If Louis XIV were to find himself magically transported to Southborough Drive in West Vancouver, he could easily be forgiven for requiring a moment to get his bearings. The sheer elegance of this mansion designed by Sheffield Design Studio and built by Grainger Construction would feel reassuringly familiar as the “Sun King” approached the entry — two soaring, 10-foot French doors inlaid with wrought-iron filigree. Classic accent columns, meticulously proportioned windows, and dramatic semi-circular balconies might bring a fond smile of reminiscence about the grandeur of Versailles.
Yet something would feel intriguingly different. As he stepped inside, Louis would, like all who have already visited, discover that this home has taken the best architectural artistry of his era and given it a distinctly 21st Century spin.
Shaped like the chandeliers in Versailles’ Hall of Mirrors, the foyer’s Swarovski Crystal Schonbek, floating above the inlaid white marble floor, is an immediate attention grabber that Louis would appreciate for its sparkling beauty. Ahead, an open formal sitting room beckons, but since the dining room to the right is set for a party, a prudent decision would be to discover where the chefs might be creating their gastronomical delights.
Anyone following the fragrance of fresh baked bread down the hallway to the kitchen is immersed in a fundamental sense of richness and solidity. Its walls are thick — as much as 18 inches — and topped with historically inspired archways. Finally, a white-on-white masterpiece is revealed — a space unlike any cookery Louis’ generation ever experienced.
Antiqued millwork with diamond-shaped detailing, a recurring theme throughout this residence, creates a welcoming, airy sensation that hints at rural France while bringing an utterly modern aesthetic. Beyond, a small group engage in animate conversation from the comfort of lounge chairs clustered in front of the great room’s statuesque fireplace.
Perhaps feeling unexpectedly like an interloper, Louis might explore the courtyard spanning the back of this residence. Here, formal symmetry and lush greenery coexist in happy harmony — a secluded, totally private oasis in the city. Would it be un-kingly to dip one’s royal toes into the pool while admiring the fountains and outdoor fireplace? If only Chef would fire up the outdoor kitchen and serve up a nicely barbequed snack until the dinner guests arrive.
A quick glance at the clock will soon confirm it’s time to change into formal attire. A trip upstairs to the master suite is in order. Exquisite in pastel teal and white, this space is designed to replicate the tranquil, private wing any royal personage would be used to. Every comfort within this retreat — from heat and air conditioning to lighting and internal music system — is programmable and adaptable via a dedicated control system.
And the ensuite. Ah yes, thinks our time-travelling monarch, here is where one could truly relax in unabashed opulence, particularly in the glass- and Carrera-marble-tiled, five-foot-wide, oval soaker tub. Another Swarovski lighting fixture keeps company with silver-edged wall sconces.
For now, though, it might be opportune to peruse the magnificent, 1,500-bottle wine room. After all, in any era, life is to be enjoyed — which is the quintessential essence of this home.
Photos by Video OpenHouse/With special thanks to Clarence DeBelle.