Designed for an international family on a double lot in a premier neighbourhood of North Toronto, this modern oasis takes advantage of all of the site’s natural features. Large expanses of windows offer views out to the pool and carefully choreographed landscape, while strategically placed overhangs and walls create private spaces. A combination of plaster and zinc co-exist with various natural woods and stones to create a structure of modern restraint.
The second floor living space offers the opportunity to slide the walls of windows back and out of the way for an indoor outdoor experience. The large deck of the living space overlooks the pool below.
Large beams run the length of the overhang creating a shady place to relax on those hot Toronto summer days. The overhang also shelters the interior space from the glare of the sun.
When summer turns to autumn, through the windows, the deciduous trees create a spectacular display of fall colours.
Just past the living space are the informal eating area and kitchen. Here, ebony cabinetry creates a sense of warmth and intimacy. The mid tone plank flooring and white lower cabinets keep the space from being too dark while the incredible light fixture over the dining table brings in the whimsy.
The dining room is arranged for 10, but could easily accommodate many more. The modern chandelier is a study of repetition with its 2 rows of 6 pendants and the stacked stone division wall offers its own repeating pattern. Just behind this feature wall is a staircase with an undulating wood balustrade that reaches up to the ceiling. It too, uses repetition as a design feature.
The staircase is a work of art. The choice not to hang art on the stone feature wall allows the balustrade and floating treads to be the star of the show. The undulating balustrade creates incredible movement as though it is a series of sound waves passing through the space.
The balustrade is both a piece of sculpture and a structural support system for the open treads. The supporting sections of the balustrade are created with curvilinear shapes that work with the more decorative undulations to create a harmonious singular form.
The scale of the balustrade is impressive when seen in conjunction with a human image.
To keep the treads in proportion with the balustrade, large, thick planks of solid wood where used.
The balustrade creates a continuous flow with the trees beyond the windows.
The stairs lead up to a hallway that bridges two spaces. The bridge is flanked with clear glass panels for viewing the living space below. A long runner with an abstract pattern helps ground the hallway and the distant wall is brought closer with the use of a large photograph.
This floor holds the bedrooms and here, too, large organic and flowing shapes create the art. The headboard runs the length of the wall for a hotel ambiance. Two pendants are suspended from the ceiling and keep the beside tables uncluttered. The large metal sculpture above the headboard appears to be wafting in the wind rather then attached to the wall.
In this bathroom a large freestanding soaker tub is placed on an angle and a floor-mounted faucet in a modern angular form continues the theme of functional items used as sculpture.
An office is tucked into one of the upstairs rooms and offers a private place to work or study. When a break from working at the desk is required, a comfy lounge area with a view is just a couple of feet away.
Another office is more formally laid out. Here a long and low bureau runs the length of the window and two leather lounging chairs create an informal meeting place.
When its time to put the work away and enjoy the weather outside, a comfortable conversation area is surrounded by formal and informal shrubbery. Concrete pavers are grouted with grass to add to the relaxed atmosphere and a privacy wall gives the sense of seclusion.
This private outdoor conversation area comes complete with its own fireplace and is just around the corner from the living room. In fact, this fireplace backs onto the fireplace in the living room.
The intimate feeling of the outdoor conversation area is further enhanced with the use of strategically placed shrubs and small trees.
The lounging area just outside the living room creates an indoor, outdoor space that is both open and spacious. The fireplace in the living room keeps the place warm in the evening even when the glass panels are open.
The living room overlooks the pool below. Here a large outdoor patio is big enough for pool side parties and large grass expanses can be used for outdoor games.
The geometry of the pool flows with the portion of the home that juts out as if to meet it.
The grass expanses to the side of the pool are sloped and a series of concrete slabs create both steps and seating. These slabs are yet another example of sculptural function that is found throughout the home.
The slope of the yard also travels from side to side and the architects have used this to create varying levels of entertaining.
Concrete pavers and casual plantings define the spaces around the home. This allows for easy traveling within a park like atmosphere.
The organic forms of the landscaping create an interesting juxtaposition next to the geometry of the house. The concrete pavers act as a frame to the overall abstract created by the two opposing formations.
Because this home is located in the city of Toronto, a garden gate defines the division between public and private spaces.d
Passing through the gate into the private garden spaces is a treat for all who arrive.
The front yard of this home is as spacious as the back. Here a curvaceous grass lawn is bordered with seasonal blooms for colour interest and ornamental grasses for movement.
The sweeping formation of the grass is punctuated with the trunk of a large tree.
A concrete staircase creates easy access to the lower levels of the garden.
The façade of the house is as geometric as the back of the home. The main difference is the level of privacy. A driveway leads up to the double garage and the garage creates a privacy wall for the front of the home. An additional privacy wall juts out just past the entrance.
While the front of the home incorporates large expanses of windows as well, the privacy wall and the landscaping block the view into the home from the public’s curious eye.
Belzberg Architects Group