Located in Toronto’s Little Italy neighbourhood, House Grace is a full renovation and addition to a house from the 1890s creating a connected and light-filled home for a young family with a segregated second suite at the lowest level.
Three distinct service pods organize and anchor the kitchen, dining and living areas and form a filter to the main entry. Overlooking the street from a counter related window, the kitchen is located at the front of the house. The living room opens directly onto the garden through a new rear portico, with the dining room nestled between them. Bedrooms are arranged around a breakout space on the second floor, which can change function as the family grows and changes. Located on the third floor, the family room accesses a large roof terrace with views to the downtown core. The front porch was reduced in length defining an open court and stairwell as a discreet, yet generous entry for the lowest level second suite.
Two offset double height openings straddle the second floor breakout area bringing light and active connection between the three levels of the home. The second washroom and breakout area borrow light from across an opening between the ground and second levels. The new staircase to the third floor is edged with a slatted wall and has multiple facing windows that lend morning and evening light to the second floor. Colour changes in light are registered in this space as the sun moves through the course of the day. The Ground floor is finished with white oak flooring and panels with white panel millwork and is anchored by black slate in the kitchen and the hearth at opposite ends. The palette simplifies vertically where the third floor family room is reduced to all white surfaces, revealing the rich complexity of the roof geometry, layered slat walls and multiple sources of daylight.
The front elevation is modestly updated yet relates to the neighbourhood context. The original red brick is countered with black stained wood elements while thin white elements are utilized as tracings outlining distinct features. White becomes the dominant element on the rear facade through the use of cement board, aluminum slats and articulated with cedar siding that frames views to the internal living spaces and the original brick house beyond. The new portico is mirrored across the garden in the new garage creating continuity across the site. All flat roofs are designed and planted as green roofs to connect adjacent interior spaces to the garden below.
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New addition at rear of house framing the original house and interior areas
Street facade with with subtle updates and highlights
Kitchen and dining area from point of entry with coffee and drink service beyond
Living room opening out onto rear garden
Dining area and kitchen beyond. Service pods on the left create distinction between areas along the open plan
Kitchen with custom floating tiled hood vent
Black slate hearth with wood stove. Millwork pod conceals entertainment area when not in use
Powder room with borrowed light from glass ceiling over hung wall sink
Dining and staircase to second floor
Master bedroom with ensuite beyond
Master ensuite with sliding mirror panels and view to green roof at tub
Bathroom with borrowed light and view across a double height volume
Stair to third floor family room
Small punched window brings morning light into second and third floors along stairwell
Window nook overlooking neighbourhood trees and street
Family room at third level. Laundry concealed behind panels at left
Detail at new and old with garden and through garage beyond
Rear portico framing rear access to house
View of house amongst neighbours from rear lane