Skip to Main Content

Best of 2018: Our Most Popular Stories of the Year


It was a great year for Designlines – and an even better year for design and architecture in Toronto. To celebrate, here are ten of our most popular stories of 2018

Casson Jane Son Meagan Cassidy Hardware Toronto

1. Two Architects, One Killer Hardware Boutique

Jane Son and Meghan Cassidy, two trained architects and designers, decided it was time to flex their entrepreneurial muscles when they were confronted by a dearth of stylish hardware in the city. They opened Casson Hardware, an online boutique for everything from Shayne Fox’s Geo Knobs to drool-worthy house numbers with serious curb appeal in response. No wonder these two talents captured the attention of so many readers this year – who doesn’t enjoy fancy cabinet pulls and doorknobs?! Find us one person.

Detour Coffee Roasters Cafe Dundas Ontario Mjolk

2. In Storybook Dundas, Mjölk Redesigns a Cozy Cafe

John and Julie Baker – the team behind the dreamy Japanese-Scandinavian boutique Mjölk – visited the community of Dundas in Hamilton (more on the Hammer later) to redesign Detour Coffee. “We were really inspired by the Detour building,” they told us, “and to a greater extent the city of Dundas which is very beautiful and full of historic buildings.” The oak bar is original to the space, and much of the furniture has that turn-of-the-century look that distinguishes many of Hamilton’s facades. You won’t want to leave the cafe – or the community – once you visit.

COFO Young Designers

3. COFO: A Must-Visit Pop-Up for Hot, Toronto-Made Furniture

Our Editor-in-Chief Tory Healy could not contain her pride when this Toronto manufacturer launched (see the first line of the article). To be fair, we feel the same way about most Toronto-made products, especially when they’re designed by recent graduates, as COFO’s first colourful collection is. Helmed by Desmond Chan and Randy Simmen, the pair is already seeking submissions for their next furniture range.Our advice: get your hands on this one before it’s gone!

Poodle sitting on the hallway of a newly renovated home by architect Heather Asquith

4. A North Toronto Reno Full of Thoughtful Touches – and An Adorable Poodle

“I think there is a certain freedom in re-thinking your house after raising a family,” says architect Heather Asquith, who renovated this Edwardian for a pair of empty nesters and their family mascot, Louis. Although House of Louis wasn’t built with the standard poodle in mind – rather, the project was about creating a welcoming, open-concept family hub for grandkids – the pup inserted himself into almost every shot during the photoshoot. He was the perfect foil for the sensitive transformation, and the combination proved irresistible to readers.

Doors Open Toronto, interior of an architecture studio

5. Doors Open Unlocks the Offices of Toronto Architecture Firms

It’s no secret that this is one of our favourite events in the city, one which we’ve been delighted to write about year after year. We got extra excited last May, though, when we heard about the architecture firms taking part in the weekend-long bash. That included landscape architects DTAH, whose scheme for a new park in Vaughan was already on our radar. The fact that they work out of a mid-century mod building in Rosedale was all we needed to hear after that. And then there was Moriyama + Teshima Architects, who had us all abuzz about Toronto’s first ever timber building, and whose office features a koi pond. Where do we sign up for 2019, right?

hamilton shipping container home by studio Wonder Inc

6. Hamilton’s First Shipping Container Home Was Built in a Day

Multidisciplinary studio Wonder Inc. landed on our radar in 2010, when we featured their transformation of a hard loft into an artist’s bright live/work paradise. It’s not too much of a stretch to see them assembling this cutting-edge home in Hamilton with industrial Lego-blocks. Consisting of an octet of 8-by-40-foot modified containers, the building is painted a shiny red – a nod to the neighbourhood’s brick homes. Most amazing of all is how quickly this residence came together: in a single June day. It was this ease that pushed this story into this year’s top ten.


7. A Minimalist Roofline Belies a Grandiose Home

Last year, we drooled over this minimalist bathroom in Summerhill by Atelier Kastelic Buffey, a firm known for their serene and refined compositions. And so, when we got a chance to tour this home in North Toronto, we were floored. Frankly, so was the Internet. Architect Kelly Buffey wanted this project to speak to its neighbours,”but we also wanted it to be authentic to our time.” That’s where the hipped roof comes in. It’s an ever so subtle nod to the surrounding dwellings, voiced in an utterly contemporary way.

Bedroom in a Closet by Mary Ratcliffe

8. How Mary Ratcliffe Created a Soaring Bedroom in a Closet

When a doting dad wanted to create a cozy bedroom for his daughter in a new loft, he called in designer-maker Mary Ratcliffe. Why the reinforcements? Well, the only spare room he had was in a walk-in closet. Ratcliffe took cues from the building’s industrial heritage to create the ultimate chill-out zone, building skyward. We’re still obsessed with the hammock floor, and looking at the numbers, so are you.

architect Oliver Dang built a studio in his backyard

9. How an Architect Dad DIYed a Dream Garden Studio

Following the the tiny footsteps of Mary Ratcliff’s closet transformation, this story of a work-at-home architect dad grabbed the attention of our readers (and Instagram followers). Rather than renting a co-working space away from the nest, Oliver Dang built a studio in his backyard. “My commute is ten seconds,” he gushes. PS: We’re looking for more small spaces for an upcoming issue. Get in touch! 

Home renovation by StudioAC - best most popular stories 2018

10. A StudioAC Home Gets a Triumphant Arc

“After seeing StudioAC’s minimalist Broadview Loft project online,” writes Anya Georgijevic, “Chevalier and her husband were so impressed with the firm’s work that they gave the architects carte blanche when it came to the redesign of their three-level loft.” Clearly, StudioAC took that carte blanche and ran with it. The amazingly simple, beautiful wood swoosh of the second-floor balcony got top marks from our editors and readers alike.

You don’t need a time machine to read the best stories from DL’s past. Revisit our 2016 and 2017 year-end reviews too. 


Get a closer look at what you can expect to find in the 2024 New Builds Issue of Designlines Magazine

In the 2024 Spring/Summer Issue of Designlines, we focus on New Builds and “celebrate the profound impact of creating something new, not just as an architectural endeavour but as a testament to laying down roots and shaping the very essence of our city’s identity,” editor-in-chief Joseph Cicerone writes.



Your Weekly Dose of Modern Design

Sign up for the Designlines weekly newsletter to keep up with the latest design news, trends and inspiring projects from across Toronto. Join our community and never miss a beat!

Please fill out your email address.

The Magazine

Get the Latest Issue

From a sprawling family home in Oakville to a coastal-inspired retreat north of the city, we present spaces created by architects and interior designers that redefine the contemporary.

Designlines 2024 Issue