DH and I took advantage of the unseasonably warm weather a couple of weekends ago to walk over to Commercial Drive and shop in some of the little stores that line that avenue.
We started off our stroll by walking down the alley for about five blocks — and we found a laneway home on every block. All new, of course, all built under the former design rules with one-and-a-half stories and no outside parking pad, all looking very nice….and all looking very much the same.
I can’t blame people for wanting to avoid the extra cost of designing their own laneway homes. And the Craftsman style that predominates is certainly handsome. But I am glad that some of the local builders are including new and innovative designs in their catalogues.
Smallworks got lots of press this past week with their brand-new design for a glass-brick house. The whole house is not built of glass brick, but the all four walls have a cheery glow:
The design has got lots of attention. I read about it in The Vancouver Sun, VanCity Buzz, Curbed, and Eater. There was even a letter to the editor in the Sun that worried about the house contributing to light pollution. That’s more fuss about one laneway house than I’ve seen since the early days (oh, those pioneer days of laneway housing — two years ago).
I like the design, there are two versions of the plans, and I think it would be a welcome addition to any block. And, as I said, I am happy to see a different and innovative look available without a custom design.
I don’t think I could live there (for one thing there is my proclivity to throw stones, and you know what they say….) it’s a little too bright — on a sunny day the light would pour in. But it’s a handsome house, a good use of space, and a nice different design.
On another note:
Laneway housing might be coming to the Queen City. New Westminster Council is currently discussing
the interest and feasibility of introducing laneway and coach houses similar to those allowed by the City of Vancouver.
Affordable housing is a problem throughout the entire Lower Mainland, not just in the city of Vancouver, so communities throughout the area are looking into a variety of solutions, and laneway housing is just one of them. New Westminster Council is discussing whether to go ahead with laneway housing or to wait and make it part of a much larger neighbourhood planning process currently planned for two years down the road.
The more the merrier, say I. I believe fervently that laneway houses has a place in the mix of housing in any community. It’s true that they don’t dramatically reduce the need for affordable housing but they do relieve the under-supply of homes in the area.
Fingers crossed the plan goes ahead.