Brook Renovation / Wanda Ely Architect

Brook Renovation by Wanda Ely Architect

Brook Renovation Project was recently completed by Wanda Ely Architect, a Toronto-based architecture design practice. This renovation transforms the ground floor of a semi-detached Toronto home. Two wood screens are strategically inserted to create a highly efficient floor plan that gets the most out of a small space, while providing plenty of storage, and bringing more natural light into the home. A screen composed of wood slats redirects the flow of traffic upon entry to the house, creating a sense of separation between the entryway and adjacent living room. A bench with built-in shoe storage is nestled into the front bay window, and a long wall of closets accommodate jackets and outerwear, sports equipment, and cleaning supplies. By gradually changing the angle of the slats across the screen, we were able to provide privacy for the family room, while permitting light to penetrate deep into the house from the front window and door.

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The front door and entryway are clearly delineated by a wood screen that appears solid from some angles to provide privacy, and almost disappears from other vantage points, to allow light to pass through.

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A neutral palette of white and light wood is accented by pops of colour, and the black basalt tile used in the kitchen and on the fireplace.

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Solid birch slats are meticulously fastened to white painted steel fins at the floor and ceiling, and create an interesting play of light and shadows, particularly in the early morning light.

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Despite being close to the front door, the living room feels comfortably enclosed by wood slats that are angled to provide privacy from the street while sitting on the generous sectional sofa, but still permit light to shine into the rest of the house.

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Rotating the bottom three steps of a new wood staircase allows for a more spacious living room, and makes for an interesting moment of pause between the two floors, when the two wood screens overlap momentarily.

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Subtle nuances like the angle of the wood floor were carefully considered when composing views in this project.

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The new gas fireplace, clad in a unique black basalt tile, anchors one side of the house as part of a careful composition of volumes along the wall. The wall contains an ample amount of storage including full height closet space, as well as banquette seating that flips up to accommodate blankets, toys, and an air vent in front of the window. The couple’s beautifully curated collection of art stands out against the bold composition of the fireplace and closets.

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The banquette seating is an efficient way to accommodate a full sized dining table within a small urban home.

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A bold, black basalt tile backsplash folds up the wall and onto the ceiling, and is punctuated by three walnut boxes that house pendant lights over the island and store kitchenware near the main prep space. Bar seating at the end of the island is perfect for quick morning breakfasts, and snacks after school.

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A large new window at the back of the house floods the home with natural light. The custom angled wine storage shelves at the end of the island subtly picks up on the angle of the floor.

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The walnut boxes and appliance shelf provide easily accessible space for storing frequently used items while keeping the countertop clutter-free for preparing food.

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The black tile is a bold graphic gesture that defines the kitchen space within an open-concept floor plan, and relates to the fireplace in the living room – visually, and conceptually, these are two ‘heaths’ that anchor the home and attract the family to gather around.

Architects: Wanda Ely Architect
Project: Brook Renovation
Location: Toronto, Canada
Photography: Scott Norsworthy

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