They say you can’t go home again. But for one Vancouver homeowner, moving back into her childhood house in East Van brought her an opportunity to both embrace a lifetime of memories and create new ones.

She and her partner, a Vancouver real estate agent, saw endless potential in the 2,200-square-foot, two-storey house she had grown up in. The couple enlisted the help of interior designer Madeleine Sloback, principal of Madeleine Design Group, and contractor Jon Pulice with Rain City Homesto renovate and reimagine it as a space they could evolve with.

There were structural changes to be made€”the couple wanted to open up the closed-off, chopped-up floor plan, and add in both a proper master ensuite and a laundry room€”along with aesthetic ones: the humble home was ready for a fresh modern look.

And so Sloback got to work, bringing in a bright and airy backdrop to showcase layered, contrasting materials and colours, and reimagining the layout of the house for this new generation. 

An illegally plumbed bathroom on the top floor was moved, which created space for both a proper master suite and laundry room. Though a low ceiling in the laundry area could have been a challenge, Sloback installed a skylight that instantly made the tight, tiny space transform into something light and bright. “Adding a skylight in a space with low or vaulted ceilings will give you way more ceiling height,” says the designer.

In the kitchen, knocking down walls brought an expansive square footage to the room. “The challenge here was to design a kitchen and island that was proportioned to the house, but didn’t leave any wasted space,” says Sloback. “It’s not always the case when you have too much space to work with, but we feel the proportion of the kitchen and dining worked out perfectly for the large open area.”

That new kitchen€”with its large, black feature island and matte-finish Caesarstone countertops€”wound up being Sloback’s favourite room in the house. Textured laminate on the black cabinets here bring the visual interest and breaks up the long stretch of panelling. The counter is lined with four stools, but still allows for a good amount of storage on that side of the island… plus a wine fridge, of course.

A vintage fireplace got a makeover with the simplest of design tools, but the result made a true splash. “We surrounded the family room fireplace with a simple painted drywall finish and popped some fun artwork on top,” says Sloback, “and it happens to be one of the most talked about images from this home.”