Hometown looks at where our designers live and work. This month we chatted with artist and designer Tom Froese about his hometown of Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada. He's picked some of his favourite things to share with us; tasty fresh food, natural beauty and the Canadian word for the Beanie hat.
At the foot of the Skagit Range of the Cascade Mountains on the Vedder River, sits the small, rural town of Yarrow. Situated in a valley, this is a raw and beautiful place surrounded by farms, forests, rivers and lakes.
Yarrow is the place that Tom Froese calls home and where he creates his designs. He lives in a house locally described as a BC (British Columbian) Box style house - a 1970s style split level house. With a tight-knit community of only 2800 residents and a scattering of working farms, the life here is laidback, and Tom often ventures into the city of Vancouver for work and urban leisure. He's chosen some of his favourite things and places to visit.
Tom's Favourite Building
Vancouver is a relatively new city, and this is reflected in its architecture most of which is less than 100 years old. Many of the buildings were constructed after WW2, and they used lots of glass. The Marine building however, is something else. An Art Deco building with a stunning entrance a "time capsule" that encapsulates all the style and glamour of the 1930s. The small lobby boasts five elevators with brass, intricately designed doors.
The Lobby of the Marine Building in Vancouver
Situated by the harbour, the Marine Building draws heavily on the nautical theme, the flat relief is carved with pufferfish, seahorses and boats. It's quite subdued and a perfect expression of Canadian Art Deco.
The Marine building 355 Burrard St #1000, Vancouver, BC V6C 2G8, Canada
Favourite Places to Grab a Bite to Eat
Vancouver is famous for its mountains, but it's also located right by the Pacific Ocean and is one of the best places in the world for seafood. By the Ocean on Granville Island in one of Vancouver's hidden treasures. Go Fish, Fish and Chips for diners who like their fish n chips fresh and wild. Tom said,
"Go Fish is amazing! It's open all year round. They serve the food in the open air whatever the weather; salmon, halibut cod & chips in a wicker basket with coleslaw and tartare sauce on the side."
Go Fish Granville Island,1505 1st Ave W, Vancouver, British Columbia V6J 1E8, Canada.
For something a little spicier, Vancouver has a whole host of Good quality Mexican restaurants that make good use of the abundance of fresh fish.
"Taco Fino serves fresh fish Tacos. It's small and groovy, Vancouver is full of smaller independent restaurants."
Taco Fino Commissary, 2327 E Hastings St, Vancouver, BC V5L 1V6 .
Unlike London, Vancouver has no real "Proper Pubs", and Tom describes himself as a "Beer guy" so where does he go for a drink?
Craft Beer made at 33 acres Brewery
There may not be places to sup warm beer standing at a bar with a sticky carpet in Vancouver, but it's certainly a great place to visit if you like craft beer. As Tom explained,
"Craft beer probably originates in California, but Vancouver shares the heritage by virtue of sharing the same coast. Culture tends to travel north and south along the Pacific coast. 33 Acres is one of my favourite places to have a sociable drink. My favourite beer has to be 33 Acres of Nirvana (IPA is my go-to beer style).They brew lovely beer, and it's always packed. The space is clean and modern. Cafes are very social places in Vancouver, we work and socialise in them."
They serve beer brewed at their small-batch brewery with evocative names such as 33 Acres of Ocean and 33 Acres of Life. Their regularly updated menu includes dishes such as pulled Mushroom Banh Mi and Two Rivers Steak Sandwich: Two Rivers tri-tip sirloin steak, spicy roasted corn cream cheese, jalepeño crema, arugula, red pepper, onion on a brioche bun.
Another place Tom likes to sup is the Field House Brewing Co.
"If one ever makes it east out to the Fraser Valley, where I live, I also highly recommend Field House Brewing Co., another perfect example of a west coast craft brewery. Try their East Coast IPA or Salted Black porter, which you can use to wash down their delicious food truck-style food: wood-fired pizzas, German pretzels, and mouth-watering tacos. "I regularly collaborate with Field House on creative ventures. Every now and then I host a Drink and Draw, a social gathering of beer drinking and doodling there, and I’ve even designed a beer label and suite of products for them."
Field House Brewing Co. 2281 W.Railway St — East Abby, 604-776-Brew (2739)
Tom's favourite Museum - MOV
"Small, quirky and eclectic, The Museum of Vancouver has a comprehensive permanent collection of objects and ephemera from Vancouver’s history."
Tom has a neat connection to this museum as his wife designed the logo. It's not the only reason he loves it though. Like any good museum, it's a fabulous collection of random things. There's currently a neon signs exhibition, lots of local history and a lone Egyptian mummy!
1100 Chestnut Street, Vanier Park, Kitsilano, Vancouver BC, V6J 3J9
Finer detail - Vancouver Specials
Despite globalisation, most cities and towns have their own unique feel which is often created by the vernacular architecture. Buildings that are designed to suit the populations and climate of the area. The Vancouver special is British Columbia's equivalent to the British terraced house.
A typical Vancouver Special. Vancouver Heritage Foundation.
The 'Special' is a two-story home with a balcony and a low pitched roof. Built using Modernist design, they are considered Mid Century Chic. They were developed to accommodate European immigrants and the need for affordable housing. Once known as 'Monster Houses' and built for the poor, these houses are now being taken on as renovation projects, and Vancouverites are creating modern vintage homes; there's even a website dedicated to it.
For further history and database of Vancouver Specials - visit
From everything Tom has said, Vancouver sounds like a very happy place indeed, but what is his personal happy place?
Tom's Happy Place
Harrison Hot Springs
"I Don't tie any particular place to happiness. I'm a homebody, we love it so much here; there is so much to take in, the mountains, the lakes. We love going to Harrison Hot Springs. It's by a giant lake surrounded by mountains the springs warm you up her winter.
And finally, Tom's guilty pleasures
IKEA - There's always something you need there, it's our guilty pleasure. We love going on a rainy Saturday, to send the kids off to Smalland and have one hour to ourselves to walk around. Then we all go for meatballs at lunchtime. We feel like we shouldn’t like it as much as we do, for reasons including how shallow it might be to like a big box store and how many much more beautiful things there are to see in our corner of the world! "
Don't worry Tom, we all love our Ikea fix from time to time. To view Tom’s collection for Lagom Design - pop over to our online store