• Moving House


    Finding a new home for my Vancouver heritage house



  • History

    In 1912, architect William A. Doctor designed and built his unique family home in Kerrisdale, Vancouver.

    Designed and built, 1912

    Originally located at 5903 Larch Street, the William A. Doctor residence is unique for its Canadian interpretation of the international Arts & Crafts movement. With is horizontal massing and adzed cedar log pillars, the house features a built-in grandfather clock, plywood abstract fish and bird light fixtures, clinker-brick fireplaces and unusual stained-glass windows. A Canadian architect, educated at Yale, and known for his work in Vancouver, as well as across California, Doctor’s architectural legacy is embodied in his own house, which has maintained a significant level of its original integrity over more than a century.

    Sold, threatened with demolition, 2013

    The heritage house and property was sold to a developer in 2013. Threatened with demolition, I purchased the house, with the vision of moving the house to a safe site for reconstruction and restoration.

    Moved to safety, 2014

    The house was moved to a temporary holding location in July 2014. Because of the extreme width of the heritage house, it was carefully cut into two sections and moved to a temporary holding site by Nickel Bros, a local company that specializes in relocating homes throughout the Pacific Northwest.

    Found, the final receiver site, 2015

    After a lengthy search, a "receiver” site was found and purchased in June 2015 at 1975 Trimble Street, in West Point Grey, Vancouver. It was difficult to find a property large enough to accommodate the very wide heritage house, which measures 58 feet across. The Point Grey site is comprised of two legal lots.

    Neighbourhood input, Spring 2018

    The City of Vancouver development application signs have been installed. The feedback form can be found at http://development.vancouver.ca/pc1975trimble/index.htm, with neighborhood comments due by April 20, 2018.

    Moving home, Summer 2018

    After four years of careful planning, the house will be ready for the long journey to her final home on Trimble Street. Her new neighbour will be a house inspired by the designs of the great West Coast Modernist architects of the 1960’s. Similar natural materials and lush gardens will be shared by the two houses.

    Preserved and protected, 2018

    As part of a Heritage Revitalization Agreement with the City of Vancouver, and in recognition of the heritage house’s unique design and original character, both the exterior and interior elements of the house will be designated. This preservation contract will prevent changes being made to the heritage house. An initial restoration program will be carefully monitored by the City.

  • 2 Homes, 2 Lots, 1 Site

    2 homes

    The heritage house will share the Trimble Street site, which currently comprises two legal lots, with a new single family dwelling.

    Site Plan, 1975 Trimble St.

    The lane end of the site was selected as the best resting place for the relocated heritage house. The entry of the heritage house will be oriented towards the laneway, above the garage. The house will be moved and lovingly restored using the same footprint as its original Kerrisdale location. The house will be home for me, and my family, and will not contain strata units.

    Architectural plans for the modern house that will share the Trimble site with the heritage house.

    The new single family dwelling will be a 2.5 storey modern design by Sandra Moore of Birmingham & Wood Architects. The design, use of materials and landscaping of the modern house will echo elements of the heritage house. The entry of the modern house will be oriented towards Trimble St.

    The move

    The heritage house will travel from its current storage facility near 70th Ave. and Granville St. to the Trimble St. site. To avoid overhead utility lines, trees, and other obstacles, and take advantage of wider roads, the house will travel a circuitous route along SW and NW Marine Drive around UBC, and the Point Grey peninsula, to the North end of Trimble Street. The two sections of the house will be staged on Trimble and "skated" (slid along steel installation beams on skates) west and north onto the site for installation onto a new foundation.

  • Joining the Neighbourhood

    Heritage Landscape Preserved

    Trees and plants from the original site in Kerrisdale are also being stored for relocation. These include a 100-year-old wisteria, mature rhododendrons and, over 25 different varieties of roses. By installing the heritage landscape for the relocated house, and planting mature trees and gardens throughout the property, both homes will quickly blend in with the lush character of the neighbourhood.


    Because of the steep topography of the site, and the new house and heritage house fitting within City of Vancouver height guidelines, neighbouring city and sea views will not be impacted

    Two Lots, Two Homes

    Current City of Vancouver zoning permits six dwelling units within four detached buildings on the current site, which already encompasses two legal lots. To better fit into the neighborhood, we’ve proposed only five family dwellings within two detached buildings. The new house, which sits at Fourth Avenue and Trimble, is designed as a single family home. The heritage house, located on the lane, will include four non-strata suites for me, and my family, so that we may all age in place. The house size and footprint will be the same as its earlier Kerrisdale location at 43rd and Larch.

    Parking and Traffic

    Current City of Vancouver zoning requires only two parking stalls for the entire property, spanning both legal lots. In order to lessen the number of parked cars on the street, we’ve proposed four parking stalls, for two families, to be provided within the two buildings – with one garage facing Trimble and the other facing the lane.


    To minimize water usage, the heritage house will feature a grey water retention system. In addition, we will be testing the new Tesla roof tiles for solar power to the home

  • Our Local Team

    Susan Walker


    Born in Vancouver, Susan has spent much of her life in Point Grey. After a childhood spent visiting her grandparents and aunt and uncle in the area, then graduating from UBC, Susan restored two heritage homes in Point Grey. She is passionate about heritage conservation and plans to live in the relocated heritage home with her family.

    Sandra Moore


    Sandra is a Principal at Birmingham & Wood Architects & Planners. The firm, established in the 1930s, was key in the development of West Coast Modernist architecture.

    Nickel Bros

    Structural Movers

    Trusted structural movers Nickel Bros have been operating in the Pacific Northwest for more than 60 years.

    Stephen Nestmann

    Construction Partner

    Nestworks Construction is a Vancouver-based home construction company, specialized in restoring, renovating and converting heritage homes.

    City of Vancouver

    Planning and Development

    We are actively working with these City of Vancouver contacts on our application:

    • Susan Chang, Development Planner, Planning, Urban Design & Sustainability
    • James Boldt, Heritage Planner, The Heritage Group, Current Planning Initiatives Branch 
    • Christine Fong, Project Coordinator, Development, Buildings, and Licensing, Development Review Branch
  • Contact Us

    I hope you have found this information on my project to be helpful. If you have additional questions, please email me, Susan Walker, directly at vancouverheritagehouse@gmail.com.

  • News and Awards

    City of Vancouver Heritage Awards, 2015