Canadian studio Falken Reynolds has chosen stark white surfaces and contemporary finishes to enhance the original features of a historic Vancouver residence.

The local firm renovated the ground floor of a 100-year-old townhouse on Hemlock Street, in the city’s South Granville neighbourhood.

Taking its name from its location, the project involved retaining the home’s character while updating many of the features.

“A thoroughly modern interior with nods to its heritage roots was the brief for this 110-year-old South Granville townhouse,” said Falken Reynolds, led by Chad Falkenberg and Kelly Reynolds.

A new open-plan layout puts a kitchen at the core and a dining nook nearby. A sitting room is located at the front entrance and is visually separated from the kitchen by a corner fireplace.

“Converting a series of tiny rooms to an open plan involved shoring up the crumbling foundations, adding structural beams and raising parts of the floor,” said the studio.

“The central, sizeable kitchen – an important feature for the client – occupies more than half of the square footage of the main floor, but appears smaller by way of colour-blocked forms and materials.”

Falken Reynolds optimised space by building one stationary kitchen island and added a nearby dining table at the same height. Supported on industrial caster wheels, the table can be moved easily to make space when necessary.

The fixed island incorporates electrical and mechanical systems, while the movable element can also make way for an extended surface for larger dinner parties.

“The result was a space for two chefs to work their magic in the kitchen and then transform the space into a large dining room to host multi-course meals,” said the studio.

The kitchen cabinetry and countertops are contemporary, and juxtapose with the home’s historic details. The use of white and wood surfaces throughout help to tie the interiors together.

Preserved details in the home include oiled oak herringbone floors, an exposed red brick wall, Shaker-style doors with crystal doorknobs, and a carved, dark wood balustrade along the stairwell.

“Old and new mingle effortlessly, and pay homage to the building’s history,” said the studio.

Other updates to older residential projects in Vancouver include a shingled one-bedroom annex for a laneway house in Point Grey by Campos Studio and a 100-year-old home overhauled with exposed beams inside by D’Arcy Jones Architecture.

Photography is by Janis Nicolay.