The Yorkville neighbourhood in Toronto is one of the most distinct in the city. Once upon a time it was its own village before being annexed by Toronto in 1883. In the 60’s, it was the epicentre of Toronto’s hippie cultural scene, where artists like Gordon Lightfoot, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, and Margaret Atwood got their start. If you feel at home in Kensington Market today, you’d probably feel at home in Yorkville back then.
Today, of course, Yorkville is one of the most exclusive neighbourhoods in the city, with a high-end shopping district and an even higher-end condo market.
This particular condo we renovated was the penthouse unit in a 20 year old building. That meant it was in pretty good shape as far as its guts went, but it hadn’t been updated since it was first built. Not only have design trends changed since then, but 20 years of wear-and-tear can make a big difference. So naturally, it needed a lot of work.
To execute on this job, we actually completely gutted the unit. Had you seen it before, you wouldn’t even recognize it.
Because the unit was so large, as well, and because it was a penthouse suite, it gave us the freedom to completely change the floor plan. In particular, we made the unit into an open concept space, but there were some challenges there.
Because of the way the stairs were set up, as you can see in the photo above, there needed to be a wall there of some sort, in order to comply with health and safety regulations. At the same time, because the living room is two storeys tall and with beautiful big northwest facing windows, the open concept idea could bring a lot of natural light into the space.
So how could we accommodate that restriction while still giving the client what they wanted? We had to get creative.
First, we did knock down some walls. In particular, the home office/den beside the kitchen became part of the kitchen itself. That gave them twice the space in the kitchen, without sacrificing a room that wasn’t often used.
As for the wall, we ended up installing a glass wall. That gave them the light flow they hoped for, and also the security of having a wall there. In fact, it actually worked out better, since the glass wall ended up muting the noise from each room better.
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