RSAAW adds double-height library during Vancouver home renovation

Berkley House by RSAAW

Canadian studio RSAAW has renovated a mid-century house in Vancouver to include a double-height library, all-white interiors and a treehouse in the garden.

The project, called Berkley House, is a two-storey house with a dark facade surrounded by trees in North Vancouver.

RSAAW designed the project in Vancouver
The walls and ceilings have been painted bright white

Local firm RSAAW transformed the family home into a bright and airy space by connecting its previously separated two levels and painting the gallery-like interior in white.

A slanted roof features large skylights that emphasise the central atrium space of the open-plan ground floor. Prior to the renovation, this level was a mortgage helper suite.

Berkley House is in North Vancouver
The double-height library by the stairs

“Family spaces were somewhat cloistered, with minimal natural light entering key areas,” said RSAAW.

Berkley House’s connected levels are anchored by a double-height library formed by stacked boxes of light wood. The wooden bookcase is built into the staircase linking the levels together.

“The home’s sense of space was further augmented by vaulting ceilings throughout the main floor, ” continued the studio.

“Adding oversized glazing to allowed for views of the North Vancouver greenery in the garden and beyond, filling the home with light even on overcast days.”

RSAAW renovated the house's interior with a double height library
Large skylights bring natural light into the house

The lower level’s circulation was also improved by turning a former mechanical room into a hallway with discreet storage, which contrasts with the open living space alongside it that is filled with custom millwork and pops of colour.

Previously inaccessible attic space has been converted into a cosy children’s playroom, with a multicoloured carpet that is echoed in the strips of painted timber that mark the entrance to a treehouse outside.

RSAAW converted the property's attic into a cosy playroom
The children’s playroom was formerly an attic

Built around a Douglas fir tree, the understated treehouse blends with its surroundings, injecting a playfulness to the otherwise minimal home.

RSAAW also replaced the home’s forced-air central heating system with energy-efficient underfloor heating and installed triple-glazed windows throughout the building.

A treehouse is built around a Douglas fir tree outside
Colourful slats feature in the treehouse

RSAAW is a Vancouver architecture firm founded by Rafael Santa Ana.

Other recent mid-century renovation projects include a modernised Melbourne apartment by architect Murray Baker and artist Esther Stewart and a holiday home on Fire Island in the Atlantic by American studio Andrew Franz Architect.

Photography is by Ema Peter.

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