The 2,500 sq foot detached house, in Toronto’s historic Cabbagetown, replaces an 1875 house, listed with Heritage Preservation Services for its exterior woodwork. Given the neglected state of the original building, the City gave permission to have the front façade “replicated” instead of “restored”; the paneled front entrance, protected by a later porch addition, was salvaged and reused.
The East/West property runs through from Bowman Street to Woodstock Place, limited by a zero lotline to the North, and a 1.5ft setback from the South. The back of the house is built on a heated, floating concrete slab to minimize construction impact on the six adjoining properties.
The new house is designed to maintain a Victorian “face” to the neighbourhood, while creating a contemporary oasis, with house and garage enclosing a walled garden, for the Clients. The garage roof is a wildflower meadow.
The front half of the house, facing the street, is traditional in its exterior materials, room divisions, and detailing. The rear half is contemporary, inside and out, with large open rooms, high ceilings, and minimalistic detailing. The two styles are connected by a recessed light well containing a small garden at grade, with skylights and windows bringing natural light – through a steel and glass staircase – into the centre of the house. The rooms are designed to display paintings and sculpture. Jotoba wood is used throughout for flooring, trim, and built-in cabinets, tying together the front and back, while minimizing the need for furniture.
The house won the Cabbagetown Restoration Award.