Burnaby company wins glory for New West heritage reno

A New Westminster heritage home is basking in its restored glory and the Burnaby company that did the work is celebrating its first Georgie award.

Sasen Design and Development was recognized for best residential renovation between $100,000 to $299,000 at the recent awards' gala in Vancouver that celebrates the province's best home builders and renovators.

It's the first George for Sasen, which was founded in 2004. But it was also the first time they've entered, said principal Matthew Senf.

The winning reno, at 431 Queen's Ave., across from Tipperary Park, was more like a year-and-a-half archaeological study, said Senf. That's because as work crews kept peeling up the ugly brown stucco that had sheathed the house since the 1970's, they uncovered resplendent original architectural features hidden away underneath.

Some of those, like the original clapboard wood siding, were in good shape. Others, like solid fir columns, had been wrapped in layers of chicken wire. And two corbels that are used to support structural beams had been moved to a different part of the house.

Working with heritage architect Eric Pattison, Senf and his crew of carpenters restored to original condition what they could, and contracted local craftsmen including a luthier to faithfully recreate elements that couldn't be saved.

"It's very challenging and very satisfying," said Senf of the research and attention to detail often required of heritage renovations.

Not that they're unfamiliar with such challenges. The company has been involved with renovations on some of the heritage buildings at Burnaby Village Museum.

"With heritage, there's a lot more finishing craft, it's a lot more work," said Senf. "It represents a level of craft that isn't typical."

In addition to restoring the home's exterior, Sasen also replaced its roof and did a number of renovations to the interior including a new kitchen and laundry room.

Sasen was also a finalist for best residential renovation between $500,000 to $799,000 for a project it completed in Burnaby.

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