John Street House

Tucked onto a narrow 25-foot-wide lot, this monochromatic, modern new home assumes maximal exterior width while displaying expansive, open spaces on the inside.

Location Vancouver, east side Type Residential, single family Size 2,600 sf Architect Scott Posno Designer &Daughters Completion Fall 2018 Photographer silentSama architectural photography

Narrow lot, wide range of innovation

Constructing a house on a very narrow lot meant we had to come up with innovative ways of working around the challenges. The pathway to the left of the house had to meet the city's code for clearances and allow for emergency access. We rerouted the ventilation and plumbing systems — which would normally come out of the side of the house — and extended them up through the roof, all while maintaining the exterior aesthetic required by the architect. After many rounds of samples, approvals and revisions with the architect and homeowner, we achieved a uniform white colour for the non-textured stucco on the top floor and the vertical wood cladding on the main floor.

There was no room to hide the slightest imperfection within the limited width and modern design aesthetic. We constructed a false ceiling to hide the mechanical and electrical within 12 inches of the ceilings, which still left an expansive nine-foot ceiling throughout the main floor. 

We recessed the fireplace into the exterior wall (while still insulating it adequately to code), to make it flush with the interior finishings. This allowed us to achieve as wide as possible a living room space.

“We found the process of designing and building a new home exciting, but also stressful. Kenton and his team took a lot of that stress out of the project by being diligent and professional. They kept us up to speed on everything throughout the project so there were no surprises.

We are very pleased with the finished product and any issues since moving in have been dealt with promptly. We are happy to recommend Lepp Construction to anybody looking build a new home.”

– B., homeowner

Laser precision

The five individual Muuto light fixtures are in perfect position over the table in this narrow eating area. We mocked this up many times prior to the lighting and flooring installation. After drawing the table and bench to scale on the floor, we placed the electrical boxes in various positions around the diagram, and with help from the interior designer, moved them around until we got it right. Then we used lasers to project the precise installation locations on the ceiling.

The exact reveals of the flush fireplace required precise framing. We used a non-combustible substrate behind the powder-coated black steel, which surrounds the fireplace above and below the black granite ledge. The custom basalt stone surround doubles as a bench. We used a crane to lift the stone over the garage in the alley to position it exactly in place. 

A team of eight lifted the kids’ playhouse, which once belonged to the landscape designer’s grown children, into position before we installed the fencing. Frequented by a new set of young children, its weathered but modern look matches the design and architecture of the main house.

It's all in the details

The powder room involved complex planning and time-intensive labour. We positioned the medicine cabinet door slightly further in so it could fully open without hitting the custom accent lighting on the side wall. The hinge of the medicine cabinet aligns exactly with the vanity cabinet below, which also had to allow for the exact positioning of the sink and wall-mount faucets. To get the spacing and balance between the faucet and sink just right, we made wall drawings and small adjustments to create a functional space for hand washing.

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