The Screen House
High on the crest of Massey Heights, in one of the most significant clusters of modernist homes in Metro Vancouver, sits the iconic Screen House.
Recast from the footprint of a classic 1954 New Westminster bungalow, and reimagined to retain its original West Coast post-and-beam styling, The Screen House is a Randy Bens-designed modern masterpiece, so architecturally significant that its 2008 redesign earned a place in the pages of 21st Century Houses: 150 of the World’s Best, published in 2010.
The home has also been featured in local and international magazines and websites, including ArchDaily, and has been a popular attraction on Vancouver-area architectural tours. It won an award from the Canadian Homebuilders’ Association for the Best Whole House Renovation Over $500,000, as well as a nomination from the 2009 Georgie Awards.
Working with the specific vision of the current owners, Bens — who worked with legendary Vancouver architect Arthur Erickson — was commissioned to add a second floor to the existing L-shaped bungalow to be dedicated just for the parents. The 1,000-square-foot layout includes a master bedroom with an oversized sliding wood door entry, a full bathroom with sustainable finishings, a light-filled art studio and a private deck— as well as a separate secret inner open-air courtyard — to take in the expansive city, river and mountain views. An open “bridge” walkway, overlooking the main floor living room, links the 260-square-foot artist studio and the master suite.
This incredible renovation remained sympathetic to the home’s original influences while increasing its overall mass without compromising its lines. To downplay the increased verticality of the design, create balance and provide shade for the southwest-facing living room, the new second storey was fronted by a 10×40-foot horizontally slatted screen that extends across the entire facade of the home. The angled vertical screen made from timber and anodized aluminum creates an interplay of light and shadow throughout the home. The sloping roof lines and exposed rafters and beams are also a purposeful nod to the history of the home.
Located in one of New Westminster’s most sought-after neighbourhoods, this generous 3,755-square-foot home offers incredible family living on three levels. The 1,690-square-foot open main floor — the domain of the couple’s sons — features two bedrooms, an office and two full bathrooms. The living room, with stacked windows and a gas fireplace with Limestone surround, boasts near 19-foot ceilings. The central kitchen opens on to a flex space, as well as a separate dining room, which has a gas fireplace, along with access to a back deck overlooking a private Zen-like back yard with patios, a hot tub and mature landscaping. The floating steel and wood-tread staircase that connects the main and upper floors echoes the openness of the home’s airy layout.
Head to the lower level and you’ll find a spacious recreation/media room with a gas fireplace and original stone surround, reclaimed fir floors, a full bathroom with original vintage blue fixtures, a converted workout space, a cold room, laundry area and an abundance of storage space.
The Screen House is a spectacular example of what it means to preserve and pay homage to the mid-20th century architectural style that was the family bungalow. In reimagining the house with an eye to the future, the owners chose not to tear it down but instead to celebrate its strong bones and architectural heritage. They preserved the original white oak flooring with inlay that was in the living and dining rooms and main floor bedrooms, and opted to blend new with old, by using modern materials and bespoke elements like the upstairs window surrounded by a bookcase, the bamboo cabinets and PaperStone countertops.
A separate two-car garage at the back of the 62×116-square-foot property has lane access.
Don’t miss your chance to call this one-of-a-kind residence your home. Call today to book your private showing.
Showings by appointment – call Lori at 604-312-0738 or email email@example.com for more information about this property.
York Street (Project Brief Overview)
Screen House / Randy Bens Architect
Architect Randy Bens Plays with Light and Shadow in New Westminster “Screen House”
Screen House | Randy Bens Architect
The Vancouver Sun: A screen, a bridge, and a stylish reno