A Vancouver Special is a building design that was popular in Vancouver and East Vancouver in the 1960s and 1970s. Boxy, plain, and often kind of boring, it’s a style that is only found in this area!

The housing style definitely fell out of favour in the 80s. But many of the homes still stand and most of them are in need of major renovations.

The Befores

According to the Vancouver Heritage Foundation, Vancouver Specials are front-gabled, 2-storey, boxy houses built on grade with very shallow-pitched roofs. They also have a  distinctive shallow balcony on the second floor that is accessed by sliding glass doors off the living room.

Inside, the rooms are small and chopped up, and the storage space is definitely limited.

The kitchen in this Vancouver Special was very small and dark, especially by today’s standards. Not a lot of counter or storage space.

And look at the tiny bathroom below. Believe it or not, this was the main bathroom off of the primary bedroom.

When we at Alair White Rock were asked to renovate this Vancouver Special in East Vancouver, we knew it was going to call for extensive work. For starters, most of these homes have asbestos: Abatement was mandatory.

The homeowners wanted to open up the main floor living space and increase the size of the kitchen and the bathrooms. And, most importantly, they wanted their home to become energy efficient.

We documented this entire renovation from start to finish. What a transformation! To watch it, click the photo below.

More After Photos:

We worked on this project with the design team at Madelaine Design Group. The home now features a large kitchen with a ton of counter and storage space. The homeowners love the clean and bright aesthetic.

That small, somewhat unusable patio off the front of the house was removed and replaced with a large window. The space is now bright, fresh, and modern.

And look at that new primary bathroom! The shower area is almost as big as the old bathroom. The homeowners are loving the two sinks, large vanity, and all the extra space and storage.

The downstairs was also completely gutted and redone. The couple’s two boys now have a big playroom area to call their own.

If you’re looking to renovate your Vancouver Special or any other style of home, be sure to get in touch!