Rosedale Georgian House

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

This 1900s Georgian home underwent a dramatic transformation to become a comfortable modern home for a Toronto family.

Respecting the heritage character of the neighbourhood and the architecture of the original home, the front façade was meticulously restored. Windows were replaced with matching triple pane double hung windows with divided lights, trim and moldings restored, masonry cleaned and chimneys rebuilt using brick from the rear of the home.

Rosedale Georgian house renovation viewed from the backyard
Contemporary living room in historic Toronto home with wide plank oak flooring

On the inside, however, the home was upgraded and completely transformed into a clean, bright, comfortable space for modern living.

The building envelope was stripped down to the brick shell and upgraded with high-performance insulation, a new energy-efficient mechanical system, a new electrical system including home automation, new plumbing, and new interior finishes.

Floors were levelled and structure upgraded to ensure level, squeak-free floors.

A large array of operable skylights was added above the central staircase on the third floor to provide natural ventilation and to bring a flood of natural light to the centre of the home.

“Part of what makes the design fascinating is that, while it celebrates the best of modem design – clean, uncluttered lines, soaring open spaces, modern technology and convenience, and plenty of natural light – the warmth and grandeur of the old house are still there in spirit.”

The Complicated Art of Simplicity | National Post

The existing home had been renovated in the eighties, with a rear addition that created a sunken living room and multi-level second floor. The addition was re-built to create level space throughout, allowing for a seamless flow between living spaces and levelling the second floor to simplify circulation and unify the space.

Formal living and dining spaces were maintained at the front of the home, while the new kitchen, eating area and family room connect to a large terrace at the back.

Four bedroom suites, including the master, were created on the second floor, each with their own ensuite bathroom and walk-in closet.

The third floor, with rain sensor skylights, is home to two additional guest suites and a home office with a large roof terrace overlooking the rear yard.

Master Bathroom with large integral soaking tub with muted gray tiles and basin sinks

While the new home is simple with modern detailing, the centre hall plan was respected and a design was created to offer a subtle nod to the past.

Wood-burning fireplaces in the formal living and dining rooms were rebuilt and refinished. The principal staircase and banister were re-built, maintaining the proportion and quality of the original. Flush baseboards with a reveal detail mimic the height of the old wood trim, and eight-foot tall interior doors maintain the proportion of the original.

The material palette is restrained: cream coloured stone floors in the hall transition to white oak throughout the home, complemented by crisp white walls and classic stone fireplaces.

The Baulthaup kitchen embodies the philosophy behind the whole design: the complex storage and functional spaces are hidden behind simple oak and graphite doors. Artwork and furniture provide the pop of colour in each room, making them comfortable and livable.

The home provides the family with a respite from the hustle and bustle of their busy professional lives, and a place to host and entertain friends and family: a true oasis in the city.