A dated Toronto west end home becomes a dream home, inside and out
Renovations are a fact of life for many GTA residents, including this family of five and their post-war compartmentalized home. The difference was their backyard and pool. Their existing three-bedroom home had a 1980s coffin-shaped pool backing onto a cemetery, which became a fun family joke. Renovation must-haves for this family were to maximize the current footprint and to create a backyard, pool and outdoor space that interacted with the kitchen to make this a perfect pool-party house.
There were four key players that would make this dream a reality: Altius Architecture, BonaVista Pools, Paragon Kitchens and builder Dave LePrevost of LePrevo Design Build. These four businesses worked together with the homeowner to transform the dated house and backyard into a modern, sleek, four-bedroom home with a new 40-ft. lap pool and gorgeous 300-sq.-ft. pool house, which functions on weekdays as the owner’s office and on weekends as an alternative entertainment space for spill-over from pool parties.
How was this accomplished?
Maximizing the footprint
From the initial design phase, the family wanted to focus on the backyard as they love to entertain friends and family. This meant sacrificing the main-floor footprint in order to devote more space to the backyard and pool. Renovating every square foot of space, however, is quite costly. Altius Architecture worked with the homeowners to save square footage wherever they could. One major space-save solution was the use of Crowdertrack, sliding/pocket-door hardware. The house has 30 interior doors and only one is a traditional swing door. Altius used many different Crowdertrack applications – from pocket doors and concealed panels to fancy three-door come-along systems. With each application of a sliding door saving nine sq. ft. of space, these doors resulted in a gain of almost 300 sq. ft. This extra square footage came in handy upstairs, where the family now has four bedrooms, two baths and an upstairs laundry room in this jam-packed 30 by 30 footprint. The couple also installed sinks in each of the girls’ bedrooms in order to take some pressure off the main bathroom and to save everyone’s sanity as these kids move into the teenage years.
An open-concept main floor was paramount for this family. The main floor space needed to be a continuation of the outdoors and vice versa. The colour scheme of the house, blacks and greys with accents of light woods, gave rise to a bold, black kitchen with a gorgeous marble-like countertop.
Black kitchens are tricky. The homeowners consulted with Paragon Kitchen Designs to help bring their vision to life. The kitchen designer introduced them to quality products that were low-maintenance, forgiving and built to withstand the wear and tear a family of five would put on a kitchen. The Miralis cupboards use nanotechnology and are scratch-free and fingerprint-free – a must. A marble finish can be extremely stressful for homeowners who don’t embrace a patina look. These homeowners love their coffee and their red wine. The Paragon kitchen designers suggested a low-maintenance countertop by Cambria, which gives the marble look with a lifetime stain-resistant warranty.
Hardware was carefully thought out in this kitchen, with specialty hardware from Richelieu, including Silgranit sinks and faucets, and custom black fridge pulls from Upper Canada Hardware to nearly conceal the integrated fridge. The white oak quarter- and rift-sawn hardwood floors are the perfect backdrop for this killer kitchen.
This family isn’t new to pools. The pre-renovated house had an existing vinyl pool, which the young family loved, but it was showing its age. As the kids grew older, the homeowners recognized that the pool was a mainstay of their home. They decided to reach out to BonaVista Pools to help design a custom concrete pool that would grow with the family – yesterday’s kiddie splash pool would be tomorrow’s custom lap pool.
BonaVista Pools worked with the homeowners on the overall design, placement, luxury features and also the permitting, which was challenging due to neighbouring trees. A concrete pool means customization of such things as shape, depth, water colour and jet placement – the sky is the limit with concrete. The couple decided on a simple rectangular design, 40 by 10 ft., with custom stairs tucked in the corner, allowing plenty of space for doing laps and flip-turns.
Automation to ensure low-maintenance was another important function for the pool. With the help of a saltwater system, efficient heating and a special vacuum, the pool pretty much takes care of itself.
This backyard is also phenomenal at nighttime, with its fence lighting, stake lighting and hotel-style bollards that illuminate the walkway. And the piece de resistance is the pool LED lights, which give this backyard a real nightclub vibe for when a random dance party breaks out.
Photos: Tessa Linden