When the owners of a Vancouver lot decided to build a new dream home, they knew they wanted something informal, comfortable and easy to live in. They had their hearts set on an open concept, with a mudroom and main floor laundry. Since Vancouver lots are on the smaller side (where 33 feet is the standard), it can be a challenge to fit an open concept home with all of these features into a smaller space. Joy Chao, lead interior designer at John Henshaw Architect Inc. in Vancouver took the project on to create this urban cottage masterpiece.

The result was this Cape Cod-inspired look that’s both rustic and informal, with the warmth and “lived-in” quality of a cottage. Here’s how Joy and John Henshaw Architect Inc. achieved this look.

Keep it Simple — East Coast Meets West Coast

To get the Nantucket seaside look that the homeowners wanted, Joy used a simple colour palette with sky blue and crisp white. She also included simple trim details but with some rustic elements incorporated. These included the elm hardwood floor and rough wood fireplace mantelpiece and windowsill.

The key element of achieving the cottage look is its simplicity. For this project, Joy worked with the client to keep things simple. The commitment to clean lines and the rectangular theme throughout demonstrate this.

The two most important elements for the homeowners, other than getting a great-looking home, were the ease and cost of maintenance. That’s why nearly everything in the home is simple, durable and classic-looking.

Make Use of Limited Space

Instead of a traditional layout with formal living room, dining room, kitchen and family room, the homeowners opted for an open plan with a sitting area in the front acting as the family room, a play area for the kids, an open kitchen with workstation and an eating area. The only enclosed area is the laundry room by the back entrance mudroom. The entire main floor is open and welcoming.

Because of the limited space, each area of the home had to have maximum functionality. Instead of having a traditional den – a large workstation right by the kitchen was designed to accommodate multiple computers if necessary. Each member of the family has their own plug-in station for recharging mobile devices as well. A large closet was designed by the back entry to act as a mudroom area.  Every area has its use and there is no wasted space.

Finish the Look with Functional Plumbing & Lighting

To finish the look, Joy used eclectic mason jar lighting that was still functional, such as Kichler’s  Brinley Pendant. They also opted for a large single sink measuring at 48 inches from BLANCO with a built-in drainage tray. For additional functionality, they included a prep sink in the island unit.

The bathroom vanity lighting was selected to pick up some more nostalgic streamlined look but still provide ample lighting.

The classic tiled master ensuite shower also takes advantage of modern technologies like thermostatic controls, which maintain a consistent temperature while protecting you from drastic temperature changes. The modern and luxurious showering options also make for a relaxing and immersive experience.

Whatever Works

Style knows no region, as this “West coast meets East coast” home shows. Inspiration can come from anywhere, and once you know what speaks to you, whether it’s a seaside cottage or an ultra-modern urban loft, the design process can be easy and fun.

At Robinson Lighting & Bath Centre, we feel that the design process should be simple, easy and transformational. Stop by your local showroom to see many of the options available to find our style.

This post was written in collaboration with Joy Chao of John Henshaw Architect Inc.  Joy has always had a passion for the Arts. She obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of British Colombia. After working in the construction industry alongside with her father, she decided to focus on interior design. She received her diploma of Interior Design from the British Columbia Institute of Technology, her Lighting Certification and is a certified Registered Interior Designer. In 2001, she joined John Henshaw Architect Inc. An eye for well-planned spaces and interior design aspects distinguishes her work.


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