Winnett House

Toronto, Canada

This three bedroom single family residence brought new construction of an open concept to a challenging urban site. The twenty-four foot centrally located double-height home brings in natural light, casting dramatic shadows, marking the passage of time during the day while acting as a ‘lantern’ at night.

Toronto contemporary home with exterior lighting and large wrap around windows
Modern pendant chandelier hanging in the stairway tower

When the home is viewed from the  street, the living room projects forward while the adjoining bedrooms frame the interior stair core from behind. This staircase is the highest form in the structure and is centrally located in the plan; its clerestory windows draw natural light into the home and vent stale air out.

Generous overhangs keep the hot summer sun out of the home, while allowing winter sun in. Expansive black-framed operable windows, white roof plans, charcoal-colored wood siding and brick express the subtle minimalism of the home. A light-well also serves to provide natural stack ventilation, permitting interior air to be exhausted at the clerestory level above.

Open staircase with wood handrail open to kitchen with glass pendant light
Modern kitchen with stainless steel fixtures gas range glass pendant lights and panelled appliances

The open kitchen looks across to the sheltered dining room, which is a few steps up; giving it a more intimate ceiling height than the rest of the ground floor. The dining room overlooks the back garden and deck, and a narrow window frames the existing side yard tree beautifully. The soft grey room encloses a 6-person dining table and the low ceiling height makes it a comfortable space to share a meal.

Upholstered seating and a hanging fabric lamp add texture and softness to the space. The master bathroom incorporates a bathtub and a clear shower stall that is reflected in the mirror above twin his and her sinks. The expansive mirror, glass shower and large operable window make the room feel bright and open.

Contemporary dining room with wood dining room table and upholstered chair set
Sitting room with custom walnut wood cabinetry with shelf and backsplash with bright red chair


  • Program and Spatial Optimization
  • Integration with the ‘Natural Assets’ of the Site and Terrain
  • Natural Ventilation
  • Natural Daylighting
  • High Performance Envelope Design
  • Material Optimization and Modular Design
  • Renewable Materials and Finishes
  • Non-toxic Materials and Finishes

“As for the house fitting into the community, ‘I don’t believe that anybody will pass through the neighbourhood and think that this home does not fit in.  On the contrary, I believe more people will be refreshed by a different look’, says DC, who lives across the street from the Owners.” 

“Building Modern, Smarter, Smaller”

The Globe and Mail


Modern bathroom with accent tile floor and contemporary vanity with a basin sink
Master bathroom with frameless glass enclosure large soaking tub and vanity with stainless fittings
Modern dining room with modern wood dining room set with upholstered seating with white trim and gray walls
Staircase tower with clerestory windows and modern pendant lights

The design uses an open ground floor with kitchen island, breakfast table and double doors to the back patio. The dark wood gives natural warmth and richness to the stark white interior. Details such as hanging glass pendants, stainless steel faucets and unique hardware are carefully selected as sculptural elements.