Image: Tracey Ayton | Designer: Sophie Burke
How a 1950s bungalow evolved into a West Coast icon for a couple who wants their kids to grow up close to nature.
As a little girl, Cindy Mast loved to run free, heading home only once the sun began to set. Childhood was similar for her husband, John, who spent a lot of his youth playing in the forest in his backyard. “The kind of outdoor joy and freedom we had as kids was something we really wanted to pass along to our own children,” says Cindy, who found the perfect spot to do just that in the Eagle Harbour community of West Vancouver in 2015. The only trouble? The home itself was far from perfect — dated, dark and too small for their young family of four. But, committed to the landscape, the couple took deep breaths and purchased the sad and dingy bungalow, planning to make it flawless with the help of designer Sophie Burke.
From the start, Sophie understood the couple’s desire to raise their young family in a bright happy space that was, above all, welcoming. It was clear that the Masts value nature, simplicity and the company of friends and family. “For us, the question isn’t, ‘Who’s coming over?’ says Cindy. “The question is, ‘When?’”
Sophie worked in tandem with friends of Cindy and John’s — a contractor and a custom home designer who raised the roof, added dormers and conceived a spacious back extension. For the exterior, they went bold, opting for a striking combination of white and black to accentuate the home’s new architectural lines and many windows. What had once been a dreary little dwelling is now a crisp-looking 4,000-square-foot modern farmhouse with coastal nuances.
Sophie started with Cindy’s favourite colours: a spectrum of blues, from turquoise to navy. The fresh palette was underscored with a quiet nod to beachside living, from the white walls to the warm white oak floors.
Natural elements are must-haves in a home committed to casual comfort and warmth, so wood, linen, cotton and wool make cameos in almost every room. “The spaces are open, clean and modern, but they’re welcoming, not slick, thanks to these organic elements,” says Sophie. The house feels comfy and approachable, with its wide-open spaces (that fit the whole family, plus their friends), durable materials (that easily wipe clean) and banks of built-ins (that neatly stow toys, crafts and other messy markers of a full family life).
The four-bedroom forever home has enough outdoor space for a yard, a patio, a bocce area, an edible garden and a trampoline. It’s a place that the Mast’s children, Jack, 11, and Madeline, 9, are proud to invite friends to play in until the sun goes down, and one that they’ll remember for the rest of their lives. Which was exactly Sophie’s intent. “I have three kids of my own,” she says. “And, like Cindy and John, I believe in spaces where kids can be kids.” After all, it’s their home, too – and it will be the foundation of so many of their memories.
Homeowner Cindy Mast’s bike – which once belonged to her grandfather – was painted aqua and sits outside the front door of her bright modern farmhouse-style home.
Beachy hues in the entryway echo the nearby Pacific Ocean. The glass and wood banister is a far cry from the black metal railing that once stood here.
Designer Sophie Burke planned this poured-concrete surround for the wood-burning fireplace in the living room. “It anchors the space,” says Cindy, who adores spending family time by the fire during Vancouver’s cold wet months.
“The encaustic cement tiles, which reminded the homeowners of travels to East Africa, were our focal point,” says Sophie, so she designed the master bath around them. The mirrored medicine cabinets are recessed to optimize storage.
“I love these stools,” says Cindy, adding that when it comes to family-friendly seating, these top her list. The seats are plastic, so they easily wipe clean. Metal bars are sturdy enough for climbing kids, and wooden legs impart the modern farmhouse look she was after.
“Displays on these floating shelves can be changed with the seasons, so the kitchen always looks fresh,” says Sophie. She recommends open shelving as a supplement to kitchen cabinetry, not a replacement.
The kitchen celebrates all things fresh. Black hardware contrasts with the pale grey Shaker-style cabinets and the herringbone subway tile backsplash.
Plastic mesh and metal seating in pale grey is soft and serene enough for lazy days, but the homeowners are no strangers to hauling their dining table outside for alfresco dinners.
“In warmer months, you’ll find us out here in the morning with our coffee press, watching neighbourhood kids trickle in to bounce on our trampoline,” says Cindy. “Or, in the evening, having chilled wine with friends before a game of bocce.”