For housing-obsessed Toronto, laneway homes are gaining popularity for the unique opportunity they offer to enter the residential market. Here, we take a look back at a few of our all-time favourites.
We’ve been covering various types of housing for a long time now, mainly focusing on single-family dwellings such as semi-detached, detached houses, apartments, condos and townhouses. Although there have been some exceptions such as cabins or cottages, and even a couple of float homes, every once in a while, a rarity presents itself – the elusive modern laneway house. There are many reasons why these structures are so fascinating. Firstly, the history behind these buildings and the challenges faced in renovating or building them are usually quite noteworthy. But what’s most exciting is the amount of ingenuity and creativity that modern laneway homes display in such a small footprint. Though they may be small in size, laneway homes offer a lot in terms of space-saving, sustainability, and style. Let’s take a look at some of our favourite laneway homes in the city.
A Celebration of Place
From the upper floor of this laneway house located in Toronto’s Parkdale neighborhood, one can experience a unique “backdoor perspective” of the city, as described by its architect Melodie Coneybeare from Solares Architecture. According to Coneybeare, “This is an urban home, and it faces a city view of rooftops and a laneway.” The laneway house has been designed in such a way that it allows the inhabitants to have an interesting and unique view of the city from the upper floor, showcasing the rooftops and the laneway. The architect has cleverly used the location of the house to provide a unique viewpoint of the city to the residents. Read the story here.
Long Time Coming
After eleven years of planning and collaboration, Brandon Donnelly, a real estate developer, and Gabriel Fain, an architect, successfully constructed a stunning laneway house. Their shared passion for architecture is evident in the final product, which boasts a sleek black exterior and pristine white interior, accented by a charming mint-green door. The laneway house serves as a striking improvement to the previously barren and unutilized land. Read the story here.
The Laneway House that Harbord Village Built
North of College, in a laneway running parallel to Bathurst, is this stunner designed by LGA Architectural Partners and built by ZZ Contracting, with help from the neighbours. With its glass front that accordions open and contemporary dormers, the new laneway home design is a far cry from the crumbling structure that originally sat on this site. LGA-AP.COM
Between the Lanes
For a guitar-playing thespian, Creative Union Network completely updated this old coach house residing not far from Queen West. The new interior features a double-height living room, a ribbed kitchen ceiling and more storage than you can shake a stick at. Read the story here. CREATIVE-UNION.NET
Architect Michael Taylor, co-founder of Taylor Smyth, has designed some of Toronto’s most contemporary homes – defined by clean lines, clerestories and cantilevered additions. His own home, a modern laneway house at Dupont and Dufferin, reveals trademarks of contemporary design, but the most defining feature is the secret garden. Read the story here. TAYLORSMYTH.COM
Living Outside the Box
Probably one of the city’s best known laneway houses, the home of Studio Junction principals Peter Tan and Christine Ho Ping Kong is actually a retrofitted warehouse. Inside is a clerestory, a double height space, a fully glazed wall to bring the outside in and, as you would expect from the studio, incredible millwork. Read the story here. STUDIOJUNCTION.CA
In the Fold
Tucked away deep in the heart of Kensington Market is this little laneway house by Superkül. Unmistakably modern, the house is in fact built on the same footprint as the 1880s worker’s cottage that was gutted by a fire in 2007. See how the dormer illuminates the interior by reading the story here. SUPERKUL.CA
Not needing his home in Toronto anymore but still wanting a place in the city to call his own, a globetrotting creative director looked to his back lane. His century-old coach house was the perfect candidate to become a modern laneway home.
Architect Craig Race designed a highly functional laneway home that accommodates both a homeowner and a lot of horsepower. The standard garage door was replaced with a fully insulated wall, which is on a hydraulic lift to hoist the heavier assemblage. The laneway home is located in the St. Clair and Bathurst area.
The Superkül concept home is energy-efficient, modular and (relatively) inexpensive. When conceiving a prefab laneway home called Laneway Suite 1.0, the architect firm decided to push for an even greener design. The goal was to aim for Passive House standards, the certification process for the energy-efficient construction of buildings that consume up to 90 per cent less than comparable structures.
In 2016, architect Vanessa Fong attempted to address the issue of a growing family in the West End by designing a basement apartment for the grandparents. The homeowners initially liked the idea, but later changed their perspective as they realized that as their children grew, they might need the basement space for themselves, such as for a den or play area. To overcome this issue, the logical solution was to build a laneway suite at the back, replacing an old garage.