Located on a generous lot in Etobicoke’s Thorncrest Village, this large single family home maintains a quiet street presence despite its bold contemporary design. The fulcrum of this project is the central living room, a two-storey volume glazed on both sides, connecting front and rear yards and balancing the two wings of the home.
Designed for a young family, the house provides freedom for young children to play alongside a variety of spaces for parents to enjoy.
Deep roof overhangs provide correct solar geometry to allow the house to take advantage of solar gain or seasonal shading complimenting the sophisticated mechanical system that provides zoned in-floor heating and air conditioning when the house isn’t being naturally ventilated.
An ethanol fireplace set into a polished basalt slab is the home’s focal point. Suspended above the hearth, an illuminated translucent marble hood provides a warm ambient glow to the adjacent living and dining spaces. Cloud-like pendant lamps hang from the ceiling of the double-height living room, emphasizing the experience of lightness.
In the back yard, a pool and deck are sunken into the terrain, surrounded by a planted retaining wall that provides bathers with privacy and shelter from the wind.
With the deck at this elevation, the lower level is able to have much larger windows than a conventional basement. These and a large set of glazed doors provide daylight and connection to the exterior.
Through a careful integration of building and landscape, the lower level achieves a quality of space equal to that of the rest of the house.
“ You’re very aware of what’s happening around you, both inside and out, all the time,’ Mr. Smith says. ‘It was designed very carefully to block views from neighbours, since we’re in the city here, of course, but with all the trees and openness, it feels a lot like a cottage. In summer, you have a real sense of woods and sky; and in winter, with the sun streaming in through the windows, you see right through it; the house seems to just “dissolve.” “
—National Post, August 8, 2014