A Toronto couple remodel their home with a special emphasis on a spacious kitchen and a material-rich bathroom.
When Don Evans and Susan Wilson bought their new home, they literally tore the roof off. Starting with a bland 1930s Tudor house in downtown Toronto, the couple removed the gabled roof and added a “light monitor”—an angled rooftop window like the ones that topped early 20th-century factories. It is emblematic of architect Paul Syme’s design for the house, which has the openness and hardy materials of an industrial space. “There’s very little that divides the spaces inside,” Syme says. “I think of it as the folding of a loft space into a contemporary house.” The kitchen and living room are built around a grand hearth of gray brick, while kitchen cabinets by Bulthaup, crafted with lustrous white laminate, provide a smooth counterpoint. It’s a subtle mix of luxe and loft, nowhere more so than in the main bathroom on the second floor. Here, Syme clad the floor with white Carrara marble that Evans found at a hardware store in six-inch-wide strips—meant for door thresholds—which they cut and assembled into 18-inch tiles. “This is considered junk stone in the interior design world,” Syme says, “but we saw something really handsome in it.” A curvaceous Victoria + Albert bathtub rests on the floor, but the real luxury is in the adjacent walk-in shower, illuminated from above by that light monitor on the roof. “You can have a shower with the sun beaming straight in,” Evans says. “It’s a spectacular, spa-like experience. Actually, it’s better than a spa. There, you can’t see the sky.”
Architect Paul Syme designed custom storage units with dark-stained walnut fronts that provide a place for everything in his clients’ Toronto bathroom. The wall-to-wall mirror and the Corian counter are custom, and the faucets are by Vola.
The bathtub faces a Spanish-cedar-framed window overlooking the back deck. Once the outside plants have grown up enough to provide privacy, the adhesive film on the window will be removed.
The standing shower is set off by etched-glass panels supported by stainless-steel hardware. There is no threshold; instead, the tile within the shower zone slopes down very slightly to a floor trough with a custom stainless-steel grille. Along the wall, a Corian shelf—“the longest soap dish in the world,” resident Don Evans jokes—runs the length of the space.
The kitchen features cabinets from Bulthaup’s B3 line and a hearth made of ironspot brick. Evans and his wife, Susan Wilson, bought the wall clock at Habitat in London.
A grille of walnut slats, designed by Syme and made by the local millworkers MCM, delineates the edge of a new stair with open treads made of hot-rolled steel. Tall Bulthaup cabinets mark the edge of the dining area; Evans, a mechanical engineer, had them custom-made to conceal heating ducts that vent almost invisibly through the top edge.
In the rear of the house, a new addition extends the living space and adds a roof terrace off the second-floor master bedroom. A garden is accessible through a wall of sliding glass doors with Sapele mahogany frames, set back to control solar gain.
Windows in the roof monitor let in natural light and ventilation.
On the ground floor, freestanding cabinetry with a gloss lacquer finish by Bulthaup separates the entryway from the kitchen and dining area.
A slight gap between the existing house and the new addition allows for a skylight and a masonry chimney with a wood-burning fireplace.
The transformed facade features dark gray stained-masonry.
Darkshadow House Floor Plan
B Dining Room
D Living Room
E Powder Room
I Dressing Room