Art house meets 'green' house

Grand architectural moves – including gallery-like wall spaces – make this sustainably minded house ideal for its owners' art displays

Designed by DK Studio Architects

From the architects:  

Located in an upscale Toronto neighbourhood, this home replaces a simple, neglected bungalow from the 1940s, and has been designed for a couple with a passion for contemporary art and architecture.

The homeowners’ requirements for the house included a large, open kitchen and family room where they would spend most of their time, separate offices for him and for her, four bedrooms with walk-in closets and ensuites, a garage-accessible mudroom with generous storage space, a gym, a games room, a golf simulator, wine cellar and humidor, a pottery room, and a woodworking workshop.

The owners, though not artists themselves, possessed a refined design sensibility, making fine craftsmanship throughout the residence an absolute necessity. 

Perhaps most importantly, the owners possessed an extensive international art collection that required ample gallery-style wall display space.

Familial and public notions of space

The house would frequently oscillate between familial and public notions of space; the owners were frequent hosts of large social gatherings, and living spaces needed to be conducive to a comfortable atmosphere whether privately or socially occupied.

Composed of wood, glass, limestone, and steel, the home is unapologetically modern – it rises two floors above ground and is mirrored below ground with a two-level basement.

The exterior is composed of stone and timber rectangular volumes that intersect and stack upon one another. 

Straight lines and a rectangular structure create a clean, refined look.

Metal louvers on the exterior screen large modernist windows, while also framing the arrival and entrance to create a notable entry quietly reminiscent of art gallery structures.

The ground floor is centrally organised to allow for air and light to circulate generously through its east-west breezeways. 

Breezeways organise circulation

The two breezeways framed on either end with floor-to-ceiling glass, serve to organise circulation as well as to subtly direct the eye on an invisible path throughout the house and, consequently, past the select assortment of fine art and artifacts on display.

A three-car indoor garage provides each car with an electric vehicle charging port.

The house incorporates several other environmental features including a photovoltaic solar panel system on the roof, eco-friendly hydronic radiant in-floor heating throughout the entire house, as well as high-efficiency mechanical systems.

Natural ventilation is promoted with operable fenestrations to maximise bringing fresh air and light into the house.

Grand timber staircase

The defining feature of the home is its open concept ground plan, which is organised around a grand timber staircase at the heart of the house. 

The central stair bends and flows between floors, clad in a rich rift-cut white oak.

A natural glow from four generous skylights above the stairs washes through the top floors of the house, playing on the two-storey, custom-designed oak Art Screen.

Expansive glazing ensures that the interiors are bathed in sunlight at all times. 

Automated blinds and adjustable lighting provide the perfect mood for any activity or simply to rest.

Full height timber windows bookend the breezeways to allow light to flood the corridors, creating a space that is fresh, airy, and graceful. 

Its upper floors and basement are no different – even the basement rooms are intentionally designed to feel as though they are above ground.

Movement through the ground floor is always oriented by views across the breezeways that also allow air to circulate around the core of the house.

Strategically placed fireplaces seamlessly integrate and distinguish spaces: a family room, living space, dining, a kitchen complemented with a butler’s pantry and store, breakfast nook, powder room, and office.

The upper floor contains four bedrooms with individual ensuites and walk-in closets, plus a second office with full-height glass doors and a walk-out balcony.

Halfway below ground, the 3m plus high basement features a gym and games room, while sub-level 2 boasts a golf simulator (that doubles as a theatre room), a wine cellar, and a humidor.

Large floating deck

On the ground floor, a large floating deck extends out from the family and kitchen, overlooking a cedar and concrete framed backyard that stages as a perfect summer hideout.

The half-buried upper basement too shares the backyard garden through a large walkout recess finished in flurried Eramosa stone flooring and framed by smooth architectural concrete retaining walls.

On the main floor, the dining and family room suite is expressed externally as a glass box wrapped in a cedar frame. 

Sitting politely above this cedar box is an elegant limestone volume making up the second floor. 

Time-honoured materials like Indiana and Eramosa limestones exude richness and depth, extending into the house as feature pieces of the interior.

Flurried Eramosa limestone flows from the exterior porch to the entrance foyer and steps. 

Sculptural Amisol lighting discs of aluminium and acrylic sail high above the double-height entry, paying homage to the house’s gallery theme.

Limestone slabs indoor/outdoor connectors

Sheer Indiana limestone slabs clothe the interior fireplaces and connect the interior and building exterior.

Open white walls facilitate the display of paintings. 

Bronze niches in the fireplace encase the homeowners’ finely curated soapstone sculpture collection.

The Art Screen framing the main staircase features illuminated niches that display select pottery created by the owner.

Artwork in its own right

It might be said that its owners have added yet another item to their collection – the grand home is as much an art piece as the items inside its walls.

Rear garden walkway
Rear garden walkway

Credit list

Design principals
Dmytriy Pereklita and Karen Mak

Designed by: DK Studio Architects

Story by: Trendsideas

Photography by: Michael Muraz

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