Of course, we love all the homes we feature in WL, both in print and online—but every year, there's a few that really stick in our minds. They're the homes we look to for our own design inspo, the ones we look back on and daydream about. Here are our editors' favourite homes of 2021.
Chad Falkenberg and Kelly Reynolds—the duo behind design dream team Falken Reynolds Interiors—have become regulars at this building in Gastown. They've renovated quite a few now, and because of the building's heritage, there are surprises every time the team strips away years of bad renovations. “It was almost like an archeological site,” said Reynolds. This renovation features vignettes throughout—furniture-like pieces that are actually custom millwork in the living area, TV room and more. The open ceiling exposed two-foot concrete beams, and so the design team brought in teak boxes to help with sound baffling and disguising electrical and mechanical work—and it's gorgeous.One of my favourite details? There's a dog-washing shower, too, since the homeowners own not one, but four pooches. I'd happily move in next week. —Anicka Quin, editorial director
I knew this was going to be my favourite home of 2021 the moment I saw it. And not just because of the towering bookshelf (though don’t get me wrong, it’s a huge high point) or the other elegant details. What I love about this home is you can tell that architect and homeowner Rafael Santa Ana really thought about his children when it came to design. I feel like so many homes cater exclusively to “growing with” a family, which often results in versatile spaces that work for kids and teens—but I love spaces that play. Case in point: this home has a secret passageway to the attic and an extremely cool treehouse in the yard. It feels not too obsessed with the notion that one day, the kids will grow up: instead, it’s creating a beautiful place for having fun, now.
I wrote the above before we got the results for our reader's choice awards, but I'm also happy to report that this home is our 2021 Home of the Year (you've got good taste, readers). —Alyssa Hirose, assistant editor
Choosing a single picture to encapsulate this house seems unfair. Is it the shot from the main room that shows the wall of glass capturing the views and the wood beams bring some coziness to the grand visage? Is it the shot from the water so you see the bend in the building envelope that helps give this home it's nickname—the Boomerang House? Or the front view, which shows the ultra clean lines and the ode to Palm Springs Butterfly roof? Or...you get my drift—you really should click on the story above and see what photo grabs you. But taken together they represent a knockout of the house. Many readers will know the work of BatterbyHowat from these pages and like many I often associate them with a ultra-clean modernism. But this house, on the quirky Sunshine Coast, seems like a low-fi detour for them. While everything is still beautiful, there's a tactile warmness that befits what I assume is a second home. Homey-modernism—it's a thing.—Neal McLennan, food & travel editor
I've written about probably hundreds of renovations over the course of my time here at Western Living, but now that I've lived through my own, I'm even more awe-inspired by a home makeover and the architects who have the talent to breathe new life into well-worn spaces. Case in point: this stunning transformation from MA+HG Architects that blends modernism and heritage and colour and light and smart space planning with idiosyncratic angles to create something that celebrates history while being totally, delightfully new. Even just viewed from the street, this pretty-in-pink home on the street, with its slick modernist extension, would have been striking enough to make my personal Top Homes list, but the fact we got to peek inside in our April issue was a true honour. —Stacey McLachlan, editor at large