Architect blog, architect vancouver, architect west vancouver, north shore

Category: Architect Blog

Architect Blog

Will Changes to West Vancouver’s By-Laws affect your plans?

Will Changes to West Vancouver’s By-Laws affect your plans?

You may have heard about the West Vancouver zoning changes. These new zoning by-law changes are going to affect what is possible when building a new home in West Vancouver. If a new build is on your radar you NEED to be aware of this. As of January 31, 2022 these changes will become law. 

We all know that ownership of land doesn’t mean you can do what you want with it and from time to time the rules get changed. Well, that’s what’s going on now and as Home Designers it is our responsibility to be up to date on what the changes are and how they will impact your project. The My Home Designer team can advise clients about what they can do and more importantly, what they can’t do as these changes come into effect.

Some of the zoning changes will enhance the beauty and walkability of our neighbourhoods. For instance, there are new opportunities for Secondary Suites, Coach Houses and Laneway Homes, in addition to neighbourhood beautification guidelines…..

west vancouver zoning changes

Floor Area Ration

However, in this article we are focusing on the changes to Floor Area Ratio (FAR). At My Home Designer, we are looking at what those changes will mean for you as you design your home. 

With the looming deadline, there is still time to complete your design and have it submitted for approval before these restrictions become law.

Here are the changes in point form:

  • The recommendations call for a reduction in the FAR for new houses from the current 0.35 to 0.30 on lots larger than 7,285 sq. ft. 
  • For lots between 4,500 sq. ft. and 7,285 sq. ft., the buildable area for the house would be a fixed 2,200 sq. ft, reduced from 2,550 sq. ft.
  • To encourage housing diversity, the working group suggested a bonus FAR for a secondary suite of up to 500 sq. ft. or a 0.05 FAR bonus, whichever is less. 
  • Coach houses are recommended to come at FAR bonus of 800 sq. ft. or 0.10 FAR, whichever is less.
west vancouver architect

What can you do about it?

With a deadline of January 31, 2022, there is a window of time available to begin the architectural drawing stage of your project and have it submitted for approval. We would strongly recommend that this process begin sooner rather than later. You certainly want to begin the design process ASAP before run out of time as there is a long process ahead!

Of course, our expert My Home Designer team, an architectural firm in West Vancouver is taking a deep dive into how this will impact future builds. But, we are also in a position to get your home design completed and submitted ahead of the deadline, so you don’t have to compromise your plans.

If you need to learn more about this we would love to hear from you. You can book a free consultation with our expert designer Aryo Falakrou. Aryo will be able to answer all of your questions and support you in the next steps.

Multigenerational Home Design for a Happy, Productive Community

Is it possible for different generations to live together and still maintain healthy levels of privacy, social life, and lifestyle as a whole? When you hire a designer who thinks outside the box, is able to observe every issue from different angles and find a solution to any problem – then the answer is YES. A multigenerational home can be a very convenient option for a family. Even more so, if the layout plan pays proper respect to everyone’s needs. 

Considering economic fluctuations and a sustainable approach to modern lifestyle, today’s families are attracted to flexible house plans that can offer additional comfort and cover for any unexpected circumstances. Parents often have in mind their children. Young adults may return home after college, looking for a risk-free base while setting up their own lives. Similarly, young couples might be preparing to welcome newborn family members or a possibility of housing the senior ones.

Multi-family house plans, in contrast, include several independent living suites. These are typically separated within the same structure, usually featuring one unit per floor or placed next to each other. 

In contrast to multi-family residences, a multigenerational home offers manageable housing options that can suit many different needs. Cleverly planned, it easily accommodates different generations under the same roof, requiring no major divisions or further adaptations. It’s possible to create privacy in many ways, including dividing living and sleeping zones into separate wings, adding a bathroom to every bedroom, and similar. At the same time, communal areas such as the kitchen, dining rooms, and others can remain shared.

And that’s what Theo was looking for. 

Multifamily Home in Coquitlam - front facade
Multifamily Home in Coquitlam – front facade

Why Theo Wanted a Multigenerational House

Theo arrived in Canada to study, filled with the hope of starting a new, prosperous life after graduation. Five years later, his dreams began to develop in a perfect way. 

He met and married a beautiful girl, and the couple decided to settle in Vancouver. The idea of building a house of their dreams – customized by their desire, a perfect place where they can grow old – kept lurking in the background, waiting for the right moment to shine. Finally, after receiving happy news about a baby on the way, the couple decided that it’s time to act. 

They wanted a place where their kids will grow stable and safely, having a courtyard to play in, and rooms to call their own. But that wasn’t all. The family aspired to stay close and be always at hand with each other. So the final decision was to build a multigenerational home for both the young family and Theo’s in-laws. Its plan should secure sufficient space and high levels of privacy for all. 

What Could Go Wrong?

Aware of all issues that might emerge from the generation gap, the couple decided to prevent rather than cure. They understood the importance of a good layout plan, and the benefits it might bring to everyone. That’s why finding the right designer was essential. 

Theo wasn’t sure where to start, not even whether to hire a builder or an architect first. He was spending hours exploring the abundant offer on the market, looking for someone that could fit his ideas. One day, a certain Houzz profile caught his attention.

It seemed like a perfect match, a designer who cares and understands the needs of his clients. Apart from possessing abundant experience and knowledge about ageing-in-place, he was also an expert in traditional approaches and wellbeing philosophies such as Feng-Shui. 

His name was Aryo. 

Multifamily Home in Coquitlam - interior
Multifamily Home in Coquitlam – interior

Developing an Ideal Plan For Theo’s Multigenerational House

Aryo turned out to be everything Theo was looking for, not only a designer but also a certificated builder, versed in each and every aspect of designing and constructing a house. The best part of the offer was the possibility of having a free 30-minute consultation. Theo was able to meet Aryo, describe his wishes, and make sure that he had found the right person. After the first meeting, there was no more doubt – they were a match made in heaven.

So the project started.

The common ground for all future residents was their wish for a bright, airy, elegant space, filled with daylight. However, some challenges were on the way. 

The young generation wanted to follow the latest trends. Their idea of an ideal home implied a super modern design. It involved a computerized smart-home filled with the latest technology, life-changing gadgets, and cutting-edge devices. The couple was interested in the practical side of things above all, without much thought of theories behind the function. 

Naturally, the seniors were not sharing the same level of excitement. Their preferences lied in lasting values, long-term opportunities, and traditional, familiar ways. Cultural heritage and habits were important to everyone, and diversity needed a middle ground. 

Luckily, Aryo had more than one ace in his sleeve. The project he offered was an ideal marriage of ancient philosophy with the indulgence of modernism.

Multifamily Home in Coquitlam - living area
Multifamily Home in Coquitlam – living area

Aryo and Theo Found the Perfect Solution For All

The older generation’s desires have been covered in several vital aspects. By using quality materials, Aryo ensured that their home would be a long-lasting quality structure, reliable and comfortable. Every segment was composed in line with the philosophy of Feng Shui, filling the space with harmony and spiritual peace. 

Clean lines, lightweight furnishing, and a black-and-white colour scheme gave the house a modern flair. That, of course, sparked the joy of the younger generation. In contrast to seniors who followed Aryo’s lead, they wanted to know the reason for everything. As a result, Theo and his wife learned a lot about Feng Shui and ancient living philosophies. They developed a passion, along with a deep understanding of how and why all those principles still matter today. 

Technology solutions were incorporated discreetly and convenient for all residents. Between ancient philosophy, modern culture, and bridging a generation gap, Aryo made sure that the project will comply with all local zone codes and restrictions. Hard work and devotion to find the right common ground and satisfy all parties, getting over hurdles and red-tapes, paid off in a gorgeous new structure and ecstatic residents. 

The final result is a high-quality design. Distinguished by paying respects to the old ways, it successfully combines them with the modern lifestyle. Theo’s home is now a perfect fusion between traditional and modern, Western and Asian, functional and aesthetical. Feng Shui and West Coast embodied in one multigenerational home, provide a perfect place for in-laws to enjoy their grandchildren. In his own words, the project exceeded all Theo’s expectations

Home in Coquitlam - kitchen
Multifamily Home in Coquitlam – kitchen

Why Choosing a Multigenerational Home

Sharing a home with in-laws, parents, or adult children can be challenging – but it also bears a plethora of advantages. 

Sharing living expenses and other responsibilities provides a possibility to invest in other spheres of your life. Along with other improvements, it also offers an easier path to acquire a newly built house of your own. When it comes to families, surely it’s more affordable to maintain a single multigenerational home than two or more. There’s just one mortgage, more manageable to pay off with a shared set of utility bills.

Along with being an affordable, cost-effective choice, a multigenerational home provides peace of mind with shared responsibilities. Everything counts, from maintenance and repairs to taking care of supplies and child-sitting. Ageing in place is also more relaxed when having someone at hand for support at all times. 

Finally, one of the best things about living in a multigenerational home is the ability to share with family members. We live in an age when loneliness has become a severe social issue. A house full of conversations, laughter, action, meals, customs, good and bad times – sometimes seems like a true sanctuary. Living together gives a chance for older family members to pass on their (and family’s) history to the younger ones. It can help them to strengthen their identity and create a shield against the uglier part of the world.  

Communal living in a multigenerational home brings many psychological and physical health benefits. 

For seniors, ageing in place with their children and grandchildren helps them stay active and sharp for longer. It also diminishes loneliness, which is a common problem and a source of fear for seniors.

The younger generation can also benefit from having other adults in the house. Sharing the burden means lower stress levels and more time for good things in life. Strong family relationships are a source of comfort and peace, leading to a healthier life for everyone

Do you want to learn more about the ways to get a multigenerational home of your own? Follow Theo’s path and schedule a free consultation with Aryo today. 

Keep your home Cool with no AC

We’ve been through extreme heat already so this is something we are all thinking about.

keeping indoors cool has become a challenge and daunting task these days. BC had a historical heatwave within the last couple of weeks and many people had a hard time keeping themselves cool in their own homes.


How to keep your home cool 

With hotter summer days are on the horizon, keeping indoor cool becomes a challenge and daunting task these days. BC had a historical heatwave within the last couple of weeks and many people had a hard time keeping themselves cool in their own homes.

Many people who live in a condominium or in their homes are wondering what can they do with their space that can be easier to handle.

These couple of days were the hottest weather I experienced in Canada and I’m sure many people were suffering too. Firstly I’m sorry for lives lost due to heatstroke, and I hope more people will have access to the knowledge of how to keep their living space cool to avoid such tragedies.


I live in a treed area which creates a lot of shades which results in 3 to 4 degrees of cooler temperature, but still, we had a hard time considering my house is an older rancher with a yard around, that’s why we never installed any cooling system. I saw many of my plants got damaged and my cats having a hard time keeping themselves cool.


Roof deck pool

Keep the environment around cool

I like to separate two different subjects and explain each differently.

First the environment around us like our home and secondly our body and how we control the heat within our body.

Talking about our living space, every home is different but the first thing we should do is to minimize sun exposure coming into our living space. Where our home is exposed to the sun is through walls, ceilings, and windows. We might not be able to do much with our walls and roof if we live in a condo, apartment, or townhomes, but if we live in a house by adding more insulation on the roof, we are doing good for our wallet in the long run because it will keep the house warm in winter and cooler in summer. Most sun heat comes through the windows and that is where we should control by a thick curtain. If we don’t have a thick curtain which most the new homes don’t you can hang a blanket for the time of the day that the sun has the most heat which is between 11:00 am to 6:00 pm

I’ve seen some people stick foil paper or a reflective wrap on their windows. This method is a very low-cost solution as well. This way the sunray will be reflected outside and won’t heat your room either. You can make tape it in a way that you could remove it when you want the sun to come through.

Air Flow,

We should create constant airflow so that to make it much more livable. If there is some winds or breeze from outside, you can have the windows open (make sure the blanket hanging won’t stop the airflow)

If the outside breeze is not substantial, a ceiling fan or a portable fan would do the job. You can have the bathroom fan and the kitchen hood fan to run as well. 

Putting a bowl of ice in front of the fan makes a huge difference to cool down the room temperature.

Cooldown the exterior of the building,

If you are not under the water restriction, it is a good idea to water the exterior surface of the house after 7:00 PM when the sun is reducing the angle. The house has collected the heat of the sun all day and it is cooking. Water will cool off the exterior surface and will reduce the interior temperature by 5 degrees so you can sleep in your house at night.


Try to avoid using any appliances and electronics that generate heat. that includes your TV, computer, and hairdryer, and much more. We should make sure to reduce the accumulation of hot air inside the home. so Make sure no extra heat is been generated inside as much as possible.

Gather all of your plants and keep them all in one spot and make sure they are hydrated. They have a small but positive effect in colling the space.

cool your home


Keep all doors open even bedrooms. Never sleep in the closed door bedroom at a high temperature if you don’t have an AC. Our heat will accumulate in the room along with external heat will increase the room temperature and will create a greenhouse condition and could have a very dangerous consequence.


Holly: interesting points Aryo, what about our body, how can we control the heat within our body?


Aryo: Try to keep yourself cool by taking 30 seconds of cold showers to wet your body. 

If you can refuge to a public location like a mall, library, or such conditioned places during the day and when you come home later the day the temperature is been dropped by a bit.

Try to eat low calory food and fruit (like watermelon, or cucumber) rather than too much water. Keet yourself hydrated with energy drinks. Pops or fizzy drinks might feel like cooling you down but the sugar in the drink adds calory and at this stage, you don’t need extra calory in your body.

Watch our first episode of Healthy living Healthy Home with Aryo here!

What Can We Do Today to Make Our Tomorrow Better? Let’s See!

What makes you get up in the morning and jump out of the bed with a wish to do something positive and improve your life? Is it your goal of living a better life? Are you driven by your obligations and bills to pay? Or, perhaps, every day is just another day? What can you do to make your tomorrow better and more significant?

If we don’t have a goal to inspire us and drive us forward, we are taking a vague direction, and sooner or later we are going to go downhill in our lives.

When you are inspired toward a goal in your life, it gives you the energy to enjoy life in full, and have fun regardless of what it throws at you! Our life inspiration is what makes us live a better life, have a better relationship, become successful in our jobs, appreciated in the community. Inspiration comes from within. Therefore, if we live and work in a place that doesn’t inspire us – how can we create a better lifestyle?

When/if it becomes necessary, people can be forced to take care of their illnesses. Yet, not many prefer to prevent them by taking care of their well-being in advance

Our mental wellness has a direct effect on our physical welfare. Nice music has a calming impact, but it can also energize and inspire us. The artwork has a similar effect. Colors can have different effects on us, depending on our mood.

Sunlight energizes us.

An aromatic space boosts vibrant feelings, or it has a calming effect.

We can fill our belly with fast food on the run or enjoy a good meal in a cozy ambiance.

new westminster interior designer
New Westminster interior designer

But, Why Does it Matter?

All sensations mentioned above have a direct effect on how we memorize the things happening around us. Family events, getting together with friends or coworkers, such moments are the essential components of our lives. When we combine them together to shape our emotions, these emotions shape our feeling of the moment, resulting in a memorable time.

We create memories on a daily basis in our homes and sometimes in our workplaces. The more your life elements are matched with your personality and customized to suit your taste, the more enjoyable they will be. The result will leave a lasting effect on our lives, every daily activity can make your tomorrow better.

And what is the ultimate place where we combine all these elements to make the personal comfort that matches our DNA? Our home. 

Our home gets our aroma, our taste of color, and the smells of all types of food we like to eat.

When you go for a vacation, you don’t always miss your home. Still, after you return, you are happy that you got back. You feel it. 

Your own bed, your own bathroom, the comfort that made to the shape of your body and size.

How can we customize our home to match beyond essential, what else are we looking for?

In other words – what needs to be done to make our home homier?

That’s the sweet spot where a good designer can help. You might not be aware of how much can be done to improve an everyday space. To inspire you for a better version of yourself and your family. To help you to build a better relationship with yourself and the people around you. 

Make Your Tomorrow Better

That’s Why It Matters. Your Home Can Make Your Tomorrow Better. MUCH better.

A well-designed home, above all, can offer you HOPE for a better future and a healthier lifestyle.

Surely, it needs a bit of work, time, and mutual effort. But, on the other hand, after everything has been done, and each detail and finishing part set to its place to make it more exciting – you will know why it was worth it.

Don’t believe only my words. Meet me and let me show you. Let’s make your tomorrow better, today!