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A Growing Family Home on The Danforth

Designlines Magazine, The Danforth Home

With the help of Asquith Architecture, a family of four finds the extra space they need in Greektown

By Joseph Cicerone
Photography by Nanne Springer

In Toronto’s historic Danforth neighbourhood, architect Heather Asquith and her team at Asquith Architecture have creatively merged traditional design elements with modern sensibility in a renovated century home tailored to the growing needs of a young family of four.

Gable Roof Toronto Design
The Danforth home was completed in December of 2022. Construction, AT Build; structural consultant, Blackwell.

The renovation’s standout feature is an expansive two-storey addition. It boasts a gable roof sheltering a shallow balcony, which extends gracefully from the primary suite to provide a distinct outdoor setting. “The addition gave us more space to fulfill the clients’ ask for a large, open, family-friendly space,” says Asquith.”By increasing the floor-plate size, it allowed enough space to maintain the existing parlour at the front of the house as well.”

The Danforth Home
Wall colour, Studio Green, Farrow & Ball; fireplace, Marsh’s Fireplace & Stoves.

The historic parlour room at the front of the Danforth home has been retained, painted in a moody green-grey hue and fitted with sliding doors that allow the space to be closed off as a separate capsule, private hangout, workspace or retreat for quiet time. “It also allowed an opportunity to nod to the historic home’s existing architecture,” says Asquith.

The Danforth Home Parlour Room
Pendant by Tim Rundle, Lightology.

The heart of the Danforth home resides in the kitchen and family room, where the final design meticulously considers both functionality and contemporary aesthetics. A bespoke listening station and stereo cabinet take centre stage, reflecting the family’s passion for music and showcasing their curated vinyl collection. The piece, designed by Asquith, was built by Nick Day Design.

Audio Room, Nick Day Design
Audio centre designed by Asquith Architecture, Nick Day Design.

“The clients were looking for a bright open space for the main area on the ground floor, but wanted some moody moments,” says Asquith. “They were inspired by the Japandi movement for the kitchen, hence our selection of darker wood finishes on the cabinetry (also by Nick Day Design). They were interested in moments of subtle, more multi-layered colour, reflected in the blue stain on the kitchen cabinetry.”

Toronto Interior Design and Architecture
Countertop, Ciot; faucet, Brizo; cabinetry, Nick Day Design.

Ascending to the second floor of the renovated Danforth home reveals the sanctuary of the primary suite, featuring lofty ceilings that enhance the sense of openness. The ensuite bath introduces elements of the natural world through earthy finishes and thoughtful incorporation of greenery.

Ensuite Renovation
Wall tile, Mettro Source; soaker tub, Victoria & Albert.

The original Edwardian house, which is believed to be one of the first built on the street, had many period details that the owners wanted to keep, but “contemporize” and weave into a modern, new addition. In its new and renewed state, the Danforth home exemplifies Toronto’s architectural identity of today, where glass spires reach for tomorrow’s dreams, and heritage facades whisper echoes of yesteryears.

“We are interested in how modern residential architecture takes cues from traditional forms, both in our renovation work as well as in new builds,” says Asquith. “We do a lot of work within the residential fabric of existing neighbourhoods, and these forms are everywhere. A gable roof is one of the most common examples, but can be quite a different thing when re-examined and reinterpreted as a modern form. This project gave us the chance to explore a traditional form in another way, which I think we end up doing consciously, or unconsciously in all our projects.” ASQUITHARCHITECT.COM

Asquith Architecture, The Danforth Home

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