Constructed more than a century ago as a dairy, this three-storey building was subsequently divided vertically into three townhouse-style living units. PLANT had designed a garden for one unit’s owners several years ago; more recently they selected us once again for an interior renovation.

Redesigning the main stairway to all levels was key to making this extremely narrow residence feel more spacious. On the second floor, where the stairs border the living room, replacing what had been a solid wall with floor-to-ceiling transparent glass panels visually expands the room’s width by ‘adding’ the stairway volume to it. A new skylight above the stair draws light into the interior.

The combination of the clients’ extensive art collection with the home’s compact dimensions and tall, round-headed windows suggested the approach of treating the second floor as a wood-lined curio cabinet with wood paneling framing the library area and the windows. Irregular, bubble-like pendent light fixtures add to the sense of being in a den of marvels. All other lighting is with fixtures that are concealed, or bounce light, so as not to distract from the paintings. The room-as-cabinet strategy is extended to the third floor cabinetry-lined guest bedroom/change room, and the wall and closet treatments of the master bedroom. The few doors in the house (most functions are separated by floor levels, not rooms) were replaced with walnut, with wood panel clerestories. Along with some masonry refurbishment, all of the windows were replaced including walnut windows at the ground floor.

The renovation included custom cabinetry throughout including an expanded kitchen and stereo cabinet.

Ground floor dining (photo: Steven Evans Photography)
Ground floor dining
New stair to second floor (photo: Steven Evans Photography)
New stair with wood screen
Stair and painting gallery (photo: Steven Evans Photography)
Stair and painting gallery
Wood walls flank the stair (photo: Steven Evans Photography)
Wood walls flank the stair
Open stair spills light to the second floor (photo: Steven Evans Photography)
Open stair spills light to the second floor
Arrival at the second floor (photo: Steven Evans Photography)
Arrival at the second floor
Wood lined library (photo: Steven Evans Photography)
Wood lined library
Living room (photo: Steven Evans Photography)
Living room
Built in stereo cabinet and paneling (photo: Steven Evans Photography)
Built in stereo cabinet and paneling
The arched windows (photo: Steven Evans Photography)
The arched windows
Stair to the third floor (photo: Steven Evans Photography)
Stair to the third floor
Steel and wood handrail (photo: Steven Evans Photography)
Steel and wood handrail
Skylight and new stair (photo: Steven Evans Photography)
Skylight and new stair
Dressing room murphy bed (photo: Steven Evans Photography)
Dressing room murphy bed
Wood lined dressing cabinets (photo: Steven Evans Photography)
Wood lined dressing cabinets
Master bedroom (photo: Steven Evans Photography)
Master bedroom
Master bedroom (photo: Steven Evans Photography)
Master bedroom
Street view (photo: Steven Evans Photography)
View from the street

project index

  1. A Conversation of Views
  2. Admiral Road Garden
  3. Airdrie Road Garden
  4. Airdrie Road Residence
  5. Albany Avenue Residence
  6. Alexandra Park
  7. Aporia Records
  8. Asphalt Poetry
  9. – Poem
  10. Baby Point Gardens
  11. Beach Garden
  12. Beach Village BIA Master Plan
  13. Beaty Residence
  14. Bennington Heights Garden
  15. Berkeley Street Residence
  16. Bin-Scarth Garden
  17. Blink and you miss it.
  18. – Poem
  19. Block 22 Landscape
  20. Bloor St. Apartment
  21. Blue Note
  22. Booth Avenue Residence
  23. Boustrophedon Garden
  24. Braemore Gardens Residence
  25. Browning Avenue Residence
  26. Brunswick Avenue Residence
  27. Camp Arowhon Offices
  28. Canadian Firefighters Memorial
  29. Channelled Buried Moved Lost
  30. Chocolate Loft
  31. City Instrument
  32. Clarendon Garden
  33. Conversation Piece
  34. Cortleigh Boulevard Garden
  35. Creemore Farm
  36. Danforth Mosaic BIA Master Plan
  37. Dickson Park Garden
  38. Dilworth Residence
  39. Don Landing Revitalization
  40. Dublin Grounds of Remembrance
  41. Dundas Roncesvalles Peace Garden
  42. Dupont-by-the-Castle BIA
  43. East Point Bird Sanctuary
  44. Eglinton Ave Forecourt
  45. Eglinton Park Master Plan
  46. Elizabeth Fry Society
  47. Ellsworth Residence
  48. Face to Face | Tête à Tête
  49. First Avenue Garden
  50. First Avenue Residence
  51. Flyover Canada
  52. Foote’s Pond Wood
  53. Forest Hill Village Streetscape
  54. Gaze, Glimpse, Glance
  55. Global Affairs Monument
  56. Goldring Landscape, University of Toronto
  57. Gormley Garden
  58. Governor's Bridge Lookout
  59. Greener P
  60. Greer Road Garden
  61. Greer Road Residence
  62. Guelph Bridge
  63. Head in the Clouds
  64. Helena Ave Residence 4
  65. Junction Craft Brewery
  66. Kelpies Competition
  67. Kew Gardens Streetscape
  68. King's Landing Apartment
  69. Kipling & Islington Developments
  70. Le jardin du repos
  71. Lenticular Curtain
  72. Leslie Slip Lookout Park
  73. Liberty Village Parkettes
  74. Liza’s Garden
  75. Lynwood Garden
  76. Macroscape
  77. Markham Garden One
  78. Markham Street Residence Two
  79. Midtown Yonge Streetscape
  80. Mulock Park
  81. Nathan Phillips Square
  82. – Streetscape
  83. – Peace Garden
  84. – Podium Roof Garden
  85. Octane Medical Campus
  86. Orchard View Garden
  87. Osgoode Atkinson Green Competition
  88. Owl Cottage
  89. Paperstone Scissors
  90. Pendrith Residence
  91. Peripheral Sitings
  92. Pottery Road Crossing
  93. rare
  94. Ravine Forecourt
  95. Ribbon of the Lower Don
  96. Riverside BIA Master Plan
  97. Roxborough Garden One
  98. Roxborough Garden Two
  99. Schulich School of Business
  100. Sheridan College
  101. – Trafalgar Campus Master Plan
  102. Spadina Quay Wetland
  103. St. Anne's Road Garden
  104. Stratford Market Square Competition
  105. Stratford Patterson Theatre Competition
  106. Superkids Dental
  107. Superlegible
  108. Sweet Farm
  109. Sweet Farm Pond House
  110. Swift Medical Offices
  111. The Meadows Reconsidered
  112. The Red Sash
  113. Thick & Thin
  114. Thistletown II Townhouses
  115. Tipping Point
  116. TMU Centre for Urban Innovation
  117. TMU Science Building
  118. Tranby Garden
  119. Tree House Residence
  120. UBC Okanagan – The Commons
  121. UHN Tunnels
  122. University of Toronto Mississauga Welcome Centre
  123. Venice Biennale 2012
  124. Vermont Square Park
  125. Vernon Avenue Garden
  126. Walk the Walk
  127. Walmer Road Residence
  128. Welland Canal Fallen Workers Memorial
  129. Wellesley Cottages Garden
  130. Wells Street Residence
  131. Westminster Residence
  132. Weston Village BIA Masterplan
  133. With Words as Their Actions
  134. Woodlawn Avenue Residence
  135. Woven Stories
  136. York Park