This suburban Toronto home offers a calming atmosphere connected to nature

contemporary home exterior at dusk

Designed by Great Lake Studio, this home uniquely combines contemporary design without feeling alien within its suburban context in Etobicoke, an area just west of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. When constructing this new 2,690-square-foot home, its design needed to fit within the confines of the footprint of the bungalow that it was replacing.

The design of this home encapsulates the lifestyle needs of an extended family while providing a calming environment with strong connections to the outdoors throughout. It’s an incredible blend of seclusion and openness, fostering both privacy and social interactions, which makes it stand apart.

contemporary home exterior at dusk

Above: A wide covered front porch (unusual in this neighborhood) offers a place to casually take in the surprisingly vibrant street life, and chat with neighbors.

contemporary home exterior

At once a nice neighbor and a quiet nonconformist, the home fits gently into the streetscape but also stands firmly apart. At first glance, it reflects the general massing and pitched-roof vernacular of its neighbors, dressed in a taut cladding of custom charred cedar. Moving around the perimeter, the home expresses itself more freely, with deeply exaggerated roof eaves sheltering a variety of intimate outdoor terraces while enhancing feelings of security and privacy from within.

contemporary living room with a large window

Above: A fireplace just beyond the entrance area projects a warm, hospitable ambiance toward the street, and welcomes guests upon arrival.

contemporary dining room

The family gathers together on the ground floor, which is open and sprawling with an emphasis on fluid movement from the front entrance, through the main living spaces, and outside into a verdant back garden. Living, Dining, and Kitchen areas are loosely differentiated by long arms of custom oak cabinetry — while open to one another, each of these areas still feels comfortably contained and intimate.

contemporary kitchen and dining room

Like the rest of the house, the ground floor living areas are rigorously and efficiently planned but feel generous, seeming to expand horizontally outwards through large floor-to-ceiling openings into green garden areas beyond. Tucked away out of sight, a private live-in suite keeps elderly In-laws close to common areas without having to use stairs.

contemporary dining room table and chair detail

A custom-designed Harvest Table is a defining feature of the home, and all common living areas pivot around this central family gathering place. Beautifully fabricated from solid walnut, the Harvest Table is an heirloom piece that will last for generations.

contemporary kitchen

What We Love: This Toronto home provides a warm contemporary atmosphere filled with natural light and connections with nature throughout. We love how the architects devised a thoughtful floor plan layout within the constraints of a defined footprint. The overall design is ideal for family living and entertaining, with all the opportunities to spend time outdoors – from the terraced back deck, perfect for summer parties, to the inviting porches and balconies.

Tell Us: What are your overall thoughts on the design of this home? Are there any details that you would change if this were your personal residence? Let us know in the Comments below!

Note: Be sure to check out a couple of other wonderful home tours that we have showcased here on One Kindesign in the province of Ontario: Toronto merchandise warehouse converted to modern industrial loft and Brilliantly designed three-story modern model home in Toronto.

contemporary living room

contemporary dining room with a view of the staircase in the background

“The home is working hard to do many things at once”, explains the Architect. “The challenge was to make that appear effortless – to create a calming and durable backdrop for the chaos of family life”.

contemporary staircase

Above: A skylit stair draws filtered daylight into the dining area, and further down to the basement below.

contemporary staircase detail

contemporary staircase

Above: The stair itself is sculptural and playful, contrasted against a white wooden screen.

contemporary reading nook with an Eames chair and ottoman illuminated with a skylight and siding glass doors

In contrast to the open, horizontal orientation of the ground floor, the upper level is oriented vertically toward the sky and heavily compartmentalized, with four bedrooms, three bathrooms, a private study, and a family room all arranged within a very small footprint.

contemporary hallway

Once again, spaces are compact but feel spacious thanks to soaring vaulted ceilings and daylighting from skylights arranged along the roof ridge. Children’s bedrooms are long and linear (like berths on a train) but also tall, wrapped around shared private bathrooms – inventive, highly functional, and fun to inhabit all at once.

contemporary bathroom

contemporary bathroom skylight

contemporary bathroom with an integrated tub

contemporary upstairs walkway outside

Deep cantilevered roof eaves create a variety of sheltered porches, decks, and balconies around the perimeter of the home. These also serve to shade the larger window areas, enhancing privacy and passively cooling the house through the summer months.

contemporary home exterior backyard deck

A terraced back deck with bleacher seating provides a theatrical venue for summer parties and casual hang-outs.

contemporary home exterior

contemporary home exterior backyard deck at dusk

PHOTOGRAPHER Scott Norsworthy

One Kindesign has received this project from our submissions page. If you have a project you would like to submit, please visit our submit your work page for consideration!

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