French Inspiration: West Vancouver Style

Arriving at Bellevue, it would be easy to imagine you’d been magically transported to another time, even another world. There’s a whimsical charm to this residence — a sense that history, legend, and artistry have come together in a single expression of exquisite elegance.



The nearly 7,000-square-foot home took Kindred Construction over four years to complete and has consistently ranked among BC’s 25 most valuable residences. Properties of this calibre seldom come to market, since their owners  typically invest more than time and money in them — they invest passion into creating a truly one-of-a-kind design. So when Sotheby’s International Realty Canada was commissioned to sell the property for $18.8 million, it was a rarity in the Metro Vancouver estate market.

Bellevue’s rooflines and floating glass overhangs have a playful curvature, as if this stone mansion sprang organically to life from the ground itself. “The inspiration was to create an authentic French country manor in West Vancouver,” says Paul Grant, principal of Grant Architecture Studio who designed Bellevue.

Step through the front door, and a soothing expanse of Jerusalem and Indiana limestone extends toward the first of six fireplaces — each of them unique. Look back, and the door itself is framed by a full-height limestone wall that appears to float between two seamless glass insets — contemporary style marries tradition. Soft accent light flows from a matched pair of wall sconces in the shape of wheat sheaves. “Those were originally hand-carved wall art, but we were able to convert them into lighting,” says Chico Autio, Kindred’s senior project manager.

To the right, a private library, rich and inviting in dark-stained exotic woods, soars a full two storeys and is flooded with sunlight through curved bay windows. A mezzanine wide enough for cozy armchairs and reading tables encircles this secluded retreat. Following a beloved European tradition, a secret entry is tucked at the back of what appears to be nothing more than a small, recessed niche in a corner of the second-level hallway.

All about celebrating time with family and friends, the kitchen/great room features the airy look of cream-on-cream, French provincial styling. A massive fireplace creates an anchoring focal point between the two areas with its eye-catching surround — a one-of-a-kind masterpiece from reclaimed, fully restored cast iron.

The epitome of refinement, Bellevue’s master suite maximizes enjoyment of the water views across the Burrard Inlet to the downtown Vancouver skyline. Here is where the sheer complexity of the roof’s compound curves opens dramatic avenues of creativity.

Three sets of arched French doors lead onto a private, wrap-around balcony with the home’s recurring wheat sheaf motif appearing on the delicate, metallic railing. Yet another part to this oasis is found in the en suite. Here, a hand-carved vanity provides a visual counterpoint to the tumbled limestone soaker tub with bas-relief carvings above. Suspended from the ceiling, a treasured alabaster bowl has been transformed into a chandelier that gently diffuses light — romance in a vessel.

“Bellevue was envisioned to be a home that combines authentic historical references with a modern structure,” Grant says. “The curved zinc roof and stone work are details that would have been common in the 1800s, but there is a distinct modernity to elements like the glass walls by the front entry.” Today, there’s no doubt that this magnificent residence lives up to the vision.

Photos courtesy of Sotheby’s International Realty Canada