Ellis Park Road House

Toronto, Ontario

Skillfully sited on a hillside property that was considered unbuildable, this home makes the most of the uninterrupted vistas overlooking High Park. Only steps away from Bloor Street, visitors are barely aware that they are in the city. While featuring large expanses of glass, the home offers complete privacy.

The house was conceived upon principles of sustainable design including passive solar and ventilation strategies, geothermal and radiant floor heating, extensive green roofs, daylighting techniques, recycled materials, and a sophisticated building enclosure. The result is a home that permits the occupants to enjoy winter blizzards and searing heat waves in perfect comfort.

With four storeys set into the hillside, the occupants enjoy walkout access on the first three levels. At street level, the garage stores up to four vehicles, and the main entrance foyer is up the stone stairs on the second level. This level has a substantial mudroom, a family room that doubles as an occasional guest suite, the main mechanical room, and a walkout to the second level garden.

From the foyer, a stair extends to the principal living space on the third level. Kitchen, dining and living spaces flow from one to the other, with floor-to-ceiling glass wrapped around the east and south elevations. A large Rumford fireplace and a Finnish masonry heater are grouped around a common chimney at the centre of this area. The fireplace cluster repeats the overall palette of yellow brick, red-primed steel, concrete, and mahogany.

A steel and mahogany stair leads to the fourth floor. Each tread was hand-built from dozens of water-jet-cut pieces of marine plywood, and painstakingly sanded.

The fourth floor houses two children’s bedrooms and the open-concept master suite. The large soaker tub and vanity are exposed to the bedroom; and around the corner, a spacious walk-in shower offers views of the sunrise over the park. The children’s rooms share a corridor featuring compartmentalized bathing and powder room facilities, and a full laundry suite. A stair tower leads to a large roof garden with extra outdoor living spaces and phenomenal views.

Old-world craftsmanship, durable natural materials, state-of-the-art mechanicals, and modern design combine to make this a truly unique home.