Personal Space: A young professional who lives in the house she grew up in

Cheyenne Reese and her husband used some creative financing to buy this house in Kits

April 7, 2016

By Max Fawcett / Photo: David Strongman

As it turns out, you can go home again. Just ask Cheyenne Reese, who in 2011 bought the very house where she grew up in Kitsilano. “It still has my height markings from when I was a kid in it, for example, so it’s pretty cool to have my kids grow up in the same house and be in such a great neighbourhood.”

It wouldn’t be a Vancouver real estate story if it didn’t involve some sort of intergenerational wealth transfer, mind you, and while Reese and her husband Kieran Moore were both practicing lawyers at the time of the purchase they still needed help getting their foot onto that particular rung of the property ladder. We are still talking about a detached house in Kits, after all.

But instead of getting help with a down payment, they bought a 75-percent stake in the house from her father, who was looking to downsize. It’s a nifty piece of creative financing: he gets exposure to the upside in the house’s value while they got to buy the house they
wanted in a neighbourhood they love.

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Home Field Advantage
One of the biggest draws of the house is its large, open-concept living room, one that allows them to entertain lots of guests—and guests of all age groups, too. “It’s invaluable to have a house that other people want to come to. We like to entertain, and it’s nice to be able to do that—and hopefully, down the road, having a house where the kids’ friends want to be will
be a big benefit.”

Blinded by the Light 
Having lots of light is generally regarded as a design feature, but it does come with one notable drawback. “One of the challenges of having a house with that much light is that it isn’t great for art, because it just washes it out,” Reese says. “You can see it, but anything that goes on that big wall tends to wash out pretty quickly. We had another piece there for a few years, but it just looked sad.”

Idle Ivory 
The piano has been there since Reese was a little girl, but that doesn’t mean she has any particularly fond memories of it. “I’m not a naturally gifted piano player, so I did it but I didn’t love it. But Kieran is a naturally gifted piano player, and he would play it all the
time if he could.”

Open Concept    
Reese’s home isn’t the only one that her father, architect Peter Reese, contributed to the neighbourhood’s housing stock. He also drew up the plans for five other adjoining properties that were built in the late 1980s on the parcel of land he’d put together. But their house, she says, was the best of the bunch. “His goal was to have natural light coming from every side in every room. And that is, for the most part, achieved—certainly in our main living space.”

 

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