'Electric Show House' at 1550 West 29th Avenue (1922)
Vancouver Daily World; May 30, 1922; page 11
The 'electric show house', an early design by architects Townley & Matheson in 1922, who also designed the current Vancouver City Hall.
Full article transcribed by Heritage Vancouver, November 2015:
Vancouver Daily World; Tuesday, May 30, 1922; p11
Model Electric Home Being Put Up in Shaughnessy by Local Supply Men
Illustration description: How electric utility home will look when it is completed by the Electric Service League. It is already going up on Twenty-ninth Avenue, near the intersection of Connaught Drive and Granville Streets, Shaughnessy.
Actuated by a design to show prospective home builders in Greater Vancouver what an ideal home is like and what is possible in an ultra-modern residence by the liberal use of electricity, the Electric Service League of Vancouver, has decided to erect what is planned to be the finest and most completely equipped and finished residence of its size in Western Canada - one fully worthy of being styled “a model home.”
Work as already been started on this model home, which is to embrace everything desirable to a person of moderate means in the way of architecture and electrical equipment - particularly the latter. In face, the executive of the Electric Service League are confident that the possibilities in the way of time-and-labor-saving devices and equipment which are to be installed in this model home will prove a real revelation to the average householder who inspects them for the first time.
This ideal home is to be located on 29th Avenue, Shaughnessy Heights, near its junction with Connaught Drive. The location is one in thorough keeping with the high class of construction that is to be put into it, which is estimated to cost, when completed and fully equipped, between $18,000 and $20,000. Excavation for the foundations and basement is already under way, and although it usually take four or five months to build a residence of this class, the Electric Service League, which is erecting the building through collaboration with a number of the leading contractors of the city, hope to have both the building and grounds finished by the end of August. The house will then be completely and luxuriously furnished down to the last minor detail and thrown open for exhibition for one month as a model of what is possible in the way of an “ideal electric home.” Just who will eventually become the possessor of this model home is a question which the Electric Service League will take up later.
Designed Along English Lines
The designing of this model home was entrusted by the Electric Service League to Architects Townley & Matheson, whose plans provide for an attractive structure designed along modernized English lines, with half-timber stucco and gables. Not only is the external symmetry pleasing, but for comfort and convenience the interior arrangements will be hard to beat in a house of this size. The house has four gables which will extend to the cardinal points of the compass, the east and west eagles growing out of the main roof of the structure. All four gables are corralled out free of the main walls and supported on massive wood brackets.
This model home will be 30x46 feet in size, with attached garage for one car. The construction will be of frame, on a full concrete basement with stucco exterior finish and half timber effect for the eagles. In the basement will be the usual boiler room for the hot-water heating system, store room and laundry. Right here in the laundry is where the first units of the very complete electrical equipment are to be installed. For the laundry, like the whole house, will be almost entirely electrically operated. There will be an electric washer, dryer and ironer - making it possible to do the whole family washing electrically.
On the ground floor after entering through neat portion, will be found a reception hall, 13x14; a large living room, 15x29 feet. On the left will be a dining room, 15x15, and back of the stair hall, a combined den and sun room, 10x14. The den and sun room will have a southern exposure, of which full advantage has been taken by the designers by making the walls nearly all glass. The large living room is to be finished in mahogany and ornamental plaster cornice, with an open fireplace, surmounted by a handsome tile mantel. French doors will afford communication between the living room and den.
That Wonder Kitchen.
But it is in the kitchen and its equipment that this model home will really show its class. It is intended to have this kitchen surpass any other kitchen in the city in the completeness of its electric time and labor saving equipment. These special electric fixtures will include an electric range of the latest model, electric dishwasher and dryer, mixers of all kinds, meat choppers and a clever electric ironing board arrangement with an extension bar which will permit a wide range of operations for ironing. Off this wonder kitchen there is to be a cosy breakfast or lunch alcove which will also be so completely electrical equipped that much of the cooking of a certain kind can be done right on the table. The dining-room table will also be specially wired for toaster, coffee percolate and chafing dish.
The second floor plan provides for four large bedrooms, each of which is very liberally supplied with clothes closets. These four bedrooms, while within the roof space, will have square ceilings secured through an ingenious use of dormers and the steep pitch of the roof. From the landing hall access can be had to all four of the bedrooms and one of the two bathrooms. The second bathroom is connected with the owner’s bedroom, which is located in the west gable, and besides having west windows, will also have windows opening north and south. On one side of this large bedroom will be three clothes closest while on the other side will be tiled bathroom with a built-in tub and an ingenious shower bath transformation. This bedroom will also have an open fireplace.
Location of Master Switch
One of the clever electrical features to he house will be the location in the owner’s bedroom of a master switch which will control every light in the house, and also four powerful lights under the exterior of the gables which will illuminate the grounds at night when desired. All the clothes closets in the house are provided with automatic electric switches by which the opening of the door turns on a light in each closet, which is automatically extinguished when the door is shut. It has been decide do finish the dining room of the wonder home in Lamatco while the den-sunroom will be finished in hemlock and other native woods.
The house will occupy a large lot with more than 100 feet frontage, and these grounds are to be attractively landscaped and a typical English sundial executed in concrete and cobblestones, will be an ornamental feature of the central approach. All the materials used in the house are to be Made-in-B.C., while many of the electrical features are to be of special design and almost made locally. By building and opening this house for public inspection, the Electric Service League collectively hopes to educate prospective homebuilders to the advantage of having provision made while building for electric conveniences, which can then be installed at very little cost.