Don Mills House


This new home will serve as a “cottage in the city” for a couple who loves to entertain. The generous lot falls away to a forested ravine and the design takes full advantage of the private urban oasis. Public spaces make up the length of the back side of the house with full views and access to the backyard, pool, and terraces. Oak, fir, zinc, and brick compose the natural material palette, and on the exterior, wood elements serve as shades, privacy screens, and trellises to protect banks of windows from the sun and shelter outdoor spaces.

Development of the program and layout was driven by the desire to host large parties and smaller groups of guests. Amenities include an outdoor bar served from the kitchen, a backyard pizza oven and cooking area, a change-room and bathroom accessed via the lower level walk-out for pool users, a game room on the uppermost floor with a sprawling view, and a wing of guest rooms at the second level.

Interior spaces revolve around a two-storey living room volume with a full-height Glulam curtain wall that connects the core of the building to the lush backyard and pool stretching back toward the ravine.  A seamless connection to the outdoors is provided on all 3 floors, with large operable windows and sliding doors with glass guards acting as Juliet balconies.

Sustainability Features

  • Integration with the ‘Natural Assets’ of Site and Terrain
  • Site Specific View and Vista Optimization
  • Natural Daylighting
  • High Performance Envelope Design
  • Radiant Heating
  • Heat Recovery Ventilation
  • Solar Electric (photovoltaic or PV systems)
  • Low Energy Lighting & Appliances (LED, CFL lighting and Energy Star appliances)

Altius Project Team Architecture

  • Danya Sturgess

Project Partners

  • BK Consulting Engineers
  • Moses Structural Engineers