On Another Street Where I lived…

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1690 Mathers Avenue, West Vancouver, September 1975

As a matter of interest I thought I would check out my other childhood homes and sure enough, I found another one had recently sold! We left Vancouver in September 1972 when my father was transfered to the head office of Simpson Sears in Toronto. Three years later my father was transfered back to Vancouver and we moved into this west coast modern built in 1974.

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Me in a tan corduroy suit for the junior prom, spring 1978, and no, I don’t have the suit anymore.

Although not true post and beam construction, the expansive glazing (on the south face), flat roof, natural materials, decks and semi-open floorplan, were in keeping with the tradition of west coast modernism. The house was below the street level and was five sided to fit the oddly shaped lot through which a creek ran across diagonally. There was a fantastic view of towering century old cedar and fir trees, wild blackberry bushes and foxgloves. Unlike our North Vancouver home, that was furnished in Danish modern, by 1975 we had inherited my grandmother’s eclectic mix of antique furniture. Some of the antiques looked great in the West Van house but there were too many styles and it made for a cluttery look that didn’t suit the modern interior.

Some owner since we sold the house in 1983 has done a major renovation, transforming it into more of a California Contemporary than a West Coast Modern.

While I like the addition of the hardwood floors (we had wall to wall brown carpet), I am a bit shocked that the good architectural elements have been obliterated. The mansard roof is gone – the cedar shakes and fir plank siding displaced by vinyl shiplap. The plate glass windows are now double pane thermals in pre-made frames, and every room has had coving added to the ceiling – a very traditional style for what was intended to be a modern interior. As well, the original natural wood front door has been replaced with what looks like a painted metal panel door. The only elements I recognize from our time at the house is the  bridge my father built over the creek, and the original stone facing of the fireplace (although the mantle has been truncated and it looks like they lowered the height of the fireplace, reusing the same facing stones.)

As for a good clothing story related to this house… I do have a couple of dresses worn by my disco-dancing sister Sue (but no pictures of her wearing the dresses I have), and a Welsh tapestry suit my mother got for Christmas 1977 that there is a photograph of her looking at on Christmas morning, but I can’t find it at the moment. Although my tan corduroy suit is long gone, I did keep my slubbed grey silk YSL grad suit for twenty years before donating it to the Society for the Museum of Costume in Vancouver about 15 years ago. I should have kept it, but this was before the FHM was founded and I was downsizing at the time and sold off or donated my men’s collection to other institutions – a collection I have been rebuilding ever since.

6 thoughts on “On Another Street Where I lived…

  1. Nice share…I do love those West coast homes! As for fashion, I still have my grades 9 and 12 grad gowns (1975 and 1978) and the eyelet gown I made in grade 12. Such memories!

  2. I remember visiting that house a few times, back in the day. It’s pretty amazing what’s happened in W. Vancouver (and the rest of the city), between renos and replacement construction. BTW, I’ve now lived in my house for nearly 32 years. I guess I’m just not a mover, happy where I’m at.

    • I must have done something clever with the photo, like put it in an artifact file. It’s not in the photo album…

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