Home Decor

SMStudio includes underwater pool windows in “bold” Vancouver house


Gridded fibre-cement cladding and a swimming pool with underwater windows feature at the East Van Residence in Vancouver by Canadian firm SMStudio.

The project is in Hastings-Sunrise, a residential neighbourhood in East Vancouver, a mixed residential and industrial area that borders the city’s harbour.

Home by SMStudio in Hastings-Sunrise, Vancouver
SMStudio designed the concrete-clad home to replace a “tired, 1950s bungalow”

The home replaces a “tired, 1950s bungalow” that did not accommodate the client’s needs, said SMStudio, a local firm led by Simon Montgomery.

“This house was designed for a small family that loved their neighbourhood but needed a more functional house and floor plan that would suit their lifestyle and needs,” the studio said.

Board-formed concrete cladding with an underwater window
The project’s swimming pool features underwater windows

The studio conceived a 251-square-metre, three-storey house that was designed to be a “bold yet friendly addition to the neighbourhood”.

In addition to its three levels, the house has a rooftop terrace, a swimming pool and a 48-square-metre studio and pool house complex in the backyard.

Living space within Vancouver home by SMStudio
Within the home, SMStudio incorporated a mix of natural and industrial materials

The exterior of the primary structure was clad in board-formed concrete and white, square-shaped panels made of fibre cement. The concrete wraps the lower level and consists of thin strips that give the appearance of wood.

The cladding choices were a response to strict building codes that required non-combustible siding.

Metal mesh staircase within East Van Residence
East Van Residence’s levels are connected by a staircase lined with metal mesh

“Originally this was a challenge, but it provided an opportunity to explore how we could utilize a standard, lower-cost building material in an interesting way,” the team said.

“The result is a bold, playful facade that plays with light and shadow, creating interest and intrigue.”

For the interiors, the studio incorporated a mix of natural and industrial materials.

Fibre-cement square-shaped panels
Exterior walls were clad in square-shaped panels made of fibre-cement

“Materials such as natural stone, board-formed concrete and Douglas fir are used throughout the project and create a sense of calm and a neutral backdrop for the owners to show their personality through art and furniture,” the team said.

Designed to capitalise on views from the communal spaces, the home features a reverse floor plan.

Custom-made DJ stand
Natural stone, board-formed concrete and Douglas fir were used throughout the project

The ground level contains the main entrance and two bedrooms, while the top floor holds the kitchen, dining space and living room.

Contemporary decor was placed throughout the minimal spaces, including plush furniture and a custom-made DJ stand.

Light-hued kitchen interiors
A feeling of openness is also provided by large stretches of glass

“A custom, welded-steel shelf and DJ setup were designed as a focal point in the living room, allowing the clients to display and listen to their extensive vinyl collection,” the team said.

The home’s levels are connected by a staircase lined with metal mesh, which runs from the basement to the roof. Atop the stairwell, an oversized skylight carries daylight to the spaces below.

The upper level has ceilings crossed by beams made of Douglas fir, laminated-veneer lumber (LVL), which enabled a wide span without the need for additional supporting columns.

Large stretches of glass create views of the adjacent park, the water and the mountains to the north of the city.

The basement level holds a den and media room, a guest suite that doubles as a workout area, and storage and mechanical space. A sunken, concrete courtyard brings in natural light.

White-walled bathroom within home by SMStudio
The home’s neutral-hued interiors extend to the bathroom

The ground floor leads to a sunken courtyard framed with board-formed concrete walls with windows that look into the swimming pool.

“Pool windows are cut into the board-formed concrete and allow for a playful conversation between swimmers and bystanders,” the team said.

Rectilinear facade of fibre cement
The cladding choices were a response to strict building codes that required non-combustible siding

The detached building in the backyard has multiple functions, as it can be used as a garage, workshop, creative studio and pool house. A rolling garage door connects to the adjacent park.

Other projects in east Vancouver include a narrow, century-old house that was renovated by D’Arcy Jones Architecture and a caramel-coloured bakery by Ste Marie that has furniture influenced by the American Shaker movement.

The photography is by Ema Peter.


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