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An oasis of understated luxury is the perfect in-situ showcase for Ross and Melissa Bonetti’s design business

Nestled at the top of a lush embankment in West Vancouver’s Caulfeild neighbourhood is a stunning cliffside home that pushes the boundaries of the West Coast modern aesthetic design. Delicately crafted, fortress-strong and outfitted in modern European classics, it’s the second home that Ross and Melissa Bonetti built and designed in collaboration with Vancouver’s BattersbyHowat Architects.

The owner of Livingspace, a Vancouver leader in Italian home design, Ross called on his friends at BattersbyHowat to help him evaluate the empty lot, which he stumbled upon amid one of his daily walks. Largely covered in brush, the lot consisted in part of a sheer cliffside slope covered in prickly bushes that dropped steeply toward a ravine and railroad track.

He knew it would be a challenging build, but it was the 270 square feet of frontage that immediately caught his interest.

“We explored the property by drone before I made an offer,” he says. “It was clearly a tough site to work on, but I knew BattersbyHowat was up for it.”

It proved to be a three-year project that has emerged as a shining showcase for modern design—outfitted entirely in products from Livingspace. Today, Ross regularly tours clients and prospects through his personal space as evidence of what’s possible with rock-solid architecture and a creative eye for elevated design.

“It’s essentially become an extension of our storefront,” he says.


Open-plan living goes horizontal

A true model of open-plan design, this 6,500-square-foot, four-bedroom, five-and-a-half-bathroom West Coast oasis elevates minimalistic design and neutral tones with majestic facades, surprising pops of colour and convenience, and durable materials for ultra-functional spaces.

Accessed from the recessed driveway, a large glass front door opens almost directly into the open living space—all greys, whites and beiges—with its airy 15-foot ceilings and floor-to-ceiling east-facing windows that open onto the landscaped courtyard beyond.

An immediate case in point for creativity, the flat roof exterior is inverted on the interior, creating a reversed ceiling by way of a triangular hemlock frame that emerges just beyond the entranceway and into the great room, and is echoed again in the master bedroom. Meticulously crafted wood slats panel the precision-architected angles, mirroring the exterior landscape and creating a large, visual point of interest inside. Simple pot lights dot the wood panels above, shining light down onto the heated concrete floor, which has been ground down to show the aggregate stone.

To the left of the entrance, a hidden closet and playfully wallpapered powder room offer colourful contrast to the neutral tones.

“It’s a nice surprise for guests when they come around the corner and discover this wall,” Ross says.

Immediately to the right of the entrance, a staircase leads up half a level to an open gym area and Ross’s office, which has nearly 360-degree-views of the outside patio to the right, great room in the centre, and cliffside to the left, all thanks to oversized windows.

“I don’t like separation,” Ross says of the open design. “I can sit here in my office and see what’s going on all around me.”

The gym, partitioned only by an oversized Porro bookshelf, features quiet Technogym equipment, such as an elliptical machine and a cable gym, to temper any travelling sound.

Everything in the house is “foundationally correct,” says Ross, noting that it’s an ode to BattersbyHowat’s talent and an essential requirement for the precision architecture involved in creating aligned open spaces.


Precision architecture and elevated spaces

Every single space in this home is fully functional and subtly elevated with subdued design. In the living room, low couches and chaises from the Paola Lenti collection offer sitting space for 12 but are easily cosy enough for two to snuggle up with books or to watch a show.

Porro system cabinetry lines the walls, wrapping around the interior from the front entrance to encase the built-in TV and fireplace, while art from the Monte Clark Gallery adds brilliant splashes of colour throughout the home.

In the adjoining kitchen, original Bocci 14 lights spotlight the indoor eating space for 12, while the black Molteni kitchen, complete with hidden aluminum cabinets and electric drawers, keeps appliances and dishes well contained.

Around the corner and into a long hallway that leads to the main-level master bedroom, a built-in bar space has a wine fridge, sliding Molteni bar door and Sub Zero fridge drawers, providing a convenient area to make hot and cold beverages.

Then, the open-concept design extends right into the master bedroom, located at the end of the long hall, where an angled back wall points the bed toward floor-to-ceiling windows that highlight the forest view beyond. On the opposite side, the room opens onto an open double bathroom and adjoining walk-in closet, again featuring Porro millwork. A washer and dryer hidden conveniently within the walk-in closet make laundry easy.

Downstairs, three additional bedrooms offer space for these empty nesters to welcome back adult children, and host guests, while the lower hallway also serves as a storage space. There, a seemingly endless wall of sliding-door cabinets conceals carefully labelled containers—everything needed for last-minute entertaining.

“We never have to look for our plastic wine glasses,” Ross laughs.

The lower level is rounded out by a full mudroom that connects to the front courtyard, a three-car garage and adjoining storage space for bikes and sports equipment.


Beauty inside and out

When the weather is favourable, the Bonettis spend their mornings enjoying their private space in the courtyard, where BattersbyHowat created a tall concrete retaining wall to shield the house from the street above. A flank of Portuguese laurel hedges augments the sense of privacy and greenery, while rose bushes dangle tantalizingly toward the pool below.

The basalt stone patio creates an elongated space for poolside lounging, and a 23-metre lap pool and hot tub are perfect for a warm-up, cool-down or a water-lover’s workout.

Toward one end of the courtyard, angular patio stones lead to a tranquil wild garden space with a barbeque and meditation corner; at the other end, stairs lead up to an elevated patio that opens off the gym, and below it, a hidden door opens onto a shower room and changing space, which is lined in colourful—and waterproof—koi-themed wallpaper.

Then, moving back through the great room toward the west side of the house is the evening patio, a prime spot for dinnertime lingering by the glow of the sunset and greenery below.

Ross’s showcase is a true testament to the power of natural elements coming together with modern architecture to create a space that is both beautiful and inviting.

“People walk in and don’t know why it feels so good in here,” he says. “Everything lines up, and it really gives the place a harmonious feel.”

Quick facts:

  • 270 square feet of frontage
  • 6,500 square-foot home, including garage
  • 4 bedrooms
  • 5.5 bathrooms


  • Furniture: Paola Lenti, Porro, Knoll, Roda, Ivano Redaelli
  • Lighting: Bocci, Flos
  • Kitchen: Molteni&C
  • Closet: Porro
  • Gym: Technogym equipment
  • Art: Monte Clark Gallery
  • Wallpaper: London Art