Play House

Play House resulted from the renovation of a 104-year-old house across from Douglas Park in Vancouver. We added contemporary and playful elements in the interior while maintaining the cozy, cottage-like character of the original structure.



While our clients appreciated the charm and elegance of the existing house, significant updates were required to make the interior more liveable for a modern family with two young kids. The idea of “play” was central to our work in creating this home.



Renovations provide design challenges that we wouldn’t necessarily choose, but which provide excellent creative opportunities. Removing interior walls to create an open living space where the family could gather and play required additional structural support. We installed a pink steel beam that runs the length of the house, from the matching pink front door through the back mudroom. Striations of colour running through the kitchen and the double layer of millwork between the kitchen and mudroom provide contemporary and playful elements and a sense of flow.


Utilizing the existing geometry in creative ways, we maximized functionality in every square inch of the house. From the principal bedroom at the top—where we crafted built-in closets with an unusual and playful line of work—to the bottom, where we enclosed and insulated the space below the deck and transformed an old crawlspace to create a kids-only playroom. Behind the house, we designed a vertical two-car garage with an offset, acentric roof, to create an interesting and modern geometry that both compliments and contrasts the house.



Working within the house’s existing lines and scale, we created a living environment that is both cozy and cool. Wherever possible, we worked with the placement of original glazing to bring in natural light. We kept the original front door and adjacent stained glass but pulled the living room windows down to the floor to take advantage of full views to the park. Soft details like the felt acoustic panels over the living room, felt-clad lighting over the kitchen island, and Belgian linen curtains help soften the space. Pops of colour provide unity and flow throughout the house and add to its sense of play.