Private Residence

King West House

The King West House is a 3 story, semi-attached residential unit on the edge of Toronto’s urban core. Pre-dating the Civil War era, the timber frame construction dates back to 1840. Located just north of historic Fort York, the building served as officers house during its early stages and still maintains ‘Military Lot Reserve’ on all city paperwork.

Over the decades, the three bedroom, three story unit had seen countless renovations. A patchwork of do-it yourselfers construction and lack of design had left the building in a dire need of a fresh start. Our approach – to transform the space into a flexible, open, innovative, inspirational environment conducive to  living, hosting and working.

The Full Story
Just The Basics

By seeing holistic and applying specific, we were able to create a sense of continuity throughout every element within the build process. Employing a palette of modern, timeless substrates – concrete, light ash, natural stone, raw steel, glass partitions and flat black throughout the home. Finding inspiration in the fusion of classic Scandinavian, modern Japanese and the raw/reclaimed materials. This approach gave us room to play with user experiences and design forward solutions in every single touchpoint.

Entrance
Guests are lead into the home through ascending, modular concrete forms. As the sidewalk transitions into steps, relief boxes house greenery and ground covering plants. Flat concrete panels  applied to elevated layers of facia add depth to the vertical plane. The built-in vertical sidelight on the extra tall door mirrors the vertical lines on the two neighbouring windows.

Living Room
A bright, open floor plan welcomes entrants on the first floor. Custom 9″ wide white ash floorboards in lengths varying up to 12′ lead the viewer beyond the interior envelope and into the backyard – optically extending the space. The living room is highlighted with a builtin entertainment centre and direct vent gas fireplace. The floor to ceiling wall treatment uses a parged concrete surround and flat panel walnut cabinetry to create cohesion.

Kitchen
As the living room extends into the house, a dining space is defined with 3 key elements (1) two custom made, modular tables constructed from a reclaimed naturally broken butchers block (2) a soft glowing LZF lamp (3) and a large iceberg print from Canadian landscape photographer Curtis Jones. Built in cabinets meet either side of the kitchen peninsula. Italian, soft close cabinetry is capped with a soft grey, edgeless Ceaserstone. Freestanding and built-in appliances dot the exterior working wall while laundry and utilities are covered with custom welded, flat black steel doors. With no uppers, an 8′ wide window helps expande the galley kitchen and offer vistas to the backyard and half century old maple tree.

2nd Floor
Leading to the second floor is the floating staircase. Upon the cold-rolled steel mono-stringer sit the thick, 5×8″ solid ash treads. A floor to ceiling glass curtain wall helps keep the second floor hallway bright and unrestricted by structures. In the hallway, an Icelandic mountain top print is rotated 90 degrees mirroring the stepping pattern of the adjacent, exposed structure of the second floor staircase. The wide white ash floorboards mimic the main floor and stretch the length of the house meeting custom doors built doors on each end..

Studio
Large, east facing windows and the walk out deck help fill the studio space with light during the day. At night, the 14′ cathedral ceiling becomes a focal point with it’s softly up-lit, suspended tray ceiling. An operable skylight centred in the architectural ceiling creates a sense of symmetry in the room. This balance is reenforced on the exterior wall with a long window and custom made roller desk. On the opposing 14′ internal wall sits the homes largest art, a 5’x8′ mixed media painting of Tecumseth by Terra Boake. A tribute to the history and street name of the home. Reclaimed wood from the original house now becomes the studios door.

Spare Bedroom
To help amplify afternoon light into the centre of the home, a moving wall was fabricated in place of a traditional doorway. When open, central artery of the home has a brighter more spacious feel. When guests arrive, the wall can be closed over for privacy – revealing a built in closet personal work station. Adjacent from the waterfall like, ash skinned wall is a floor to ceiling curtain wall. 3 jellyfish prints by underwater photographer / marine biologist Alexander Semenov line the internal wall.

Spare Bedroom
To help amplify afternoon light into the centre of the home, a moving wall was fabricated in place of a traditional doorway. When open, central artery of the home has a brighter more spacious feel. When guests arrive, the wall can be closed over for privacy – revealing a built in closet personal work station. Adjacent from the waterfall like, ash skinned wall is a floor to ceiling curtain wall. 3 jellyfish prints by underwater photographer / marine biologist Alexander Semenov line the internal wall.

Main Bedroom
The third floor master bedroom utilizes the centre point of the roofline to create two different zones. Symmetrical partitions of frosted glass and brick cut ash help mask the open shelving and 2 piece bath. A modular, custom built storage on unit is easily moved based on the users personal preference. A panoramic and tilt and turn windows hug the north east corner. While a skylight floods light directly over the open staircase and into the centre of the home.

Exterior
The modular concrete entrance steps flatten out to form the single car driveway and then continuously warp around all 3 sides of the owned property. Matching the entrances cut out approach, strategically placed openings are filled with greenery and natural elements like the 2 ton mica quartzite rock. In contrast to the concrete, black horizontal and vertical planes are merged to transcend planes. Black wood chips on the ground are lined up with black perforated steel on the fence.

75 year old, fur form the St. Lawrence seaway is used to warp around the property exterior. The reclaimed material skins the fence, 3 sided motorcycle covering, and the outdoor, built-in cook area. The corner opening, polycarbonate doors add fun to the space with oversized numbers printed on a frosted yellow substrate. 10″ thick, unfinished fir beams span the width of the property acting as architectural features and support for the fence and second story deck. Strung between the two, an 8′ square hammock lets you dream away the weekends in this dreamy home.

Throughout the space, custom designed staircases become structural sculptures.

Symmetrical partitions of frosted glass and brick cut ash separate the master bedroom.