Though the budget (and building area) was tight, Simone was able to create a 1000-square-foot home that feels bigger than its area suggests thanks to high ceilings and natural light. Instead of a traditional roof, Simone cut away portions for clerestory windows. “This allowed light to penetrate deeper into the space and created a striking shape that distinguishes it from a more conventional laneway house,” he explains.Simone installed exposed concrete for the interior floors for its easy maintenance. “You do it once, and then it’s done.” Other smart design choices like heated floors and careful window placement help keep the home energy efficient.The painted cedar exterior is “zero maintenance,” says Simone, who also chose a metal roof for its longevity. “We won’t need to be redoing shingles in 15 years. This house is going to last a lifetime.”With any small space, storage space is key, and for this project, Simone tried to maximize functionality of all the closets with built-ins from Ikea. In the kitchen, every square inch has been designed for accessibility and functionality, while outside, there’s a storage space designed for bikes and bins.The bulkhead helps defines the space between the kitchen, dining and living rooms. “I tried to create a sense of space through other boundaries or spatial definitions,” says Simone.See the laneway home for yourself as part of the 2017 Vancouver Modern Home Tour, September 16. For tickets and info, click here.