Through House in Toronto, Canada

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April 25, 2013
  • 
  Toronto doctor Yash Patel's home is an 1880 house on a quiet block in The Annex, a 19th-century downtown district. "This is a very pedestrian-friendly neighbourhood, and that’s important to me," he says. A modern garden by architect Heather Dubbeldam hints at what's inside.

    Toronto doctor Yash Patel's home is an 1880 house on a quiet block in The Annex, a 19th-century downtown district. "This is a very pedestrian-friendly neighbourhood, and that’s important to me," he says. A modern garden by architect Heather Dubbeldam hints at what's inside.

  • 
  Dubbeldam opened up the layout completely—long linear elements draw your eyes through the house to the backyard, and subtle details guide your eye there. One type of porcelain tiles, intended for outdoor use, stretches from the kitchen to the yard. "The backyard is small," she says, "but when you connect the house and the yard visually, they both seem so much larger."

    Dubbeldam opened up the layout completely—long linear elements draw your eyes through the house to the backyard, and subtle details guide your eye there. One type of porcelain tiles, intended for outdoor use, stretches from the kitchen to the yard. "The backyard is small," she says, "but when you connect the house and the yard visually, they both seem so much larger."

  • 
  A custom unit of sapele wood holds three masks that evoke Patel's East African heritage. Dubbeldam designed the built-in dining table out of solid sapele. The backsplash and counter are made of gray St. Marks limestone.

    A custom unit of sapele wood holds three masks that evoke Patel's East African heritage. Dubbeldam designed the built-in dining table out of solid sapele. The backsplash and counter are made of gray St. Marks limestone.

  • 
  The hearth—lined with panels of industrial felt by artist Kathryn Walter of FELT Studio—is Patel’s favourite part of the house. "It's modelled after 1950s and 1960s modernism, when people had stone walls that looked like this," he says. "But it has a tactile quality as well. People touch it—and then they want to lean their heads against it."

    The hearth—lined with panels of industrial felt by artist Kathryn Walter of FELT Studio—is Patel’s favourite part of the house. "It's modelled after 1950s and 1960s modernism, when people had stone walls that looked like this," he says. "But it has a tactile quality as well. People touch it—and then they want to lean their heads against it."

  • 
  A trellis made of ipe was designed to shade the interior from high summer sun; it’s one of several passive climate-control strategies employed by Dubbeldam. Along with a radiant heating system, they make the house extremely energy-efficient.

    A trellis made of ipe was designed to shade the interior from high summer sun; it’s one of several passive climate-control strategies employed by Dubbeldam. Along with a radiant heating system, they make the house extremely energy-efficient.

  • 
  Upstairs, an operable skylight lets hot air vent straight out of the house, and also brings light in to the adjacent bathroom—through a frosted glass wall—and the downstairs.

    Upstairs, an operable skylight lets hot air vent straight out of the house, and also brings light in to the adjacent bathroom—through a frosted glass wall—and the downstairs.

  • 
  Though Patel lives alone, he loves to entertain. In summer months, friends can gather at the outdoor table for some barbecue and have drinks on the sofa inside. Plantings of lavender, fragrant grasses, and a Japanese maple add colour in the carefully composed garden, which has a floor of tile and painted cedar slats.

    Though Patel lives alone, he loves to entertain. In summer months, friends can gather at the outdoor table for some barbecue and have drinks on the sofa inside. Plantings of lavender, fragrant grasses, and a Japanese maple add colour in the carefully composed garden, which has a floor of tile and painted cedar slats.

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