North Shore builder wins Georgie for best top-end renovation in BC

georgie award, top renovation

A spectacular transformation of a Mountain Highway home has earned a Georgie Award for North Shore-based builder Shakespeare Homes & Renovations. The creekside heritage home re-creation overcame zoning and engineering challenges to earn an award for quality and kudos for stream protection.

The award, for the best renovation over $800,000 across the province, was announced Feb. 1 by the Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA) of B.C.

“We started with a rundown two-storey 1960s house that was hiding in the dark down by a creek and was beginning to slide toward it,” says Mark Cooper, president of Shakespeare Homes.

Says Mike, the owner: “I wanted to make it look like it’s always been here, a heritage home built a hundred years ago.”

But newer zoning rules required wide setbacks from the property’s boundaries and from the creek that runs through it. There was really no place left on the site for a new house.

“We would have been forced to put it right up against the street”, says Mike. As well, there were stringent height and square footage restrictions, permission required for streamside building and the site’s design, engineering and construction challenges. “It was difficult.”

“Shakespeare went to the District and found out what was required.” The existing house could be rebuilt where it sat. “We jumped all these hurdles throughout the project, without really too much involvement of my own.”

“We added a third floor, bringing more light as well as new sweeping views of the city,” says Cooper. “But the big thing was using actual 1880s architecture while exceeding current codes, the latest energy efficiency standards and green guidelines.”

“This wasn’t the most expensive renovation entered in the over-$800,000 category, but it was intricate,” Cooper says. “As well as the 19th-century-style materials and craftsmanship, we had to overcome those zoning and environmental challenges.”

That meant designing a natural storm water treatment system that collects, stores, filters and releases runoff back to the creek – to avoid disrupting the landscape for connections. Once that was in place, the house was supported while the foundation was restored using some 32 two-ton concrete lock-blocks.

Then the house was rebuilt, with impeccable heritage stonework, shingle siding and 1880s-style millwork throughout. Intricate cathedral framing enabled maximum space and headroom on the top floor, within the tight height and eave restrictions. A custom HVAC system avoids ceiling drops, as in 19th century homes using radiators.

The matching, extrawide carriage-house-style garage is fully plumbed and heated and also features framing that allows clearance for car lifts.

The creek remained undisturbed and was enhanced with walkways and stonework into a park-like setting. The District has called the result “a masterful example of stream-side protection.”

Shakespeare Homes & Renovations was also a Georgie finalist for Best Renovation in the $300,000-500,000 range for a Deep Cove project.