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A Pair of Narrow Homes Built By a Father-Son Team Rises Up in the Beaches

What better neighbourhood for a small-town, seaside vibe?

By Catherine MacIntosh
Photography by Jeremy Warshafsky

Before starting their own design–development studio called HXOME in 2017, Parviz Bozorgmanesh and his son James Manesh always shared a love of simple, timeless design. Parviz, who founded Parviz Kitchens, has been a cabinetmaker for over 40 years, while James – who cites designer Dieter Rams as a heavy influence – has a background in residential building development. We talked to James about their latest project: a pair of matching, modern homes in The Beaches.

Beaches homes
Mahogany and cedar frame the homes’ large, south-facing windows and telegraph the clean aesthetic inside.

DL: What vision do you and your father have for the studio?

JM: We are committed to design, sustainability and community-building. Our goal is to leave the world a better place than we found it. We want to create spaces that allow people to do and feel their best.

Beaches homes
White oak is used throughout on floors, stairs and cabinetry.

DL: How did this project get started?

JM: We were in the market for a place to redevelop but also call home. We set our sights on the Beaches because of its tight-knit community and connection to nature and the vibrancy of Queen Street East. It’s special in the sense that it has a small-town vibe but is a 10-minute drive from downtown. We found a large 50-by-100-foot lot, which presented us a unique opportunity to split the lot and build two reasonably sized homes to serve two families instead of just one.

Beaches homes
The 30-foot length of kitchen cabinetry is aesthetically minimal but packed with function. Surfaces are Caesarstone. Stools by Hay; TR Bulb pendant by Tim Rundle for Menu.

DL: How did you approach the design?

JM: It was a holistic undertaking, starting with the inhabitants and their needs and working backwards from there. We’re very interested in light, quality of space and how we can bring simplicity to achieve a sense of repose and calm.

The father-son duo opted for a soft palette of pale shades and blonde hardwood and pared back furniture to maintain an airy feel.

DL: Who lives here?

JM: In one house, it’s two young professionals who love to host and entertain. With an open floorplan and a 10-foot-long Caesarstone island, the space is perfect for that. I’m living in the other one, which has allowed me to experience our work first-hand and to gain a better understanding of it moving forward.

The twin houses, each 2,700 square feet, minimize the number of materials to create a sense of calm. Frame TV by Samsung.

DL: What was your design inspiration?

JM: Our vision was to invoke the feeling of being on the coast, at one with nature – open, light, airy and tranquil. We looked at coastal locations like Bondi and Bronte, Australia, and also California for inspiration. I had recently visited Santorini Greece, and immediately fell in love with the white structures there. If there is any location in Toronto where we could replicate coastal aesthetics and design language, it’s here.

A small window-side nook built into the millwork makes an ideal spot to get some work done.

DL: How would you describe the material palette?

JM: We knew it was important to bring as much natural light into the space as possible. The facade is defined by its south-facing windows encased in vibrant white stucco. We added mahogany doors and cedar woods for warmth and character. The interior is crisp, refined. We chose pared-back, modest materials. It was important for us to maintain a sense of calm throughout. Minimizing the number of materials is a nice way of doing that.

Skylights overlooking the central staircase allow natural light flood the third-storey landing.

DL: Any unique or hidden features?

JM: We love the 40-foot sakura tree in the backyard that tightly hugs the rear of the two homes. We get to witness the beginning of spring in a very profound way, right in the comfort of our homes. HXOME.CA


Categories: Spaces

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