A Vancouver couple decides to preserve their family home with a stunning and resourceful makeover

In a world of mass environmental waste, one Vancouver couple took on the challenge of improving their 40-year-old house by renovating rather than rebuilding. They wanted to have a modern home that looked like it belonged on the pages of a magazine, but didn't want to put an entire house into the landfill. Houses in the neighbourhood were being torn down one after another, but this couple knew there must be a better way.

So they challenged interior designer Sondra Bohna with the task of preserving the memories of their family home and remodelling it for their soon-to-be empty nest.

See the stunning renovation photos below...

Interested in renovating versus tearing down? Here are the partners that made this renovation happen:

Coquitlam homeProvoke Studios"When I first visited the home, it was clear this was a very busy and social family," says interior designer Sondra Bohna. "They love entertaining, and wanted a comfortable, inviting home. The first step was editing—deciding what was useful and necessary, then beautiful or sentimental. The family worked very hard at organizing, while I worked on the design.”

Coquitlam homeProvoke Studios"The cabinetry in the family room was designed to accommodate large bins for crafting materials," says Bohna. "Matching the cabinetry from kitchen to family room, as well as the light colour, creates an impression of expansiveness—they feel less like cupboards and more like furniture. The luxurious white sectional and live-edge table feel clean and modern. An abstract area rug pulls colour cues from the client's existing art and accessories."

Coquitlam homeProvoke Studios"In the kitchen, we wanted to provide the opportunity for varied lighting effects—from natural daylight to task-oriented or dimmable ambient, which is really crucial in Lower Mainland homes, particularly during the fall and winter months," explains Bohna. "I especially like to uplight plants because it creates an interesting, lacy pattern of light and shadow in the evening. All lighting was changed over to LED."

Coquitlam homeProvoke Studios

Coquitlam homeProvoke Studios"New windows in the kitchen let in an abundance of sunlight, even in fall and winter," says Bohna. "They were specially designed to open out 180 degrees, serving as pass-through windows and making it a fantastic home for entertaining during barbecue season. Food and drink pass freely through, providing a nice transition from inside to outside. I attended a party here after the renovation was completed and the effect was wonderful! By far, this was most significant change to the home and my favourite room in the house."

Coquitlam homeProvoke Studios

Coquitlam homeProvoke Studios"We decided to retain much of the existing wood elements (hardwood floors, which were painstakingly matched and repaired in places, then entirely refinished, as well as the ceiling treatment) and contrast that with smooth, warm white elements," says Bohna. "The effect would be clean and modern without feeling stark or sterile."

Coquitlam homeProvoke Studios"The large, abstract horse drawing balances a vast white wall and draws the eye to the core of the main floor," explains Bohna. "The previous stairway was carpeted, narrow and turned at a right angle halfway up. This resulted in a lot of wasted space underneath and around it. The new stairs were artfully crafted to complement existing wood elements, like the floors and ceiling, and yielded a surprising amount of storage areas for extra closets: the fridge and pantry on the kitchen side, oversize storage and, more importantly, a wine storage area! The panel sizes and reveals were carefully planned to look seamless and integrated, complete with touch-latch hardware and no door pulls. This was not a part of the owner's original idea, but changed the house completely, and enhanced the beauty and function of their home."

Coquitlam homeProvoke Studiosvancouver home"The fireplace was original to the home," says Bohna. "The stone on the face also covers the exterior. We wanted to personalize the space and we accomplished that by using the families finger prints enlarged on canvas as a numbered series. It was a fun and modern spin on the family portrait."

Vancouver home"Artwork, accessories and textiles add bright pops of colour and can be easily changed, while the finishing materials are classic and natural, befitting a coastal home," says Bohna. "The goal was to make it fresh and modern, without a design disconnect between inside and outside."

Vancouver homeVancouver home"When deciding to renovate, demolish or move, many factors have to be considered," concludes Bohna. "Homes exist in neighborhoods. Maybe you love the community, proximity to parks or amenities, your yard or the view. Many people move just because they believe they need more room, but consider whether it's for your family or for the stuff you’ve accumulated over the years.

"My mantra is: if it's not useful, beautiful or sentimental, let it go. Maybe putting some things in storage, or selling and donating unwanted items could also alleviate the problem. If you really love where you live, consider looking at your home with fresh eyes and an open mind."

Coquitlam homeProvoke Studios