Inside Job

written by:
photos by:
March 4, 2009

Designing an innovative house is a rite of passage 
for many young architects. But building in a city doesn’t always make experimentation easy; after all, neighbors have their own ideas about how a block is supposed to look.

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  A wide cut across the top of the structure made room for a second-floor courtyard where the family can catch some sun but maintain their privacy. On the ground level, the front door is tucked into an ivy-covered alcove lined with ipe, a material used throughout the house.  Photo by: Juliana Sohn
    A wide cut across the top of the structure made room for a second-floor courtyard where the family can catch some sun but maintain their privacy. On the ground level, the front door is tucked into an ivy-covered alcove lined with ipe, a material used throughout the house.

    Photo by: Juliana Sohn

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  A 2002 photograph of the courtyard in progress.  Photo by: Juliana Sohn
    A 2002 photograph of the courtyard in progress.

    Photo by: Juliana Sohn

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  Four-year-old Ian plays in the courtyard, which is the center of family life in warmer months.  Photo by: Juliana Sohn
    Four-year-old Ian plays in the courtyard, which is the center of family life in warmer months.

    Photo by: Juliana Sohn

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  An outbuilding that belonged to the warehouse complex; today the same space holds the courtyard.  Photo by: Juliana Sohn
    An outbuilding that belonged to the warehouse complex; today the same space holds the courtyard.

    Photo by: Juliana Sohn

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  Framing the interior.  Photo by: Juliana Sohn
    Framing the interior.

    Photo by: Juliana Sohn

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  In the living room abundant daylight can pour in, but rain and snow keep a safe distance from the family’s well-loved collection of vintage furniture.  Photo by: Juliana Sohn
    In the living room abundant daylight can pour in, but rain and snow keep a safe distance from the family’s well-loved collection of vintage furniture.

    Photo by: Juliana Sohn

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  Tan built storage into every available corner of the house, including the stairs, each of which contains a drawer.  Photo by: Juliana Sohn
    Tan built storage into every available corner of the house, including the stairs, each of which contains a drawer.

    Photo by: Juliana Sohn

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  In the kitchen, wall-to-wall cabinets hold files from the adjacent home office in addition to storing servingware and kitchen appliances. The custom island shows off Tan’s craft. The range hood is wrapped in millwork, and the countertop is a 1-inch slab of solid plantation teak. When there’s no cooking going on, “the kitchen can just disappear” behind another piece of wood, Ho Ping Kong says.  Photo by: Juliana Sohn
    In the kitchen, wall-to-wall cabinets hold files from the adjacent home office in addition to storing servingware and kitchen appliances. The custom island shows off Tan’s craft. The range hood is wrapped in millwork, and the countertop is a 1-inch slab of solid plantation teak. When there’s no cooking going on, “the kitchen can just disappear” behind another piece of wood, Ho Ping Kong says.

    Photo by: Juliana Sohn

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  Only a set of sliding doors separates the kids’ room from the master bedroom in a Toronto, Ontario, home. When the time is right, there's a track inlaid in the ceiling for a four-panel bifold wall to divide the space into two private rooms for the children. 

Read the whole story here.  Photo by: Juliana Sohn
    Only a set of sliding doors separates the kids’ room from the master bedroom in a Toronto, Ontario, home. When the time is right, there's a track inlaid in the ceiling for a four-panel bifold wall to divide the space into two private rooms for the children. Read the whole story here.

    Photo by: Juliana Sohn

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  A photograph, taken in 2002, shows the warehouse in its original context.  Photo by: Juliana Sohn
    A photograph, taken in 2002, shows the warehouse in its original context.

    Photo by: Juliana Sohn

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  In the hallway another set of sliders shows off a mix of influences from shoji to Schindler, with multitoned wood reflecting the sunlight.  Photo by: Juliana Sohn
    In the hallway another set of sliders shows off a mix of influences from shoji to Schindler, with multitoned wood reflecting the sunlight.

    Photo by: Juliana Sohn

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  With windows looking out onto the second-story courtyard, the laundry/bathroom area has a custom-made and a picturesque view.  Photo by: Juliana Sohn
    With windows looking out onto the second-story courtyard, the laundry/bathroom area has a custom-made and a picturesque view.

    Photo by: Juliana Sohn

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  The workshop is used for messy model-making and creative playtime for the kids.  Photo by: Juliana Sohn
    The workshop is used for messy model-making and creative playtime for the kids.

    Photo by: Juliana Sohn

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  A photograph from 2002 shows the renovation in progress.  Photo by: Juliana Sohn
    A photograph from 2002 shows the renovation in progress.

    Photo by: Juliana Sohn

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  The main courtyard is a “communal” space, Tan says, and the couple keeps a second teak dining set at the ready for occasions when family or friends come for a meal.  Photo by: Juliana Sohn
    The main courtyard is a “communal” space, Tan says, and the couple keeps a second teak dining set at the ready for occasions when family or friends come for a meal.

    Photo by: Juliana Sohn

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  This warehouse on a back alley in Toronto wasn’t desirable to most buyers, but Christine Ho Ping Kong and Peter Tan looked at it and saw an ideal site for their new house.  Photo by: Juliana Sohn
    This warehouse on a back alley in Toronto wasn’t desirable to most buyers, but Christine Ho Ping Kong and Peter Tan looked at it and saw an ideal site for their new house.

    Photo by: Juliana Sohn

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  A narrow garden and climbing ivy soften and brighten the house’s blank front facade.  Photo by: Juliana Sohn
    A narrow garden and climbing ivy soften and brighten the house’s blank front facade.

    Photo by: Juliana Sohn

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