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European Minimalism in the Canadian Treetops

Difficult to imagine that this clean and bright home in the lush treetops of Vancouver was once “badly maintained, filthy and smelly, with gloomy carpet,” as its owner, architectural designer Anja Henche, describes it. Henche spent annually refreshing the home, first by opening the upper-level floor plan along with knocking down a wall, then entirely revamping a enclosed kitchen layout to make the most of the surrounding viewpoints, including neighboring Eagle Harbour. She overcame the home’s unpleasant starts by adding fresh whitewashed oak floors, crisp white walls and crystal-clear skylights that create a light-filled fortress from the canopy.

at a Glance
Who lives here: Anja Henche, son Anton (age 13), daughter Ella (11) and puppy Max
Location: West Vancouver
Size: 2,300square feet; 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms

Heather Merenda

The top level is dedicated to the dining, kitchen and living areas. Naturally, Henche hangs out the most. “It feels fantastic to be high up in the trees and very personal,” she says.

What was once an outdated box of a kitchen is now a bright and modern space available to the dining and living areas. The Sub-Zero refrigerator had to be craned in, because it didn’t fit through the staircase. “It required three different crane vehicle attempts until a very short truck could make it up my really steep driveway. Fortunately, it worked at the end,” Henche says.

She made the kitchen island with entertaining in mind. The drop-down pub countertop is a 3-foot-thick rift-cut white walnut veneer.

Stools: Bombo Stool by Magis, Inform Interiors; painting: Regine Spangenthal

Heather Merenda

The 19-millimeter-thick Fox Island granite countertops are from Stone Galaxy from North Vancouver. Henche replaced an outdated and murky skylight with a brand new one to bring in sharp all-natural light.

Sink, faucet: Cantu; appliances: Wolf, Sub-Zero and Asko

Heather Merenda

To compensate for a lack of kitchen storage, Henche made a floating console just off the kitchen, with colored panel doors and color-changing LED lights beneath. Antique iron measuring cups out of Europe are displayed on top.

Heather Merenda

A classic pendant light by Achille Castiglioni that Henche picked up in Europe hangs over a rustic looking wood table.

Dining table: The Carriage House; pendant: Frisbi for Flos by Castiglioni

Heather Merenda

Metal hand railings were painted white, while another small, gloomy skylight was replaced with a bigger custom-size one.

Painting: Regine Spangenthal

Heather Merenda

Henche made and upholstered a habit sectional with bright crimson Tritex fabric to give the living room a jolt of color. In true European style, she added Gaulhofer Windows out of Austria. The Tilt and Turn model revealed here from the living room is an inward-swinging window controlled with just one handle for an easy-to-use three-position functioning: locking, leaning and opening.

The timber artwork over the sofa is from the set of a small Vancouver production and has been a present from Henche’s buddy.

Sofa: Vance Upholstery;side chair: Chi armchair, 18 Karat; coffee table: Noguchi Table, Living Room

Heather Merenda

Having the hills and ocean within walking space is attractive to Henche. “I was also drawn to the right lines and boxiness of this space,” she says. The telescope affords close-up viewpoints of Thunderbird Marina at Eagle Harbour.

Heather Merenda

The previous homeowners used this space as a dining room, but Henche turned it to some lounge.The fireplace was once a shiny stone. Henche sprayed it with matte black barbecue grill paint to give it a much more modern end.

A lady’s bust figure was a present from among Henche’s clients. She spray painted it silver to complement the Fatboy beanbag chair. The horse statue is from Peking Lounge in Vancouver’s Chinatown, while the LC1 side chair was bought in Basel, Switzerland.

Cowhide rug: Ikea, side tables: Living Room

Heather Merenda

“The two bathrooms were completely dated — 1970s. Dark blue tiles, old bathrooms, old bathtub. The light was dreadful,” she says. Glass shower tiles in Henche’s favorite shade of green along with a sleek white floating vanity gave this one a much-needed upgrade.

Faucet, showerhead: Newform; bathroom: Duravit; teal statue: Peking Lounge

Heather Merenda

By extending the north wall and taking room from the laundry and laundry space, Henche made this en suite toilet bigger. It now has a tiled-in shower behind the doorway. The custom mirror is complete height from the counter into the ceiling and also doubles as a backsplash.

Toilet, sink basin: Duravit; faucet: Newform; artwork: PjƤtteryd, Ikea

Heather Merenda

The landscape artwork in Henche’s bedroom is a photo she taken of the Oregon shore that she published on canvas.

Bedding: Bed Bath & Beyond; bed frame: Nood (now closed); side-by-side: HomeSense; bedside table, lamps: Ikea

Heather Merenda

Henche imported all of the window coverings found throughout the home from Germany. “All these are up-down plissee [pleated] window coverings that are mounted within the actual window frame. The profile is very modest,” she says.

Desk: Vika Amon, Ikea; chair: bought in Berlin; window coverings: Plisee-Experte

Heather Merenda

The entryway decor nods to Henche’s extensive journeys — she was born in Germany, was increased in Switzerland and studied in France. The hand-knotted Tibetan rug has been brought back out of a trip exploring Northern India.

Henche replaced all the exterior and interior doors except for the front door, which she painted white on the interior and orange on the exterior. She inherited the gold gilded mirror and wooden table from her grandma. Hanging on the rear hallway wall is just one of Henche’s pictures printed on picture of a train station in Basel, Switzerland, that features a disco ball.

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