Program: An empty-nester couple made the decision to downsize, and wanted a low-maintenance, age-in-place home, as well as an architectural showpiece that their builder son could help construct.
Solution: Architects Luc Bouliane embraced the challenges and opportunities of the site—the narrow lot sits due north, in the shadow of a low-rise apartment building—to balance spatial complexity and economic simplicity. The design includes many features that will enable the home to last for the owners. An elevator is tucked near the kitchen to mitigate navigating three flights of stairs; the driveway and back patio are heated to prevent ice build up or the need for snow shoveling; the washrooms are tiled in a slip-resistant surface including heated benches, and come prepped for future safety grab bars; and the basement includes a health spa, gym and a future suite for live-in support if required. To help offset construction costs and to add density to the formerly single-family lot, a similar, semi-detached residence adjoins to the north.
Construction and materials: The exterior is weighty, with a hard, black brick and limestone facade. It cracks open at the roof with a series of skylights that washes the interior walls with sunshine. To help flood the spaces with light, the stairs are shifted off the reflective, polished limestone walls, creating a three-story, uninterrupted atrium with the kitchen and living room on the ground floor, a mezzanine office space that hovers above on the second floor, and the bedrooms on the third.
Completion date: July 2015
Architects Luc Bouliane
Personnel in architect's firm who should receive special credit:
Luc Bouliane, Registered Architect
Architect of record: Luc Bouliane
Engineers: Blackwell Engineering (Structural), Kenny Cryer
General contractor: Mazenga Building Group, Erik Bornstein
Photographer: Bob Gundu, 10 Frame Handles, 416-876-4621
Landscape consultants: Fox Whyte Landscape Architecture and Design
Cast in place concrete foundations, structural steel moment frame, LSL wood framing
Masonry: Black Brick: Yankee Hill, Capital Iron Spot
Wood: Thermo-Treated North American Ash: Thermory USA
EIFS, ACM, or other: Durock
Moisture barrier: Vaproshield
2-1/2" Extensive Green Roof (Main House) and 7" Semi Intensive green roof (Garage): Vertical Landscape Architects
Wood frame: Aluminum Clad Wood Windows: Protec Windows
Entrances: Bauhaus Doors
Locksets: Interior Sets: FSB North America
Cabinetwork and custom woodwork: Designed by Architect, fabricated by Emanuele Furniture
Paneling: Custom panelling by Emanuele Furniture
Solid surfacing: Marble/Quartz by Stone Edge, CaeserStone 4600 Organic White
Floor and wall tile:
Feature Wall Tile: 'Whitesands' Limestone, Stone Tile
Raised flooring: Wood Flooring by Moncer, 'Euro Carrara (Brushed/Natural Oil)
Special interior finishes unique to this project: Wood Flooring by Moncer, 'Euro Carrara (Brushed/Natural Oil)
Elevators/escalators: Cambridge Elevating, 'Elmira' residential elevator.