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Living Room on a Narrow Lot? No Problem.

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Faced with a narrow lot and long checklist of wants, this JA Architecture Studio living room rises to the occasion

“How can you have an integral garage and habitable basement on a narrow lot in Briar Hill and still be able to have a living room that connects to the backyard?” This was the primary challenge Ja Architecture Studio faced with this new build on Briar Hill Avenue, a home for a bustling young family with the space requirements typically accommodated by larger suburban lots. In response, the firm created a series of visually connected platforms on the living level that, through slight sectional changes – three steps up or down – create transitional flow from one to another, yet maintain their own clear purpose. Access to the entry was elevated and the living space gradually moves down – from the foyer and living room above the garage – to the kitchen, family room and landscape level in the back.

Granite from Ciot; door by Craft Door Design; Stair by MRail; sofa and table from Roche Bobois.

The next challenge was to balance the visual openness and continuity with clearly defined zones. And so, from the centrally positioned front door, guests face 4.5-metre-long cantilevered slabs of granite that delineate the platform of the living room and the step down to the back of the house.

While the granite marks the different levels, the American walnut running throughout unifies the disparate regions and guides sightlines, making it easier to keep watch over the young urbanites running and playing from one end of the home to the other.

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