Clean lines, pops of color, and sweeping forms transform a traditional townhouse into a sleek, contemporary abode.
In Toronto’s Forest Hill neighborhood, a bold, sophisticated renovation has injected new life into an old townhouse while carefully retaining the building’s 20th-century bones.
The modern renovation is largely the work of local firm Reigo & Bauer, who incorporated bright colors and sculptural forms to reshape the home—starting with a curving central stair that ties the house together.
The home’s new sense of drama is further enhanced with improved sight lines to the outdoors—a nearly unbroken expanse of glazing pulls in views of a refreshed landscape designed by Amantea Architects—and vivid colors, textures, and patterns that add depth to the predominately neutral and minimalist backdrop.
The structural changes also improved the home’s functionality. A two-car garage replaced the formal dining room, and the living room and study were combined into an open-plan living, dining, and kitchen area that connects to the family room via a new doorway and custom-milled stairs.
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Although the home is strikingly contemporary, preserved elements of the building’s original shell can be seen—such as the drywall details that correspond to the ornamental baseboards and door casings.
"Blank white sections of the main floor walls seem to sit slightly in front of a second, charcoal-colored plane with ornamental baseboards, representing the existing shell of the house; these layered white insertions define the charcoal-colored accent walls, frame the fireplace, and create proscenium-like borders for prominent doorways," note the architects.
The outstanding custom millwork—a collaboration with Amantea Architects—was also key in harmonizing the new modern features with the traditional elements and achieving a crisp and clean look throughout.