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Junction Carpentry: The West End’s Bespoke Biking Carpenters

Junction Carpentry

A tiny music studio in the city’s West End serves as the perfect case study on the company’s hyper-local point of view

By Kaitlin Secord
Photography by Riley Snelling

Laid off during the pandemic, Junction Carpentry partners Michael Taylor and Rene Hugenneyer decided to take a leap of faith into a new endeavour – biking carpentry in Toronto’s West End. “I made a Facebook post asking if anyone needed carpentry work done in the neighbourhood and very quickly realized there was a lot of opportunity out there,” said Taylor.

Junction Carpentry
Photography courtesy of Junction Carpentry.

The team behind Junction Carpentry have known each other for twenty years. When Hugenneyer helped Taylor build a shed in his backyard, they knew there was an opportunity ahead. The experience of building and working together would be the genesis of their company. “Our original idea was to focus on working locally between our two homes rather than a specific type of service. We built a few different projects, and it quickly became clear that we preferred working outside in the fresh air and the elements. We’ve stuck with outdoor work and ultimately achieved our original plan of working in the west end, with some added focus,” said Taylor. “Our current favourite projects are bespoke porches, sheds, and small studios like the beautiful music studio we built alongside Atelier Dalziel.”

bespoke backyard

The music studio and outdoor room design by Atelier Dalziel was inspired by the public benches of Florentine palazzi. Driven by the architecture firm’s commitment to local and natural materials, Junction Carpentry built it entirely out of untreated Ontario white cedar. In many ways, the project is a quintessential example of Junction Carpentry’s work, its attention to craftsmanship and community spirit.

Operating between Parkdale and Bloor West Village, the bespoke backyard carpenters tried a few approaches before landing on their current business model. Hugenneyer and Taylor utilize the bike-friendliness of the city and ride their modified e-bike to projects.

“There are two big benefits to this,” said Taylor. “The first is that driving and parking downtown is a pain, so that’s avoided, and the other is that cycling is sustainable – not just environmentally, but also in terms of lifestyle – we both have young families and cycling fits within our goal of working hyper-locally, helping work-life balance.”

multi-use space

Junction Carpentry thinks of itself in the same light as the West End district it serves – eclectic and kind. Its design style is bespoke, drawing inspiration from each client and coming to understand their needs.

For this tiny backyard workspace, teaming up with Matthew Dalziel from Atelier Dalziel was a seamless match. The now Oslo-based architect grew up in Toronto and celebrates the project as his first in Canada after more than 20 years of living and working abroad. In many ways, the homecoming project is the perfect case study on Junction Carpentry’s sense of site specificity. The company has found its niche – bespoke craftsmanship that brings beauty to the neighbourhood it calls home.

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