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Completely clad in black metal, this Edgemont family home looks like a stunning modernist fortress, all clean lines and sleek finishes showcased against the lush West Coast wilderness. But a blush-pink door hints at something homier inside. And once you step over the threshold of the three-storey, 4,200-square-foot house—featured as part of this year’s Vancouver Modern Home Tour—you’ll find a fresh, airy space that belies those first impressions, and an environment that’s just right for a family of four.

shelter residential black homePhoto by Ema Peter. Outside, the humble black house fades into the background and lets the natural environment shine; indoors, ample oversized windows let in views of the rolling greenery.

There’s a practical side to that black-on-black metal exterior: the site is located in a wildfire hazard zone, so the majority of the cladding had to be non-combustible. But on the inside, the design team leaned in to a bold, beautiful contrast. “On the inside we wanted it to feel bright, open, cheerful, and to exude quality,” explains architectural designer Mark Simone of Shelter Residential. “We were very careful about window placement to capture views while maintaining privacy, and we looked for creative ways to bring natural lighting to the main level.”

white modern living room vancouverPhoto by Ema Peter.vancouver modern homes tour living room sophie burkePhoto by Ema Peter.

Interior designer Sophie Burke brought in a West Coast mid-century sensibility to keep the space “minimal yet welcoming,” she says—perfect for the busy needs of a young family. That meant a palette of warm woods and whites that’s fresh enough to feel modern, but neutral enough to suit the family’s changing tastes over time. White oak flooring and white-painted millwork play off walnut features and black metal accents, though the home isn’t entirely monochromatic. Beyond that pink door, the muted teal tiles in the powder room add a pop of colour in an unobtrusive space.

Burke layered in texture via intricate tile work—from penny rounds in the shower to white hex tiles in the bathroom—and with thin, vertical wooden slats and brickwork surrounding the living room fireplace. Here, the long horizontal hearth contrasts against the 12-foot-high ceiling to make the space feel expansive, and custom walnut wood shelving holds books and treasures on either side of the fireplace. Above, a custom cluster of George Nelson Bubbles hangs dreamily in the air.

white modern living room vancouverPhoto by Ema Peter.

An understated, minimalist kitchen throws the focus to the greenbelt outside, while in the bathroom, a freestanding tub in front of a large picture window offers private views to the trees beyond. “Creating a strong indoor-outdoor connection was very important,” explains Simone. On the west side of the home, large sliding doors allow the living room to open right up to a simple covered outdoor living space.

vancouver modern home hallwayPhoto by Ema Peter.Vancouver Modern Home staircasePhoto by Ema Peter.

It’s a design intended to outlast trends and to accommodate the family as it grows and changes over the years to come—but Simone hopes there may also be a secondary benefit for the little ones: “I would love for the kids to develop an intrinsic appreciation of good design.” 

2019 Vancouver Modern Home Tour
When: Saturday, September 14, 11am - 5pm
Where: Select your own itinerary 
Price: $45 advance (use promo code WESTERNLIVING for $5 off your tickets)

vancouver modern home tour exterior nightPhoto by Ema Peter.