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The Globe and Mail

A Toronto house geometrically simplified and built with marble, slate and glass

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The 3,000-square-foot house turns a severe face toward its street of traditional family homes. The boxy composition of this two-storey façade is dominated by the rigid symmetry of its upper portion, and its overall sombre tone is set by the ash-black brick that frames the horizontal windows and the entrance. Seen here, the rear facade.

Tom Arban

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Tom Arban

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The relaxed mood inside is generated, in part, by the simple palette of materials. The floors and cabinetry and other millwork throughout the building, downstairs and up, have been crafted from natural white oak, and the walls, too, are white.

Tom Arban

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Relief from the general brightness is provided by black slate flooring laid in a pattern of contrasting sheens that creates a carpet-like effect underfoot.

Tom Arban

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The home’s liveliness is emmbodied in the bones of the house, the way it moves formally with its site, which slopes downward away from the street. Mr. Shnier has let the floor sink with the landscape, and used the differing levels to fashion an engaging sequence of spatial experiences.

Tom Arban

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The most conspicuous and unusual accent is the red wall. The expanse of gleaming opaque glass covers the west side of the interior, rising alongside the stair to the second level, descending to the finished basement. This large, bold feature, and the various applications of only a few other sensuous materials, come together in a visual whole that is interesting, but never noisy, modern without being austere – that is lively without a sacrifice of serenity.

Tom Arban

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Tom Arban

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