Lighting Up

Originally published in 

A dim Toronto Tudor gets an airy new look, thanks to a top-level remodel and some bright ideas.

When Levitt Goodman Architects tackled the renovation of a turn-of- the-century Tudor-style house in Toronto, they decided to take it from the top. The home’s second-story hallway, which serves as an open office and library, was suffering from a severe lack of light. Lifting up one side of the old pitched roof made room for a linear skylight, which faces south to allow in as many rays as possible, and the modification trans- formed the top floor into a loftlike double-height space. Inexpensive detailing then added texture and scale: Simple plywood panels attached to cold-rolled-steel frames serve as guards along the stairs and extend down through a slim gap that cuts through the corridor to the first floor. Overhead, hanging fixtures made from Ikea extension cords and wire bring color and knotty visual interest. The most significant element of the redesign, however, was the least tangible. “In this home,” says Janna Levitt, “the light was like a liquid building material.”

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