williamson chong transforms narrow toronto home with a relocated stairwell
williamson chong transforms narrow toronto home with a relocated stairwell williamson chong transforms narrow toronto home with a relocated stairwell
mar 09, 2016

williamson chong transforms narrow toronto home with a relocated stairwell

williamson chong transforms narrow toronto home with a relocated stairwell
all images courtesy of williamson chong




canadian architecture practice williamson chong has transformed a narrow edwardian property in a suburban neighborhood of toronto. the existing home was a poorly renovated residence, and required a complete overhaul in order to provide spacious and comfortable living accommodation. beginning at the front elevation, every effort was made to produce open and airy family-oriented spaces out of what was previously a cluster of small and awkward rooms. by removing the deep covered porch and opening the entry and living room to the south, the once-dark front rooms are now bathed in natural light. this renovation and addition was for a family who endeavored to find a home that would exist seamlessly in a traditional neighborhood, yet exude a decidedly modern presence,’ explain the architects. ‘they asked for a study of contrasts, not only oppositions in style and form, but also in the color palette, citing a love for the contrast of dark against light.’

a view through to the backyard connects the interior and exterior spaces




the new arrangement of enlarged rooms required a relocated main stair to provide light to the home’s centrally positioned spaces. the center-piece curved stair, which carves a substantial void through the house from the basement to the third floor, operates as an extension of the large skylight above. by funneling light through the center of the structure, this generous space becomes a ‘vertical room’, growing in width as it ascends throughout the building. the void not only allows light and air to vent through the operable skylights, but also provides visual connections between adjacent floors. the staircase’s thin, 5 centimeter balustrade was built-up of cantilevered sheets of flexible plywood that were laminated on site and sheathed in drywall. the curves are all true semicircles that progressively tighten as they descend, and form a complex geometry as they intersect with both the sloped and flat ceiling plates below each landing.

the front entry introduces the figure of the stair as a presence in the house




the interior palette remains simple throughout, with a jatoba floor in the living spaces and black slate in the entries and kitchen. these rich colors contrast the white walls and light woods — such as douglas fir and birch — that were used in the kitchen and bathroom millwork. a similar palette exists at the back of the house on the new elevation. volumetric rooms with large expanses of glass present a contemporary façade detailed with sapele windows and trim.

the white balustrade abstracts the stair into pure form




the rear of the house was extended to provide a large eat-in kitchen and family room with a fully operable glazed exterior wall on the ground floor and a master suite above. the previous homeowners had installed a large concrete swimming pool, nearly filling the entirety of the rear yard. by removing the mass of concrete and replacing it with a simple wooden deck and garden, the space becomes more open, while doubling the property’s amount of green space.

looking up the telescoping stairwell to the skylights above

the stairwell connects the living spaces in the home and funnels natural light into the center of the house

the second floor hallway is a narrow bridge that connects three bedrooms

moving up to the third floor, the stair widens to allow more light to penetrate the lower levels

a view down shows the contrasting jatoba floor winding down to the basement level

a kitchen is tucked behind the dining room wall

a view of the wood clad kitchen

the front façade has been cleared of a heavy porch to allow light into the front rooms



designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: philip stevens | designboom

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