In the leafy lakeside neighborhood of the Beaches, Toronto-based company baukultur/ca has transformed this 110-year-old building into a beautiful modern home. Making use of passive sustainability design and durable materials, this energy-efficient house is ahead of the rest in establishing greater eco-friendly standards in building and design – all while emanating aesthetics that are pleasing to the eye and to the mind. Let’s have a look.
Framed by trees and clad in wood, this house is warm and inviting from the very first sight. With its traditional materials it blends in with surrounding buildings and trees even while its modernist angles, touches of black and white and additions of vibrant metals bring a breath of fresh air to the area. Notice the lovely large windows which spill out a warm and friendly glow in the night, just as they let the sun’s light and warmth into the house during the day.
On entering the house it’s this luminosity which first welcomes us. Cleverly placed windows, white surroundings and the open plan all give a wonderful feeling of weightlessness. The eye is free to wander smoothly over surfaces, following the sculptural geometric forms built into each of the four levels of the house. It is then that we notice the balancing warmth brought out by the oak flooring, along with subtle additions of wood which frame the windows or the stairs.
The beautiful wooden plank partition screen guides us from front door to living room. The atmosphere created gives space for thoughts to roam all while the wooden panels – echoing trees and houses outside – provide anchorage and comfort.
On the main floor the living spaces flow freely from living room to kitchen, dining room to family room. This is great for cooling or heating the space, depending on what is desired, and for its inhabitants to feel each other’s company even when carrying out separate activities.
We love the lampshade hanging over the dinner table. It’s a lively creation from designer Ingo Maurer titled Zettel’z 5, named after the German word for note. You can change around the notes pegged to it and add your own photos, drawings or messages. Accompanying, the chairs are classic designer shapes, that work well in this room.
At the back the house has a cozy family-friendly spot for TV time, and movement out to the garden.
One of the most loved parts of the house is this master retreat – and I’m not surprised. With its vaulted ceilings, skylights and more of those beautifully framed (and framing!) windows the room is filled with light and space.
Walking out of the sliding doors we find ourselves on our very own secret roof terrace with wooden paneling and screen, which harmonize with the neighborhood trees growing just a stone’s throw away – a peaceful sight for restless nights or lazy days. On the other side of the room from the sumptuous king-sized bed is a cozy reading corner bathed in sunshine from the skylight overhead. I love how the light blues talk to each other across the elegant palette of whites, grays, blacks and browns which can be found throughout the house.
“We see our project also as an opportunity to showcase the possibilities of sustainable modern residential design to the neighborhood and the city”
In designing what is now home to a couple in love with the building’s charm, the young development company baukultur/ca paid special attention to methods which promote sustainable, energy-efficient living in the urban context. Along with durable materials, passive design strategies play a large part in the beauty of this design, reducing the amount of energy consumption while keeping the house a comfortable, functional living space. We have already seen how much natural light and warmth floods in through all those magnificent windows and how well air flows through the house. You should also know that to avoid roasting during the summer, the roof and sidewalls are made in white metal panels, reflecting the sun’s heat. And these are only a couple of examples! Meanwhile the house is fully insulated and equipped with energy-efficient technologies for everyday convenience and comfort.
So there it is! An elegant, sculptural design which works in harmony with its surroundings even while standing out for its unique qualities, building on and respecting architectural tradition with baukultur/ca’s own contemporary twist. Spacious, illuminated interiors which echo and complement the cheerful and inviting outdoor spaces. And all of this while encouraging sustainable living and elevating the human experience.
Photos: Alex Lukey via v2com