Bill Gall's Toronto laneway house, designed by Christine Lolley and Tom Knezic of Solares Architecture. City approval to built in a laneway - almost impossible to come by now - had already been granted when Mr. Gall bought the vacant lot six years ago. (Andrea Hunniford/Andrea Hunniford)
Inside Bill Gall's Toronto laneway home. The main floor contains only a large kitchen and dining room. The urge to squeeze in a living room was supressed and the lower level now serves that function. (Andrea Hunniford/Andrea Hunniford)
The back walls of neighbouring homes provide an unusaual bedroom view. 'We have a lot of interest in laneway housing,' says architect Christine Lolley, 'and I think the biggest challenge is that people want to build a laneway house in the back of their existing house, and the biggest challenge there is two principle buildings on one property. This is its own property - an officially severed piece of land - so really what we were fighting was zoning bylaws, setbacks, height restrictions, coverage; those are all really easily managed in committee.' (Andrea Hunniford/Andrea Hunniford)
When Mr. Gall looks out of his kitchen window, he says: 'I like it, I like the different coloured brick, I like the paint peeling off this house, I like to see my neighbour’s fishpond in the summertime.' (Andrea Hunniford/Andrea Hunniford)
Mr. Gall’s staircase is not minimalist, which is what one might expect in a laneway house, but rather woodsy and traditional. 'I’m eclectic,' he says, simply. (Dave LeBlanc/Dave LeBlanc)
The Orphanage Mews street sign outside Bill Gall's Toronto laneway house. The home doesn’t have traditional air conditioning: 'I have a whole regimen about opening windows at night, or first thing in the morning I’m closing them, dropping the blinds…' says Mr. Gall as he trails off with a big laugh. 'As do all Solares clients,' quips Ms. Lolley. (Dave LeBlanc/Dave LeBlanc)
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