Narrow Modernist Three-Story Home in Toronto

written by:
photos by:
December 1, 2009

Facing tight building codes and an even tighter space, Karen White and David MacNaughtan needed an architect who could turn lemons into lemonade. Donald Chong devised a refreshing solution.

Read Full Article
  • 
  Karen White, David MacNaughtan, and their sons, Griffin and Finlay, hang out on the front deck, which lines up next to the neighbors' porch.  Photo by: Dean Kaufman
    Karen White, David MacNaughtan, and their sons, Griffin and Finlay, hang out on the front deck, which lines up next to the neighbors' porch.

    Photo by: Dean Kaufman

  • 
  Just through the front door is the living room where built-ins by Chong share space with a three-legged Wegner chair and photo-graphs by Arnaud Maggs.  Photo by: Dean Kaufman
    Just through the front door is the living room where built-ins by Chong share space with a three-legged Wegner chair and photo-graphs by Arnaud Maggs.

    Photo by: Dean Kaufman

  • 
  At the top, the view from the roof deck reveals a patchwork of garages and yards surprisingly free of neighbors.  Photo by: Dean Kaufman
    At the top, the view from the roof deck reveals a patchwork of garages and yards surprisingly free of neighbors.

    Photo by: Dean Kaufman

  • 
  From the second level of the house, Griffin climbs the stairs his own way.  Photo by: Dean Kaufman
    From the second level of the house, Griffin climbs the stairs his own way.

    Photo by: Dean Kaufman

  • 
  The second-floor family room is fronted by an L-shaped staircase with an opaque guardrail that provides some privacy for the front facade.  Photo by: Dean Kaufman
    The second-floor family room is fronted by an L-shaped staircase with an opaque guardrail that provides some privacy for the front facade.

    Photo by: Dean Kaufman

  • 
  A detail shot of the stair, which spirals up and down throughout the house.  Photo by: Dean Kaufman
    A detail shot of the stair, which spirals up and down throughout the house.

    Photo by: Dean Kaufman

  • 
  Down the corridor from the boys’ bedrooms is the family room.  Photo by: Dean Kaufman
    Down the corridor from the boys’ bedrooms is the family room.

    Photo by: Dean Kaufman

  • 
  The kids play in the family room just beneath the stairs.  Photo by: Dean Kaufman
    The kids play in the family room just beneath the stairs.

    Photo by: Dean Kaufman

  • 
  In the back, ivy climbs across the garage’s raw cedar cladding next to a gate that allows access to the laneway—but the boys prefer to climb the fence.  Photo by: Dean Kaufman
    In the back, ivy climbs across the garage’s raw cedar cladding next to a gate that allows access to the laneway—but the boys prefer to climb the fence.

    Photo by: Dean Kaufman

  • 
  In the dining room, furniture by Wegner and local designers Speke Klein blends with the white oak floors and stair.  Photo by: Dean Kaufman
    In the dining room, furniture by Wegner and local designers Speke Klein blends with the white oak floors and stair.

    Photo by: Dean Kaufman

  • 
  The family shares a meal at the counter in the kitchen.  Photo by: Dean Kaufman
    The family shares a meal at the counter in the kitchen.

    Photo by: Dean Kaufman

  • 
  A white Bulthaup system fits cleanly into the 13-foot-long kitchen.  Photo by: Dean Kaufman
    A white Bulthaup system fits cleanly into the 13-foot-long kitchen.

    Photo by: Dean Kaufman

  • 
  Since the room is at the windowless middle of the house, it borrows light from the kitchen, which, despite its pristine Bulthaup cabinetry and hardware, is the laid-back heart of the house. Chong took advantage of the one-and-a-half-height ceiling to establish some well-hidden  storage cabinets.  Photo by: Dean Kaufman
    Since the room is at the windowless middle of the house, it borrows light from the kitchen, which, despite its pristine Bulthaup cabinetry and hardware, is the laid-back heart of the house. Chong took advantage of the one-and-a-half-height ceiling to establish some well-hidden storage cabinets.

    Photo by: Dean Kaufman

  • 
  Griffin’s room, which is exactly the same size as his brother’s, gets good light from the backyard.  Photo by: Dean Kaufman
    Griffin’s room, which is exactly the same size as his brother’s, gets good light from the backyard.

    Photo by: Dean Kaufman

  • 
  The master bedroom occupies a private space on the top floor.  Photo by: Dean Kaufman
    The master bedroom occupies a private space on the top floor.

    Photo by: Dean Kaufman

  • 
  A rear view of the narrow house shows how Chong twisted the house’s volumes to bring daylight into each room.  Photo by: Dean Kaufman
    A rear view of the narrow house shows how Chong twisted the house’s volumes to bring daylight into each room.

    Photo by: Dean Kaufman

  • 
  Chong left enough space in the 16-foot-wide backyard for a garden and comfortable dining area.  Photo by: Dean Kaufman
    Chong left enough space in the 16-foot-wide backyard for a garden and comfortable dining area.

    Photo by: Dean Kaufman

  • 
  In the lane behind the garage, Finlay makes use of the occasionally neglected territory.  Photo by: Dean Kaufman
    In the lane behind the garage, Finlay makes use of the occasionally neglected territory.

    Photo by: Dean Kaufman

@current / @total

Read Full Article

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...