An Architect's Own Remodel Features New Flooring

Posted August 24, 2012
New cork and bamboo floors gleam throughout the remodeled rooms

After 20-plus years of revamping homes for clients, architect and former Seattleite Heather Johnston of Place Architects (West Vancouver, B.C.; 778.279.7274;, decided to remake her own. The gem of a mid-century modern house that she shares with her husband, a software design engineer, in West Vancouver came with a great open floor plan, charming cedar interior siding and oh-so-dated wall-to-wall wool shag carpet. “It was green and furry,” she says of the carpet, but the house was love at first sight.

Johnston’s remodeled dwelling is a handsome example of how to blend this-century cool with past mid-century modness. “A lot of what we do now is owed to designers from the ’60s, and we wanted to restore to whatever extent possible,” says the architect. As with most of the cedar siding, the floating cabinets in the bathrooms stayed put and, though all of the appliances were replaced, the kitchen’s original tall teak panel cabinetry remained. But that 40-plus-year-old shag had to go. In its place, Johnston laid down a warm, green mix of black prefinished Teragren bamboo and 1-by-4-foot click-strip cork flooring. “Though it has a tendency to fade in bright sun,” she says, “the cork is fantastic: it shows no dirt and wears like iron.” The black stain can come off if the bamboo gets dented, she admits, but it’s an easy repair.

Most importantly, says Johnston, “everything looks like it belongs.”