Vancouver Special: After Renovation – Pechet & Robb

Vancouver Special reno by Pechet & Robb, architects

The house above at centre, a lowly style known as a Vancouver Special, is shown here prior to its renovation about six years ago by Vancouver architects Pechet and Robb. This renovation was one of the earliest of a current spate of Vancouver Special overhauls, and it’s probably still the most famous. See Canadian Architect magazine and also here. As the previous post explains, the Vancouver Special is a generic, mass-produced contractor’s house design unique to Vancouver. A great number of these houses were built between about 1965 and 1985 until finally the City of Vancouver began to actively suppress them. Now, thanks to their lower prices and the fact that their simple shapes lend them to easy modernization, they are undergoing a revival. Their boxy shape makes them feel surprisingly large, especially when interior walls are removed. You can see from the interior shots below how easily the exteriors and interiors can be switched over from cheesy 70s suburban to something almost midcentury modern. The Pechet and Robb house has an almost Scandinavian modern feel – you’d have to be familiar with Vancouver Specials to know how different this feels from the original. The bottom photo shows the garage. Photos are from, where there is also a description of the renovation. See also more photos of this house on Flickr.


Vancouver Special by Pechet & Robb, living room

Vancouver Special by Pechet & Robb, bathroom

Vancouver Special by Pechet & Robb, top and bottom of stairs

Vancouver Special by Pechet & Robb, dining room

Vancouver Special by Pechet & Robb, garage

PS. As you’ll see in the next post, it seems to be almost standard practice with Vancouver Special exterior makeovers to go with a combination of dark charcoal-grey paint with unpainted Douglas fir wood facing. It may have been Pechet and Robb who started that trend with this much-publicized house.

2 comments on "Vancouver Special: After Renovation – Pechet & Robb"

  1. Nice to see the Vancouver Special finally get some recognition. I’ve always liked these houses and thought they had at least as much potential as the classic California Ranch. The formula is the same in both cases: bring them down to their bones, open them up, expose the beams, and add lots of glass.

  2. Wow. I covet the space in a Vancouver Special. Someone tried to talk us into buying one, but we were fixated on the 100 year old falling down one instead. Very inspiring. And the removal of plaster lions…..LOL………

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