Thorncrest House

Toronto, Ontario

Located on a generous lot in Etobicoke’s Thorncrest Village, this large single-family home maintains a quiet street presence despite its bold, contemporary design. The heart of this project is the central living room—a two-storey space glazed on both sides, connecting front and rear yards and balancing the two wings of the home.

Designed for a young family, the house provides freedom for young children to play alongside a variety of spaces for parents to enjoy.

Deep roof overhangs enable full advantage of solar gain or seasonal shading, which complement the sophisticated mechanical system for zoned in-floor heating and air conditioning when the house isn’t being naturally ventilated.

The home’s focal point is an ethanol fireplace set into a polished basalt slab. Suspended above the hearth, an illuminated marble hood provides a warm and ambient glow to the adjacent living and dining spaces. Cloud-shaped pendant lamps hang from the ceiling of this double-height living room, emphasizing the experience of air and buoyancy.

Suspended above the hearth, an illuminated translucent marble hood provides a warm and ambient glow.

In the backyard, a pool and deck are sunken into the terrain, surrounded by a planted retaining wall that provides bathers with privacy and shelter from the wind.

With the deck at this elevation, the lower level can have much larger windows than a conventional basement. These, and a large set of glazed doors, deliver daylight and connection to the exterior.

Through a careful integration of building and landscape, the lower level achieves a quality of space equal to that of the rest of the house.

“It was designed very carefully to block views from neighbours, since we’re in the city here, of course, but with all the trees and openness, it feels a lot like a cottage. In summer, you have a real sense of woods and sky; and in winter, with the sun streaming in through the windows, you see right through it; the house seems to just ‘dissolve.’”

 National Post