Tavan Group

Tradition and transition.

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It’s not all that uncommon to still hear people complain, “They just don’t make them like they used to.” Whether they’re referring to the contrived obsolescence of electronic gadgets, or the poor performance of run-of-the-mill shoes, or the shoddy and gaudy appearances of certain buildings, there’s a sense that quality is often compromised in today’s world; that cost-saving shortcuts waylay genuine craftsmanship. The Tavan Group sets itself apart by going against such trends. Combining old-world artisanship, fine finishing, and contemporary flair, the company builds homes that stand the test of time—structurally as well as aesthetically.

“If you see one of our homes and think, ‘Is this new, or is it a renovation of a 100-year-old home?’ that’s one of the best compliments we can receive,” says Tavan founder Troy Van Vliet. A native of Vancouver, Van Vliet has a nuanced appreciation for the architectural styles that comprise the city’s streets. This is why he calls Tavan’s trademark style “transitional”: his company creates modern homes that still manage to conserve the visual and cultural legacy of Vancouver’s heritage houses. It might be said that Tavan Group homes stand out by blending in.

Tavan Group

Photo by Keith Henderson Photography. 
In Vancouver’s west side, where the majority of the Tavan Group’s clients are located, “traditional” typically means English Tudor, Georgian, and American Craftsman-style architecture, which Tavan combines to great effect with tasteful modern touches. The allusions to the city’s architectural lineage can be as subtle as gables, wall shingles, and even the choice of gutter, or they can be as conspicuous as the grand entranceways and great-rooms; either way, everything is carefully considered. But for Van Vliet and his team, perhaps the most vital part of beginning a new project is looking at the neighbourhood the home will be built in. For instance, Tavan didn’t incorporate influences from French chateaus into a beautiful South Granville development simply because they looked good—it was because those aesthetic currents were already in the neighbourhood. And if they weren’t already there, that should be respected, too. “Sometimes we have to talk clients out of something they like because it’s just not going to work with the street,” explains Van Vliet. “Something that might look good in Beverly Hills may not fit in here without looking really strange. And they trust us with that.”

Tavan Group

Photo by Keith Henderson Photography. 
The interiors of the homes are also characteristic of Tavan’s transitional style, and seek inspiration across time as well as across the globe. A kitchen might feature island posts that are custom turned, cast, and chromed, invoking a fashionable simplicity with an industrial pop. Or perhaps there’s a backsplash tiled in 24-karat gold, hand-placed in a brilliant, custom-created pattern. But whatever ornate touches there are, they’re woven organically throughout the home. “It’s understated wealth; it’s not in-your-face, mansion-type stuff,” says Van Vliet. “These homes are big, but they’re still very charming on the outside without being palatial.” This attention and appreciation extends beyond the building and encompasses the surrounding space. “Even with the landscaping, we bring in a lot of big trees,” he mentions. “They’re beautiful, and people love to have a mature garden. We go the extra mile with a lot of things.”

Of course, Van Vliet recognizes that Vancouver is a relatively young city. “A hundred years isn’t very old—150 isn’t old—but it’s all we’ve got, so it’s good to preserve it,” he states. And while the Tavan Group also renovates dated homes, there are situations where an old house is so structurally degraded that the only real option is to take it down. “When we tear down old homes, we recycle 95 per cent of the material,” notes Van Vliet. “It all gets taken out, sorted, and re-used, sometimes in the home that we’re building. We keep what we can, and if we are tearing a house down, I like to put something up that speaks to what was there before—that speaks to the neighbourhood.” With almost 20 luxury home projects presently in process, the busy schedule of the Tavan Group speaks to both its success and its vision. Van Vliet articulates this succinctly: “Something doesn’t have to be grotesquely extravagant to be of great quality.” And for a home—that personal place where families spend time together, where friends entertain, where peace and comfort can be found after a day’s work—quality truly is everything.


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April 22, 2017