A Seaside Story

A modern oceanfront house celebrates the history of a family.

This luxurious ocean-view house brings French seaside style to Vancouver. Left: A NanaWall system of sliding glass connects the house to the veranda in the summer for a resort feel.

The Beachcomber is a Vancouver home that honours a family’s story. Everything in it, from the architecture to the details of its décor, is meant to weave together the cherished memories and objects the family has collected over time.

The home movie theatre features vintage movie posters recalling films the owners saw together during their courtship. In the library, books and records they have collected over decades are lined up alongside their kids’ favourites — new collections just starting to take shape. A record player is at hand to play the numerous albums, and an antique phonograph adds to the sense of being surrounded by storied objects.

The designer, Shauna Townsend of Form Creative, made the home a gallery of sorts. She wanted “to ensure that each sentimental, antique piece was displayed intentionally within its space to allow it to tell its story,” she says. “Each space needed to be designed around these pieces to allow them to stand out but also to have them look and feel like they belonged.”

A restored motorcycle from the owner’s youth is on display in the downstairs den. Townsend worked the décor around it, with camel leather pieces to soften the tone, and mixed metals to complement the vintage look.

In the master bedroom, Townsend worked her design around a reproduced 19th-century Parisian brass telescope from among the family’s collected pieces. It stands near a massive picture window with an ocean view, the perfect place for gazing into the distance. Modern touches balance the antique — the ceiling is vaulted, with tongue-and-groove white wood. A wall of Carrara marble houses a modern fireplace.

The master bath, clad in the same Carrara marble, uses a sputnik chandelier to keep the celestial theme.

Over 13,500 square feet, this tribute to French seaside style has become the nexus for the owners’ extended family and all manner of entertaining. It has five bedrooms and seven-and-a-half bathrooms and is located in the Crescent Beach area of Vancouver, just down the street from markets and the beach.

“We knew that we wanted the design of the home to be elevated and sophisticated, but needed to consider how the young family would use each space,” says Townsend.

An example of sophisticated form and function is the two massive Carrara marble waterfall islands in the kitchen. One is used for food preparation and houses two dishwashers, while the other has seating and is perfect for food service and layout, while smartly concealing a subwoofer integrated into the 24-zone sound system throughout the property.

When you enter the house, you walk into a bright, open space. Natural light is plentiful — there are 35 skylights throughout the home — and it’s boosted by the abundance of white in the decor. The open floor plan connects the formal dining and living room to the central kitchen and eat-in, all ideal for entertaining.

The mixing of metals throughout the house is meant to symbolize the collecting of pieces over the years. This can be seen in the kitchen, for example, with the brass cabinetry hardware and stainless steel appliances.

The pool is built using the same Carrara marble from the kitchen and master bedroom and bath. Its NanaWall system of folding glass walls makes the indoor pool feel like an outdoor pool. It opens up to the bar and barbeque area as well as the deck with firepit.

From the veranda, the landscape magnificently descends 70 feet, over eight tiers of garden and pathways. Along the paths are playsets and gazebos, and even a stream that collects water in a pond to take full advantage of the property’s footprint.

It’s rare for a new home filled with modern innovation and decoration to do such justice to the traditions and history of a family. The Beachcomber is a celebration and thoughtful continuation of this family’s story.

Photography by Brad Hill Imaging