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A peek inside the Evoke–designed Vancouver family home of hockey legend Trevor Linden.
I didn’t become a design writer just because I love beautiful spaces. I became a design writer because I love beautiful spaces and I’m incurably nosy.
So when this Evoke International Design project came across our desks, it was truly a dream assignment: a chance to finally see inside a house that for years had been leaving me dying to knock on its door. The fact that it happened to be the home of celebrated Vancouver entrepreneur and former NHL star Trevor Linden and his wife Cristina? I must’ve died and gone to lifestyle-journalist heaven.
As much as the Lindens are homegrown celebs, to me, their house is a star, too. I jog by it (or chase my toddler past it) two or three times a week, and it always makes me turn my head. The intriguing, boxy volumes; the captivating, vertical pivot gate. Evoke principal David Nicolay created something truly special with this waterfront property, transforming a late ’60s ramshackle house into a cleverly designed modernist beauty. The Lindens had actually bought the property back in 2003: “It was a five-year plan that turned into 15,” says Trevor. But that 15-year project is one that, in the end, was well worth the wait. “A lot of the time, when you have these grandiose ideas, you can be let down. But in this case, it was really the opposite,” says Trevor. “It’s a home that’s better than I ever thought it could’ve been.”
It’s not the first time Nicolay and the Lindens have worked together: Evoke renovated the family’s Whistler home some years ago, and updated their Kelowna house as well. “Trevor always jokes that he has a knack for buying incredible locations and shoddy properties,” Nicolay says. This decades-old home on Vancouver’s west side was no different. “It was falling to pieces and seemed like one of those places that was built without a lot of floor plans,” Nicolay recalls. “There was a covered swimming pool on the ground level, and a lot of steps just to get to the front door.”
While some architects might have come in, wrecking balls a-blazing, to tear it all down and start from scratch, Nicolay saw a few advantages to renovating the existing space. Call it loophole architecture, if you will. “I knew there were lots of little areas that the city would have to count as floor area”—like that strange covered swimming pool—“and that the building as it stood featured big decks that went completely past the current building line. If you built a new house, they’d all have to be shifted back,” he says. Nicolay’s clever proposal wound up finding an extra 700 square feet that could be added to the redesign. City permission granted, Nicolay and the team (including Trevor’s brother Jamie Linden, principal of Linden Construction) got to work gutting the interior and opening up the floor plan to create a serene, light-filled, 3,000-square-foot dream home.
The team at Evoke kept the interior palette simple, sticking almost exclusively to three materials: basalt floors, Douglas fir panelling on the walls and ceiling, and a luxe Italian marble that features prominently in the bathrooms. The main floor is open and welcoming, the ideal space for buzzy dinner parties. (Cristina is an avid cook—the Boffi kitchen accommodates her passion beautifully.) Oversized windows drink in the ocean views. Upstairs, you’ll find the bedrooms (and those same soothing materials), along with access to a screened roof garden: doors smoothly pocket away to create a seamless, six-and-a half-metre-wide opening that brings in all-day light and fresh air into the house.
For Trevor, one of the most exciting things about the home lies below the surface. “All the mechanical is integrated,” he notes. “The vents, the lights, the smoke detectors… I really love how clean the ceiling is; it’s so calming.”
Though this is a home that consistently stops me in my tracks, Nicolay calls the exterior “introverted.” And it’s true that part of what is so compelling about the facade is the quiet luxury at play. It’s not showy; never demanding. A custom extruded aluminum cladding with minimal glazing creates a quiet, sophisticated street-front presence. But the gently luxurious design features a few surprising high-tech engineering solutions. The front gate swings up into the air; the entire wall of the garage is designed to slide up out of the way. (It’s a mechanical feat that Nicolay credits to brother Linden. “Jamie never says no,” he laughs. “We needed a way to accommodate Trevor’s truck, and he MacGyvered some incredible solutions.”)
This is the Lindens’ third summer living here—a mere 20 years after getting the keys. They’re always out on the driveway, chatting with passersby or hosting friends for taco night on the patio. “The more I’m here, the more I love being here,” says Trevor. And the more this nosy neighbour walks by, the more I love it, too.
This story was originally published in the October 2023 issue of Western Living Magazine.
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