Leaside House

Toronto, Ontario

This new four-bedroom home satisfies the needs of a family of five and their guests, while incorporating barrier-free design principles and a distinct aesthetic appeal.

The house is located in Toronto’s Leaside neighbourhood, surrounded by traditional brick bay-and-gable houses. The desire to subtly integrate the building into the existing streetscape resulted in the selection of traditional building materials, such as brick and wood. The contemporary design was emphasized with distinctive grey-zinc cladding used as an accent material.

“Amanda and Ryan, a professional couple with three children, wanted a house that would be tough, but also graceful and nimble like an athlete.”

“In Leaside, An Exercise in Good Design”


While planning for wheelchair access was a fundamental part of the design process, the creation of a comfortable family home was the ultimate goal. Efficient, clean design and simple, modern spaces are main features of this 3,200 sq. ft. house. A generous entry hall extends into the bright two-storey-high dining room space; while at the rear, the main living areas continue seamlessly into the backyard with large window and door openings.

“When you have a big, wide-open floor plate, you must ask yourself: ‘How do you create a sense of unfolding – a sense of surprise?’ To achieve this effect, [Altius] envisioned the front foyer as a sober antechamber that opens, dramatically, to the main house.”

In Leaside, An Exercise in Good Design


Special attention was given to the backyard area featuring a spacious patio, large pool and spa. Particular consideration was paid to natural daylight exposure at the basement walkout, easing its transition to grade via a terraced green wall. Shading is provided by deep roof overhangs and cantilevered sections.


  • Program and spatial optimization
  • Natural ventilation and passive cooling
  • Natural daylighting
  • High-performance envelope design
  • Renewable and/or recyclable materials and finishes
  • Indoor air quality (IAQ) and non-toxic materials and finishes
  • Radiant heating
  • Heat recovery ventilation
  • Low energy lighting and appliances (LED, CFL lighting and ENERGY STAR appliances)
  • Water-conserving appliances and fixtures (low flow/dual flush toilets)