Luxury Outlook 2022
An ambitious exploration into high-end residential markets across the globe.
Vancouver, perched on the precipice of the Pacific Ocean on Canada’s west coast, is widely considered to be one of the world’s most picturesque cities. With mist-capped mountains to the north, windswept archipelagos to the west, and remarkable temperate rainforests spread throughout, the city boasts a natural beauty.
This mansion in the renowned Shaughnessy neighborhood is located in an area of the city known for majestic old trees, vast properties, and rarified privacy, and it’s also in close proximity to the vibrant South Granville area and the downtown peninsula.
Originally constructed in 1923, the century-old masterpiece is a genuine relic of the city’s past. But unlike many heritage homes, which have long lost their grandeur to streamlined interior renovations and of-the-moment updates, this residence presents modern luxury while preserving the unparalleled finishes and unique flourishes that today are seldom found among its peers.
Such opulence is readily apparent when passing through the gates of ornately wrought iron and glass-fronted doors into a polished interior where rich, warm limestone provides a subtle yet notable counterpoint to smooth white plaster of the walls. Artful recesses and reliefs, crown moldings, and floral fretwork on the archways and doorways immediately signify regality.
It’s evident this property has been restored rather than remodeled, which is an important distinction to make. When homes are fully renovated or remodeled, it typically means they have been gutted and then fitted with new surfaces, furniture, and features. But when a home is restored, master craftsmen ensure that all the new additions are meticulously chosen to match the existing structure, and the historic elements are refinished and refurbished to their former elegance.
It’s therefore no surprise that restorations are preferred by true aficionados of history and architecture. Suitably, this property was subject to a top-to-bottom restoration in 1997, along with a series of tasteful renovations—such as soft, recessed lighting and high-end appliances—to enhance the functionality of the home without altering its classic appeal.
These fine touches are observable everywhere—from the wooden paneling and coffered ceilings in the formal living room at the far end of the main hall, to the exquisitely coordinated accents in metal, plaster, and limestone that lend such stateliness to the light-filled dining room.
Even the breakfast nook around the corner feels like a place where a regent might take their tea, in spite of its bright, cozy intimacy and playful canopy resembling an azure sky. The majesty continues to the second floor, where a set of double French doors open onto a primary suite equipped with a private elevator, a walk-through dressing room, and a five-piece spa bathroom. While many of the ensuite’s fixtures are beautifully-maintained antiques, there are also state-of-the-art features such as the jetted soaker tub and frameless shower.
The second floor features two additional bedrooms, each with their own ensuite bathrooms, as well as access to a rear stairway that leads to a flex space on the third floor, or down to the lower levels.
Following it back to the ground floor, it’s easy to appreciate how this home has been designed to make the most of the sumptuous green spaces that enfold it. A large, comfortable sitting room features a cushioned window seat between its paneled walls, as well as a wood-burning fireplace and glass French doors that lead to the garden. Another tranquil space lies adjacent, which can serve as a study or a sunroom, and is fashioned with an entire wall of windows with views of the verdant lawns and trees.
These gardens truly are the pièce de résistance of the property, comprising nearly 1.2 acres of scenic landscaping, including an idyllic pond. Juxtaposed with this pristine nature are the gorgeously-hewn stonework of the walkways and fountains found across the grounds—again, restored to the splendor in which they were first conceived.
If there’s a single quality that people today seem to value above all, it’s authenticity. This applies to everything from the products they purchase to the entertainment and media they consume—and of course, it applies to properties as well. At a time when authenticity is often lost to renovations that favor simplicity, novelty, or cost-efficiency, a treasure like this historic Vancouver home is all the more precious.