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November 2020 - Novell Design Build



The Early Bird Gets the Best Outdoor Deals!

  • By novelladmin

The Novella Outdoors Marketplace has launched just in time for the online shopping season. As a Novell(a) insider, use #EARLYBIRD for 10% OFF your purchase until November 30th!

Here are some of our favourite items, available now:

The Turkish Cotton Throw in Blue

  • Turkish Throws are known for their great softness as a blanket, and versatility as a towel.
  • This towel is handmade in Turkey by traditional artisans, with 100% Turkish cotton. Its detailed weave showcases the beauty of the fabric and quality craftsmanship. Turkish cotton is known to get softer with every wash!

Green Glass Lantern

  • This stunning lantern provides soft, glowing LED light for 150+ hours!
  • The cable-row texture and green-tinted glass offer a beautiful array of soft warm lighting.

The Portico Family Feast Table

  • The Portico Family Feast table is perfect for any gathering or outdoor event. Crafted from solid Acacia wood, this table features double expansions for flexible outdoor living.
  • At its most compact, the table is 71″ long and can be twice expanded — to 86″ or 102″.

Shop local this Black Friday weekend!



Vaulted Heights and Unlacquered Gold in our Kitsilano Residence

  • By novelladmin

For this #15yearsNDB behind the scenes insight, we’re looking at some of the most beautiful hidden features of our Kitsilano Residence.

We must start with this spectacular back entrance! The kitchen and garden were key gathering spaces for this family, and we wanted to kept them tethered. These tall custom wood doors allow the light to enter, while grounding the details of the kitchen with a deep and calming hue.

When stepping inside, the home’s custom millwork kitchen offers plenty of storage, and space to display the family’s favourite cookbooks. These cabinets and the tall ceilings help offer a lightness to the room.

Guests get a small peek from around the corner of this space, but the view to the outdoors truly can’t be beat!

Warm leather, dark fixtures and strategic use of colours make for the perfect balance between the homeowner’s design aesthetics. This home balances its modern features and sleek profiles with an eclectic decor rationale.

The powder room in particular offers some terrific colour and texture. The walls are articulated with a dramatic display of Calcutta hex tiles. These are offset with a restored antique vanity, light fixture, and unlacquered brass fittings throughout. The shower door is a single glass pane with gold hinges. To complete the design, custom installed wall coverings splash the ceilings with — you guessed it– more gold.

This home was entirely replanned and expanded to accommodate a growing family. Vaulted ceilings and designer lighting pieces celebrate the interior volumes of the home. They offer an element of surprise and a feeling of distinction as our built-in details respond to the interior.

The den boasts a custom cast fireplace, and a built in executive office. This features 12 foot tall custom shelves that reach up the vaulted ceiling, and fold into a custom built-in desk.

Overall, this home’s old-world feel is a space that is joyous to inhabit. Its eclectic mix of detailing was thoughtfully executed by our creating team, and installed by our talented crew. We loved bringing some extra lift back into this early century home.

Photography: Latreille Delage Photography and Tudor Barbacuta.

This behind the scenes insight is part of Novell Design Build’s countdown to our 15 Year Anniversary. Follow this excitement with #15yearsNDB!



Announcing: Extended Services in a Strategic Partnership with Novella Outdoors

  • By novelladmin

We’re excited to announce an expanded breadth of services in a strategic partnership with Novella Outdoors. In addition to custom new homes, laneways and major renovations, Novell Design Build and Novella Outdooors provide everything necessary for exceptional outdoor living.

This partnership has been long awaited. A custom home wouldn’t be complete without a distinctive outdoor space. We are giving a warm welcome to Novella Outdoors as our everything outdoor contractors.

Contact us for your custom home, now including outdoor services & experiences:
– Landscaping & Hardscaping
– Decks, Patios & Repairs
– Excavation, Sitework & Tree Services
– Pergolas, Trellises & Arbours
– Outdoor Kitchens & Dining
– Firepit Lounges
– And much more.

Expand your home,

Live exceptionally.

Novella Outdoors

Novella Outdoors also provides Signature Sheds. Explore their collection of customizable Base Models. Currently being installed in a backyard newar you is their feature Work at Home Wonder: the ideal backyard workspace and studio.

It’s perfect for an executive office, entrepreneurial station, creative studio or homework station. Find your best workflow for the new year.

We look forward to adding one to Novell’s backyard as well!



Trailblazing laneway design in Vancouver, before it was cool.

  • By London Camaclang

Our Grandview Laneway Residence was an early trailblazer for laneways in Vancouver. We defied convention and problem-solved tiny living before it became the hottest topic in home design.

Here are a few behind the scenes features of this incredible laneway:

1. Balanced private and shared space

We flipped this home upside down and gave our clients an upstairs area for cooking, relaxing and entertaining. It provides a big open space (yes, even for a laneway) with spectacular views to the East and South.

The upstairs lounge and kitchen area are great for gathering with family. In exchange, the private bedroom, bathroom and storage areas offer a restful area. We made sure to install radiant floor heating to keep this space cozy! 

2. Master at saving space

There are too many hidden drawers to count! While a modern interior was important for the overall aesthetic of this home, it wouldn’t be liveable without some key storage solutions. In the kitchen, we balanced easy accessibility with beautiful facades. 

Many considerations were made in regards to ergonomics and visual sight lines. Storage that is difficult to access is storage that you won’t use in your daily life!

Where do you think we fit the mechanical room? Well, suspended horizontally in the upstairs deck of course!

3. Eco-friendly and sustainable design

People are happier in a green environment than in grey surroundings!

Between the pavers, we planted some creeping thyme, and put a little plum tree in their small yard! An herb garden and downspout garden was a must-have for these excellent chefs.  

By building a living roof, we climate-proofed this laneway.A green roof provides a rainwater buffer, purifies the air, reduces the ambient temperature, regulates the indoor temperature, saves energy and encourages biodiversity in the city.

Landscape design is required for new laneways, but it is often overlooked in laneway features. For our Grandview Laneway, we went further and ensured that those connections to the outdoors were meaningful and relevant for the owners. 

4. Vaulted ceilings and custom 360 degree space

In addition to the wide views from the upper balcony — which captures the rising sun in the East and the Southern sun rays — we created lofty views inside the home!

We’ve vaulted the ceiling height 12 feet in the air to create custom, 360 degree CD storage! It is an audiophile’s dream — for the storage and the acoustics.

In sum, laneways are delightful homes!

Living in a small home does not have to mean making huge sacrifices. By balancing thoughtful and discerning design, laneway houses can support exceptionally comfortable lifestyles. (Yes, even in Vancouver.)

This project has been featured in Montecristo Magazine for applause, the Vancouver Sun for tiny living, Apartment Therapy contests for small living, and in Vancouver Heritage Foundation Laneway House Tours! For these stories, visit our Blog archives for Laneway Homes.

This is a behind the scenes look at our Grandview Residence, in celebration of our 15th year anniversary. Follow our full celebrations with #15yearsNDB on Instagram and Twitter! 



Renovating a Vancouver Special with Design Build Solutions

  • By novelladmin

Behind the Scenes of Novell’s Renfrew Residence: The Extra-Special Vancouver Special 

The renovation of our Renfrew Residence completely reimagined what we expected from a classic Vancouver Special home.  

The Vancouver Special architectural style was popularized in the 1960s and 1980s and now fills many streets in Greater Vancouver. 

Vancouverites are well versed in the key characteristics of a Vancouver Special: 

  • Front-gabled roof with a low pitch
  • 2 Storeys with a boxy overall shape 
  • Main entrance set to one side, on the lower floor
  • Sliding doors on the upper floor leading to a shallow balcony 
  • The main living quarters are on the upper floor 
  • A secondary suite on the ground floor
  • Often finished with brick or stone, with stucco above
  • Main hallway through the centre of the home

The classic design was (re)produced en masse during the 1960s and 1980s because of some special zoning and building circumstances at the time.

The boxy shape of Vancouver Specials was a result of maximizing floor space under the zoning guidelines of their time. Builders in the 1960s and 1980s saw an opportunity and made the most of it! Today, renovating these homes are a common and rewarding project for Design Build firms. We love transforming Vancouver Specials because they have a lot of versatility and great foundations! Our Renfrew Residence is a great example of how all the common modernizations of a Vancouver Special are even better with Design Build.

To begin, we gave this home a more modern layout. We opened the walls upstairs, expanded the master bathroom, and gave the home an overall open feeling. In order to do so, we restructured and moved some of the walls. 

This is an open concept renovation of a Vancouver Special.

The kitchen became an open and inviting gathering space. For this family, gathering in the kitchen to cook, eat, host and relax was a priority. With many choices in seating and clever storage solutions, this kitchen became both functional and beautiful!

The fireplace and front deck remain existing, though refurbished with a clean white coat of paint. New hardwood floors were installed. For better storage solutions, we design built custom millwork cabinets and floating storage units for a special touch. 

Now to our favourite part:

This incredible curved staircase!

Vancouver Specials very often have a signature curved staircase with vertical wooden railings and a half-platform mid-way through the stairs. This didn’t match the homeowner’s modern taste. When walking through the front door of the original Renfrew Residence, you encountered a carpeted staircase with angled walls and old interior finishes. This part of the home became one of our favourite Design Build transformations. 

Instead of completely ripping out these classic Vancouver Special stairs, we embraced the curve.

A classic Vancouver Special entranceway and staircase.

By smoothing the curve of the wall and redesigning the hand railing, we were able to create an entranceway that drew your eyes upwards. 

This would not have been possible without a Design Build team. While designing the custom angled scoop in the wall, and a custom recessed handrail, the biggest question for our team was “how do we actually build this”? We couldn’t find any examples that matched exactly what we envisioned, so our Design Build team found their own way! It was a collaborative and efficient effort; the biggest reward was making these deceivingly complex shapes feel effortless.

Our master builder, Angelito, is shown here, marking out where the scoop will begin.
Perhaps even more impressive is our completely seamless recessed hand railing! (But that’s for another story.)

This home became a place where multiple generations could live together. Each family member has their own place to retreat, while the gathering spaces made for … well, living!

Thanks for listening in on our 2nd day of Design Build insights in celebration of our 15 year anniversary! Let us know what you think by using the tag #15yearsNDB. We’d love to hear your thoughts.

This is a behind the scenes look at our Renfrew Residence, in celebration of our 15th year anniversary. Follow our full celebrations with #15yearsNDB on Instagram and Twitter



Design Build Insights of our Kerrisdale Residence

  • By novelladmin
This is a behind the scenes look at our Kerrisdale Residence, in celebration of our 15th year anniversary. Follow our full celebrations with #15yearsNDB on Instagram and Twitter!

This project is a #HAVANawards Finalist in two renovation categories! We were so proud to compete with our local peers in Metro Vancouver. Check out the features of our award on Instagram here. 

The central gathering space of this home, and especially the kitchen, made for a gold-brushed feature during awards season. It features so many small details that would only have been possible through our Design Build process.

Every aspect of this home was designed to feel open and welcoming. In the kitchen, this was possible because we engineered the home’s structural beams to be hidden within the custom millwork cabinets. This allowed for the rest of the living space — the dining room, family room and entranceway — to get opened up. What was once a house full of walls and hallways became an open concept modern home. 

Also within the custom millwork is a hidden refrigerator, and custom storage solutions for all the family’s cooking and hosting needs. The cabinets are beautiful in their own right, but the hidden refrigerator has become a favourite party reveal.

What makes a difference is the grand welcoming feeling when you step into the home. There is plenty of space for jackets and shoes, but the custom bench and open floor plan offers a calming and restful introduction to the rest of the home. 

Overall, our Design Build team innovated solutions to make this home feel bigger, brighter and welcoming. While most solutions aims to update the home, and facilitate a modern lifestyle, we kept many original features. The traditional brick fireplace, with unique glass detailing was kept intact throughout construction. We preserved its facade and designed the seating area to compliment its deep red hues. 

We used materials creatively, in order to focus on their best features. Our designers took a creative approach to using tile, which our installers executed perfectly. In the master bathroom, floor to ceiling tilework draws the eyes upwards, and offers an extra shine. Similarly, a classic floral tile design in the laundry room provided visual interest below so that the white details above seemed to float above. 

We found connections between the indoors and outdoors by reimagining the garden entranceway. What once was a dark, forgotten basement space became the best place to gather during the summer months. We doubled the width of the backdoor, and created a secondary back patio that offered a soft entrance into the home. With tiered handscaping, we created a covered seating area, and easy route between the backyard and downstairs living space. 

The exterior facade received a repaint and refurbishment. The updated early grey paint and finish details feel brighter and more modern. Key to this design was choosing complimentary neutrals, and considering the neighbourhood streetscape.

We are so happy to know this family can enjoy their home and accommodate multiple generations!



Join us in Celebrating 15 Years of Design Build!

  • By novelladmin

Novell’s Anniversary is coming soon

Novell Design Build is celebrating 15 year anniversary on December 2nd, 2020 and wants to invite you to join in a digital countdown to this milestone!

We send many thanks to everyone who has helped support our growth over the years. Over the next 15 days, we will be reflecting on our history, in order to move towards the future with a new energy.

Follow #15YEARSNDB for our

15 Days of Design Build Countdown

Every day, we will be exploring the behind the scenes of some of our favourite projects. Follow #15YEARSNDB to explore our Design Build insights, all-time highlights, challenges, and recommendations for custom building in the future. There may even be some surprises along the way!

We can’t wait to share more about our growth over the years and share some of the exciting news around the corner.

Now is a great time to start thinking about your home. Finding ways to connect with each other, and enjoy the spaces we inhabit is becoming an even larger priority for our community. This year, Novell Design Build has shown that strong teamwork and thoughtful solutions are the best way to solve problems together.

We now offer an expanded breadth of services to the outdoors in a strategic partnership with Novella Outdoors. Together, we provide the expertise to transform your home and your expanded outdoor space. Keep your eyes out for some early-bird discounts!

With an expansion of our service provided areas, Novell continues to provide custom Design Build homes, laneways and coach houses + outdoor services to Vancouver, North Vancouver, West Vancouver, Burnaby and Richmond.

Are you interested in starting your Design Build journey? Contact our team to learn how we can provide a custom home for you.

Follow Novell Design Build on our socials for the latest:

Twitter and Instagram: @novellDB

Pinterest and Houzz: @novellstudio