Thousands of Vancouver Special-style houses were built between 1965 and 1985, popular for their affordability and the way they maximized the square footage of narrow city lots. But while the ubiquity of the front-gabled, two-storey homes made them seem, well, less-than-special to some critics, as a new generation of architects tackle renovations and makeovers, the oft-maligned form has gained a newfound appreciation. (A beloved design shop here in town even takes its name from the style... and, yes, sells prints of the now-iconic homes to boot.) One Seed Architecture and Interiors specializes in reimagining the spaces, while other designers use the typology as an inspiration for a whole new wave of multi-generational architecture—like the stunner by Marianne Amodio of MA+HG Architects, featured in our October 2014 issue. That’s something pretty special, indeed.

one seed vanocuver special
Credit: Martin Knowles / Western Living September 2020

One Seed Architecture’s Multigenerational Vancouver Special from September 2020.

amodio house
Credit: Janis Nicolay / Western Living October 2014

The MAD house from MA+HG from October 2014.

amodio house
Credit: Janis Nicolay / Western Living October 2014

An interior shot of the MAD house.

amodio house
Credit: Janis Nicolay / Western Living October 2014

And one more of the MAD house interior.

To read about more great people, designs, homes and innovations that shaped Western Living, click here.