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The Small but Mighty Alley Cat House

Studio Otty, Alley Cat House

In the heart of Little Italy, small space living is the cat’s meow

By Joseph Cicerone
Photography by Lauren Koyln

Alley Cat House has everything you’d need to live in the city of Toronto. At least according to Alisha Sturino, founder of Studio Otty, who took on the petite build with business partner Steve Hajsan late last year. At 320 square feet, the laneway home sits adjacent to Sturino’s main house where she resides with her husband. Designed as a short term rental and guest stay for family and friends, Alley Cat House is equipped with all the comfort necessities from a full kitchen to a sunlit office nook.

Front Door, Alley Cat House
Benjamin Moore’s Warm & Toasty welcomes guests at the front door, where a Kit-Cat Klock decal nods to the home’s namesake.

The brick and rippled steel facade is a testament to Sturino’s “simple and modern” design approach. At the entry, a gentle yellow hue leads from the front door and up the stairwell to Alley Cat’s main floor. Here, generous west-facing windows fill the kitchen with sunlight. Though the main space is compact, clever details like the patterned floor tile determine where the kitchen ends and the living room begins.


Bedroom, Alley Cat House
The Queen sized bed is dressed in Canadian-sourced bed linens and a blanket from Cambie.

Tucked beneath a 45-degree sloped ceiling, the cozy bedroom – equipped with a wall-mounted TV for quiet nights in – is separated from the kitchen by an embroidered drapery panel. “We not only gain privacy for the bedroom but also a space that can be used as a studio,” said Sturino.

Alley Cat bathroom

A curb-less shower and translucent pane of glass keep the tiny bathroom from feeling stuffy. Meanwhile, floor-through-ceiling subway tile in varying oak and yellow shades pull from the Warm & Toasty features found throughout the home. Signature to Otty Studio, natural materials in the bathroom are augmented to work with one another yet veer from overstimulating.

Cozy home office
Dried flowers and vase, Flùr; cord chair, Avenue Road.

In today’s world, no pied-à-terre would be complete without a home office. At the top of the entryway staircase, a sunny workspace is brought to life by one of Alley Cate House’s three skylights, perfectly angled to brighten up the space.

Beyond a cozy stay for out-of-city visitors, Alley Cat House is a testament to Studio Otty’s careful balancing act where minimalist fundamentals are paired with a rich spectrum of craft, individuality and visual curiosity. STUDIOOTTY.COM

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