Vancouver Special: After – 4 Renovations

Vancouver Special - before

For those who haven’t been following along, the above is what Vancouverites call a Vancouver Special (seeĀ previous post to learn more about this house style). All of the houses below are, believe it or not, updated Vancouver Specials. They were part of a recent tour organized by the Vancouver Heritage Foundation. It’s nice that the denigrated Vancouver Special house style is now being viewed as heritage, because until recently, heritage in Vancouver has fairly narrowly meant Edwardian and Victorian housing. As you can see, the Vancouver Specials below vary in their degree of divergence from the original house style, with the last house shown varying only slightly from the original, while the first varies the most. Thoughts? Perhaps because of the example set by this famous VS restoration, everyone seems to be using the combination of dark charcoal grey with unpainted wood. Unfortunately, interior photography wasn’t allowed.

Vancouver Special renovation

Vancouver Special, updated

Vancouver Special, updated

Vancouver Special, updated

My favourite is the house below, and not just because it was updated by my friend Scott.

Vancouver Special renovation

The last house, below, is interesting just because it was fixed up with very little alteration. A paint job, removal of some plaster lions, very little waste, and very little money spent. Most of the renovations just involved opening up the interiors; in this one, the only wall removed was between the living room and kitchen. On the exteriors, the distressed faux brick was painted charcoal and the soffits were stripped down to the bare wood.

Vancouver Special, updated

Vancouver Special, updated

Vancouver Special, updated

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5 Responses to “Vancouver Special: After – 4 Renovations”

  1. ii-ne-kore Says:

    i like your friend scott’s fixed up one, too. very simple, understated and such a pleasing contrast of the matt black and wood.

  2. Aemelia Says:

    I’m looking into buying a “vancouver special” and love the update done by your friend Scott! Would you happen to know the name of his designer and/or contractor?

  3. LB Says:

    Scott did his himself, unfortunately! So he’s the designer/contractor, but he doesn’t do that for a living. I’m not sure who I could recommend.

  4. Paul M Says:


    I have a vancoucver special which is currently under renos at the moment, I have some pics..I was going to post them on here but I dont know how..If someone can help me get them up I can post them. Thanks..


  5. LB Says:

    Hi Paul,

    I’m not adding any more photos to this post but if you upload your photos somewhere (are you on Flickr? Picasa? Twitpic?) you can put links to them in the comments here. Thanks! Lindsay

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