Boundary Bay Residence

Project details provided by Frits de Vries Architects + Associates Ltd. Photos by Ema Peter.

Situated on the tidal flats of Centennial Beach, the Boundary Bay Residence was originally designed by locally renowned architect, Daniel Evan White in 1990. A master of balance and the interplay between shape and form, the unassuming modernist architect who began his career under the mentorship of Arthur Erickson, was responsible for hundreds of residences up and down the West Coast of Canada.

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Boundary Bay Residence was bought by our clients in 2015 with a view to sensitively remodel the home. They brought Frits de Vries Architects + Associates, along with interior design firm Marrimor, on to the design team with primary objectives of enhancing the street presence and clarifying entry sequence, developing exterior living areas to refine relationships to the site, and building envelope remediation. Respecting Dan White’s original geometry and architectural language, a new approach to detailing and planning resolution was brought to the project. The house, now thoughtfully refreshed by FdVA and Marrimor, provides a bright, joyful space reflective of its new owners.

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The original home unapologetically closed itself off to the public. Guests were presented with an ambiguous entry which, if navigated successfully, brought them through the six car garage to the front door located within. FdVA pared back the extensive screening, unveiling the layered massing of the home, opening a conversation with the street.

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Movement into the house is now carefully choreographed. Behind the custom designed front door, now visible from the street, a spectacular new 30ft x 9ft skylight floats over the length of the new entry passage. The slow transition of the reimagined entry reinforces a gentle decompression and calm assimilation to the interior. The walk-on skylight often gives an early glimpse of life within the home.

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The new entrance arrangement moves the point of arrival to the base of the curved feature stair, drawing guests up to the main living space. The stair also frames the central core of the home, a geometrically landscaped courtyard. FdVA’s early examination of the original plans revealed the home’s geometry radiates from a central node within this courtyard. This focal point was celebrated with the introduction of a new large Japanese maple tree, visible throughout the home.

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Moving up the curved courtyard stair takes you to the main living space. One is presented with the first glimpse of the panoramic ocean views visible through the perimeter ribbon of curtainwall glazing and full-height glass sliding doors.

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Not wanting the space to compete with the stunning views of the beach, Marrimor opted to take a relaxed and casual approach to the Living Room furnishings. Curated pieces casually sit within the expansive gallery plan creating a series of connected, yet intimately scaled, spaces. The 10 foot, two-way fireplace from Dan White’s original 1990 design was retained, but simplified in keeping with the new relaxed aesthetic of the space.

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The muted exterior palette of concrete, stucco, and glass continue throughout the home, softened with the addition of warm wood tones, lush mohair and velvet upholstery. The original dull pink tone of the concrete floor and decks, was corrected with a hand-applied polished epoxy concrete topping. The end result is a seamless surface from inside to out, reflecting light deep into the home.

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Located one level above the living room, the private master suite presents a more compressed ceiling height. To balance proportions Marrimor selected low form furniture pieces. Keeping the space simple while not sacrificing function in the master bedroom was achieved by incorporating hidden storage in the custom upholstered headboard. In an effort to keep the focus on the beach view, the TV was concealed in the ceiling, on an automatic drop-down panel. Interior and exterior lighting throughout was completely redesigned, with careful attention paid to night reflections and views.

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The exterior works also formed a significant scope of work. The shape of the original sixty five-foot pool was simplified and extended with an infinity reflecting pool, drawing the ocean deep into the property. Extension of the beachfront patio further blurs the distinction between the garden and tidal flats from its elevated position as well as from the interior. The hot tub was relocated from its exposed position in the centre of the courtyard to a more private, less prominent location on the rear deck looking down the length of the pool towards the ocean.

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A large new 3-panel slider opens the kitchen and family room to the rear entertainment deck and outdoor kitchen, sheltered from beachfront winds. Playfulness is introduced to both the deck and entry below by brave guests walking across the “void” on the clear skylight bridge.

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Over 25 years the wet West Coast climate and sea air had taken its toll on the building and framing within. Throughout the 3 year remodelling a comprehensive building envelope review was undertaken. Underperforming assembly details were identified by FdVA and carefully redesigned to balance modern Code requirements against the original design aesthetic.

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From the outset of the project, the collective goal of the design team was to let Dan White’s original design shine while creating a functional home for our clients that is understated, yet aesthetically driven. The three-year+ journey took creativity in both architectural and interior design, technical detailing, and respect for Dan White’s original vision, in order to transform this stunning home for its new Owners.