west coast modern : hemingway treehouse renovation

photography by p. powles

designed by : original house (1976) by brian hemingway, extensive renovation (2017) by fook weng chan

original house description : spectacular, serene and unique custom designed home by well known architect, brian hemingway, his own private residence known as the treehouse. environmentally inclusive with changes in the seasons, lights, eagles, herons, squirrels, complete ocean view of sparkling ships by day and brightly lit floats drifting by. multi level, 1890 square feet, three full bedrooms, amazing den reading area, wood burning and gas fireplaces, 2 full baths, decks, massive sliding doors to balconies that are extensions of the house to the outdoors. this home is full of detail, interest, and an amazing blend of wood, ambience and a respect for space indoors and out.

photography by p. powles

in 2013, new owner took on the task of renovating this post-and-beam home to a new level of beauty.

few words from the architect about the renovation : brian hemingway built it in 1977.  at the time, at thompson berwick pratt, he and his mentor paul merrick were working on a few projects which explored similar design vocabularies including the macmillan bloedel forestry exhibit centre in van dusen gardens, and the canadian forces officer candidate school in cfb chilliwack.  paul built his treehouse a few years earlier than brian.

fook weng chan started designing the renovation over 2 1/2 years ago, but the end product is very much an ideal team effort with the owners, builder and his team. he had been an associate with thompson berwick pratt for 12 of his 14 years there and was the project architect for the majority of brian’s projects from 1987 – 96 so he was comfortable with the challenge.

at the treehouse, it was important to distill the essence and recognize the daring and genius of the original design whilst imbuing the home with layers that speak to and of the new occupants,  all that while upgrading a home that had not been maintained for almost 4 decades.  the owners are to be congratulated for undertaking this effort to save a piece of bc architectural heritage.

original kitchen before renovation. photo by pixilink

renovated kitchen open to seating area. photography by p. powles

view of treehouse looking up from walkway/stairs from street. photo by david kominek

new decks and charred wood siding throughout. photo by david kominek

dining room with corner window looking out onto yard and forest beyond. photo by david kominek

block wall of fireplace and timber posts in top of treehouse. photo by david kominek

view of back of house with new copper roofing and intriguing scupper detail. photo by david kominek

stone stairs in yard space with scupper lead to water feature. photo by david kominek

mid-century modern : 909 jackson crescent

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designed by : g. douglas wylie

built by : ? in 1962

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a short blurb about the house from the realtor:

mid-century modern gem in new westminster’s heights neighborhood. situated high on a huge massey heights lot with an expansive view. this 60’s mid century architecturally significant home designed by g. douglas wylie and built for the taylor family is coming to market for the second time in over 50 years. a japanese influenced post and beam ranch home with full basement features a u-shaped design surrounding the court-yard in-ground swimming pool. vintage home fans will love the massive white marble chimney, original marble floors marble teak paneled family room, sliding shoji screens, spiral staircase and sunken tub looking out to a secret garden. a rare find in unaltered condition.

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goodie : 3245 west 48th avenue

mid-century modern home – mclellan-saddy house

view of living room from outside – photo by robert lemermeyer

architect : thompson berwick pratt (1958, addition 1974)

renovation architect : d’arcy jones (renovation 2007)

here is the write-up by the selling realtor, lionel lorence:

originally designed by seminal modernist vancouver firm thompson berwick & pratt, & perfectly restored to the highest modern standards by d’arcy jones; winner of the inaugural arthur erickson award for architecture. a perfect marriage of architectural design & function creating a seamless connection between both interior & exterior space that brings each room to life. completely rebuilt in 2007 featuring integrated masonry, custom walnut millwork throughout, seven-layer solid apple plywood kitchen, floor to ceiling glass, cork, oak, organic wool carpet & slate flagstone floors wrapped in lush landscaping rich with japanese maples, rhododendrons, ferns & other native west coast flora. featured in western living, canadian architect, vancouver’s modern house tour, & the film coast modern. an outstanding example of quintessential modern architecture.

link to canadian architect magazine article on the renovation here (issuu magazine), and here (canadian architect website).