From constraint, they say, comes creativity, and when we see the renovations our favourite Western Canadian designers have done, we’re inclined to agree. We love seeing projects where designers have had to work within the limitations of retro architecture or find inspiration in a house’s good structural bones, whether they’re transforming a clunky Vancouver special into a modernist dream home to remodelling a dilapidated bungalow into a bright-and-airy family-friendly space. 

And so, to inspire our own reno dreams in a time where we’re spending a lot of time at home, we’ve rounded up some of our favourite renovation features from the archives. Imagine what you could do… within limits.

Let the Light in

Before, the house was a standard 1920s one-and-a-half-storey of about 1,400 square feet. After architect Bruce Carscadden jacked the house up and filled in the excavation, he build a new ground floor with 12-foot ceilings and an extension to provide even more room for the homeowners to grow. 

Modern Makeover

A dark Calgary bungalow got a fresh new look with the help of architecture firm MoDA. The layout expanded an extra 1,000 square feet, and the addition of an outdoor living space makes it feel that much bigger on sunny day. 

Dream Kitchen

Black, white, and stunning all over, this West Coast-modern renovation by architect D€™Arcy Jones featured a total overhaul of an underutilized family room into a sprawling new kitchen space.

Such Great Heights

In Vancouver’s Mackenzie Heights neighbourhood, architect Cedric Burgers helped elevate a 1970’s architectural treasure into a modern-day marvel that still respects its design roots.

Little Cabin in the Woods

The layout of this charming forest property remained the same, but the Cross Decor and Design gave almost every surface a makeover to create a fresh look. 

Chalet All Day

We’ve got cabin fever for this rustic Scandinavian redesign of a 1980s Whistler home, designed by Robert Bailey for maximum apres-ski charm. 

Dream On

For any homeowner with kids, the dream is to achieve a sophisticated look that’s also (somehow!) family friendly. The owners of this Arts and Crafts-style home in Vancouver were smart enough to call Kelly Deck, and saw that dream become a beautiful reality.

Retro Renaissance

In this Deep Cove home makeover, designer Ami McKay manages to celebrate mid-century cool while still creating a thoroughly current vibe. 

Heritage Beauty

This heritage property has its history celebrated with a redesign that highlights and restores the original architectural detail (while still having a little fun… hello, mint cabinetry!)


Fighting through the stucco of this 1990s home was well worth it to give designer and homeowner Jenna Josephson a roomy layout (2,600 square feet in total) to call home.