Urban living: Laneway housing boom, cool condos, and more

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      In our fall urban living issue, we look at laneway homes from all angles; plus, condo conversation pieces, a wine cellar for those cramped for space, painting furniture, and more.

      The not-so-little laneway house

      Laneway homes sprouting up across Lower Mainland

      Vancouver's 13c Wine Storage takes the stress out of collecting

      Master architect Daniel Evan White is in the spotlight at last

      Paint guru Annie Sloan works cool hues and French flair

      For hot interiors, the accent is on audacious

      New shops furnish fall with felt, vintage, and wood

      Unexpected finds from bike tables to Murphy beds




      Oct 17, 2013 at 11:53am

      Working in the industry,I visit between 20 and 40 construction sites each day. The one part that really gets to me is the way unskilled, unlicensed crews are used on the vast majority of projects I see. Whether a 5 million dollar house in West Van or a $300,000 home in Delta, the quality of workmanship on MOST projects is atrocious. Inspectors don't care about quality of workmanship, accuracy of saw cuts,fit and finish of framing etc. as long as the building code standards are met (which don't include quality of workmanship). Young couples are then forced to spend the next 20-40 years paying for a home of substandard quality because, in order to remain market competitive, they have to seek the lowest bids for work and install the cheapest products they can source. On the other hand, there are some EXTREMELY talented and capable builders out there, who build absolutely stunning homes, usually not for to much more than the poorly built homes but they seem to stick with custom builds and not spec homes. Judging by what I see each day, the only way I would even consider buying another home is if it was built by contractors I hired myself and watched each stage meticulously. Even the major property developers are hiring the cheapest subcontracts they can. For the most part, our housing market is a joke...if you find making a bad $300,000+ investment to be funny.


      Oct 18, 2013 at 10:18pm

      yea, that's what you can hope to aspire to Vancouver young people, a 'home' in the alley - that's if you have a professional salary x2. Go and explore the rest of Canada, where you can get a real home. I agree, this couple is suave and the clothes and hats, wowie, but it won't matter squat when you want to have kids and have a real home life. I was worried when my son left Vancouver but now he and his partner are on an acreage in another province, surrounded by other young families and much better of for taking the risk. Vancouver has just become too expensive

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      Oct 19, 2013 at 12:05pm

      She must be proud of her man, living in his parents' backyard.

      Laneway home critic critc

      Nov 5, 2013 at 12:23pm

      I find it interesting that a lot of laneway housing critics mask their *real* concern -- losing their big spacious neighbourhoods of yesteryear to a reasonable level of densification to make room for growing populations and help share space more equally -- as concern for some laneway home dweller's masculinity, supposedly eroded by living in his parents' 'backyard', or as concern that some young couple won't know when to move out of a laneway home when it becomes too small for their growing family. Living close to extended family is a sensible strategy on so many levels, and the norm in more parts of the world than not... and while I don't see laneway homes as necessarily offering more affordable housing, I do see it as broadening rental options, which can't be a bad thing.