Situated on a small lot in a dense downtown neighbourhood, this narrow 127-year-old residence required a complete overhaul to fulfill the owner's desire for modern living in a home filled with light and open spaces. To preserve the intimate rear garden, the design challenge was to expand the interior space without increasing the footprint of the house. The dark, cramped interior was carved out to create bright, airy spaces connected by an open plan. Custom, built-in elements such as the stacked felt-clad fireplace delineate space without closing off one room to another. Materials and built-ins emphasize linearity, create the perception of expanding and stretching the space, and direct the eye through the house toward the garden. Large floor-to-ceiling glass panes dissolve the boundaries between inside and outside, extending the ground floor living space into the backyard. The interior flooring material is carried through to the exterior, and paired with an overhead wood and steel trellis, defines an intimate outdoor room. Fragrant lavender, colourful grasses, climbing vines, and Japanese maples are positioned within an urban courtyard that wraps the backyard in whitened wood. The result is an intimate outdoor courtyard that changes with each season, complementing this light-filled, serene retreat for a busy urban professional.