This major renovation, completed in 2013, transforms a 1911 Toronto semi-detached home into a gorgeous, modern, accessible house for the residents, a couple in their 50s.
The husband and father of the house was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2006, and was soon in need of a mobility device. The family began to look into purchasing an accessible home, only to find this a near impossible feat; accessible houses are rarely on the market, and when they are, they are incredibly expensive. Instead, the family decided to renovate their existing home, which they bought in 1989.
The couple turned to Toronto-based Solares Architecture, a firm specializing in high performance homes and sustainable design. Eager to learn more about combining sustainable design practices with accessibility, responded with a resounding "yes!".
The recently renovated front facade, with winding stairs and surrounded by lush greenery, was left largely untouched. Solares instead focussed on creating an accessible entrance at the rear of the house. The house's backyard, previously with no access to the laneway behind the house, was fully excavated, and an at grade entrance was added next to a new, covered garage. The back enters to the husband's "man cave", a huge basement space with tall, 9 ft. ceilings which includes an accessible bathroom, living area, and television studio, which allows the husband, who works in television, to occasionally work from home. Also in the basement is a bedroom, for one of the two grown-up daughters, or other visitors, to stay over when visiting.
The house's stair was moved to the centre of the home and stacked in a U-shape. Directly beside the stair, an elevator was installed. The elevator opens to the same landing as the stair on every floor.
On the main floor, a dining room sits in the front of the house, which features the family's coveted reclaimed wooden beams, purchased from a long-demolished Toronto church. In the rear of the house is a large kitchen with a low counter for easily accessible coffee or food prep. The living room is past the kitchen, with large at-grade sliding doors to the 750 sq.ft. rooftop patio, located on top of the covered garage. The patio features full-depth flower beds, adding lush greenery to the outdoor space.
The master bedroom, a large accessible bathroom, and a second guest bedroom (for the other grown-up daughter!) are located on the second floor. The third floor comprises the wife's art studio.
Roncesvalles Accessible House - Great Room
Roncesvalles Accessible House - Dining Room
Roncesvalles Accessible House - Master Bedroom
Roncesvalles Accessible House - Master Bathroom
Roncesvalles Accessible House - Stacked Stair
Roncesvalles Accessible House - Second Floor Landing
Roncesvalles Accessible House - Front Facade
Roncesvalles Accessible House - Back Facade