Located in Toronto’s Cabbagetown, a heritage neighbourhood, the primary design challenge for this residential project was to achieve a contemporary addition and renovation to a 120-year old home while fulfilling the requirements set out by the Toronto Historical Board. Sympathetic to the character of its surroundings, the front façade of the dwelling was respected and maintained, while the rear facing new addition is boldly modern. Increased access to natural light, enhanced line of sight through the space, and incorporation of sustainable systems and materials were key requirements of the clients.
The new design incorporates a vertical spine for its circulation and eliminates corridors, allowing rooms to feel larger and more connected. This primarily open plan connects the various rooms while still providing subtle division between spaces accomplished through changes in floor heights, partial walls and built-in elements. An open riser stair is illuminated by a long skylight overhead, drawing light further into the interior of this narrow, semi-detached home. In eliminating corridors, natural light can now freely flow from the windows and skylight, energizing the home’s internal spaces.
Full height glazing on the laneway façade incorporates low-e coatings, taking advantage of its southern orientation to maximize solar gain during the cold winter months. Lush deciduous trees and operable blinds work to regulate the internal temperature during the warmer months, while also providing visual privacy for its occupants. The house’s energy systems and windows were upgraded, its walls insulated, and sustainably-harvested Jatoba wood flooring has been used throughout.