Urban chic apartment

Take a look at this cool contemporary family home situated on a sprawling lot in North Vancouver.

You wouldn't expect this elegant urban home to have a chicken coop in the backyard. But that's exactly the lifestyle the homeowners envisioned when they stumbled upon this North Vancouver property two years ago. "It's on a quarter-acre lot in a part of town where you don't usually find lots that size," says the homeowner.

The house itself, which was originally built to spec, was in the skeleton stage when the owners bought it. They took over the project to create a stylish 4,800-square-foot home suitable for their active family, which includes three young children and two pets-not to mention six chickens.

Along with taking advantage of the substantial lot size, the homeowner wanted an interior full of personality. That meant working with designer Joanna Vagelatos of JV Design Group, with whom she had worked several times before. With high ceilings and plenty of natural light, this home presented an opportunity to try something different. "Joan and I felt that this space could support bolder elements," - says the homeowner.

They started by creating a more traditional envelope with old-fashioned architectural details - having that oak herringbone floor is a homeowner's dream come true - and then injecting an eclectic, modern mix to provide interesting juxtapositions and edginess. Central to the aesthetic is an abundance of natural stone, including three types of marble. Defined by black-painted oak cabinetry and Nero Marquina marble contrasted with Calacatta, the kitchen exemplifies a bold new approach. "It's a driving force," says the homeowner.

While black and white plays a big part in the scheme, the look is far from stark and austere. Along with fresh furnishings, a mix of items collected over the years or passed down from the family brings a sense of history and soul. The inclusion of highly prized accessories (especially light fixtures) and a few judicious pops of muted pink, jewel blues and soft greens goes a long way toward achieving an updated aesthetic.

"With six chickens in the back and a flower garden, it's like an urban farm," says the homeowner. "Although it doesn't look like it - it looks a lot nicer."

In the living room, a cast stone Louis XIII-style fireplace, which has been painted matte black, is juxtaposed with a plush sectional for an intriguing style contrast.

"Many of the elements we used came from her last home, which I also designed," - Joanna says, referring to Wassily's iconic chairs. "When you work with the same designer consistently, you can use things from design to design because the items are chosen with versatility in mind." Changing the accents they are paired with creates a completely different look."

A curvy pink velvet settee adds sparkle and pretty color to a dining room designed by Joanna Vagelatos. The heavy look of the marble dining table is offset by the shiny lightness of the Serge Mouille-style chairs and chandelier.

The combination of Nero Marquina marble and black painted oak cabinets transforms the kitchen into a bold focal point. The combination of white Calacatta marble, used on the island and kitchen table, adds contrast and appeal to the space.

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Opening the butler's pantry to the dining area improved the functionality of the home, which was designed for entertaining. "We can accommodate 30 or 40 people in the house without any hiccups," - says the homeowner. This space showcases the visual texture of Nero Marquina marble, with its beautiful white veining, and is equipped with enviable bells and whistles, including beer and kombucha taps.

Pendant lighting, which achieves organic shapes from liquid glass blown into heat-resistant ceramic fabric, creates an ethereal effect.

Dark wood paneling gives the study a formal masculine vibe, and a desk made from reclaimed barn board and handmade steel legs looks rustic and tells a story. "My husband went to college in Illinois, and this wood came from an abandoned old barn," says the homeowner. "We brought it home and turned it into a desk. There's a spot on it where the cow took a bite." A blue and brass chair adds an unexpected hit of glam.

A graphic depicting an inked Audrey Hepburn sets the tone for the home's contrasts. A Danish sideboard that showcases a collection of crystals anchors the space. "It is a special piece that has been in the family for a long time," says the homeowner. "It's important to bring in pieces that have a history."

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