The property on Clements Avenue in North Vancouver originally built and designed by Vancouver architect Henry Yorke Mann.

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A “cabin in the woods” that’s been owned by three generations of architects and designers has sold for nearly $2.4 million.

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The property on Clements Avenue in North Vancouver was listed for $2.195 million by boutique realty firm West Coast Modern. It was on the market for seven days and sold April 7 for $180,000 over-asking.

The house is modest: a main floor, a second-storey bedroom and bath, and a self-contained two-bedroom suite all packed in 1,910 square feet.

It wasn’t a house that worked for everyone, said sellers agent Trent Rodney, who, along with partner Jason Choi, specializes in selling West Coast modern homes built from 1945 onward.

“It was effectively a one-bedroom house. Even if you loved it, and many people did, they’d say, ‘Oh, I have kids.’

But the house, dubbed the Architect’s Retreat, has a unique pedigree. It was originally built and designed in 1958 by Vancouver architect Henry Yorke Mann, a contemporary of Ron Thom and Arthur Erickson.

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Built at a cost of $8,000, the humble one-bedroom cedar box was only 700 square feet and used double tongue-and-groove cedar walls that weren’t insulated.

In 1989, the house was purchased by another architect, Peter Buchanan, and underwent a major addition and renovation in 1994. Working with a builder, Buchanan added two storeys and designed a concrete foundation perimeter to shoulder the weight of the additions.

The new structure was built using wood taken from a single old-growth fir tree that was blown down in Sechelt.

After living in the house for 26 years and raising two children there, Buchanan sold the house in 2015.

The most recent owner, the Noel family, continued to restore and renovate the house, earning a heritage award in 2018.

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Rodney said he received more than 150 requests to view the Architect’s Retreat when it went up for sale. He whittled down the list to 80 people, but there were still lineups out the door on viewing day. In the end, the house received three offers. The winning offer of $2,375 million was by a downsizing couple who lived in another West Coast modern house.

The level of interest indicates there’s a sizable audience of house hunters who doesn’t want a cookie-cutter house, said Rodney.

“I have never seen this amount of architectural detailing in anything less than $10 million,” he said. “That’s what people loved about it. They got the … full-on architectural potential in a compact and affordable space.”

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