Vinson House before the HRA redevelopment.

Vinson House before the HRA redevelopment.

1425 Gordon Avenue, West Vancouver

vinson house

The Vinson House is a large, Craftsman-style bungalow which used to sit on an over-sized lot in the lower Ambleside area of West Vancouver. It sits on the southern edge of what was originally a 5.4-acre lot, which was a typical real estate purchase at the time. The property was subdivided in 1940 and the original house retained one-quarter of an acre of land. It was built in 1913 for Valient Vinson, who was Reeve (Mayor) of West Vancouver in the 1920’s.

The Vinson House was the first house in the upper Hollyburn area, and is an excellent example of the Craftsman Style. It is valued for its architecture, age, the development patterns it illustrates, and the significance of its original owner. The Vinson House was added to the West Vancouver Community Heritage Register in 2008. This provided formal recognition of its heritage value, but did not provide any form of legal protection

In 2014, the owners decided to downsize, but they also wanted to ensure the retention of their home. So, they found a development partnership (The Geller Group and Trasolini Chetner) to buy the house and they undertook to do a Heritage Revitalization Agreement that would legally protect the house in return for the opportunity to develop the property as follows:

  • Move the heritage home forward and add a garden suite in the basement level of the house;

  • Add a detached dwelling unit to the northeast corner (Laneway Cottage 1,447 sq ft);

  • Add a detached dwelling unit to the southeast corner (Garden Cottage 1,574 sq ft);

  • Add garages to the rear lane;

  • Put a strata title on the property with a total of four strata units, with one enclosed parking space per unit;

  • Build to a Floor Area Ratio (FAR) of 0.59, which is more than is allowed by the current zoning in the DWV

On June 6, 2016 the "Vinson House" became a legally protected heritage resource when Council approved the Heritage Designation Bylaw and the Heritage Revitalization Agreement. At the time of writing, the construction of the laneway and garden cottages had not yet begun.

 

Vinson House, Gordon Avenue, West Vancouver, built in 1913

Vinson House, Gordon Avenue, West Vancouver, built in 1913

West Vancouver, circa 1921

West Vancouver, circa 1921