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The Globe and Mail

South Hill home for family of five marries beauty, harmony

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Home for a family of five in Toronto’s South Hill neighbourhood, designed by Atelier Kastelic Buffey. The exterior geometry of this two-storey, 7,000-square-foot house is plain and clear, composed of a pair of simple oblongs stacked, one atop the other, on a rectangular city lot. The spacious, elegant gestures of the street-side façade, which is clad in large, smooth slabs of Indiana limestone, make the building look as if it had been sculpted from massive blocks of rock.

James Brittain

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Wide, deeply recessed horizontal windows open the interior to light, and a tall window by the front door frames a view that carries the eye right through the entry level, through floor-to-ceiling glass walls at the rear, and into the back garden. Without turning the structure into a transparent modernist box – something the clients did not want – Atelier Kastelic Buffey made it permeable, and they have banished the heaviness that might have come from using so much stone on the exterior.

James Brittain

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The attractive mood inside – calm but alert, gracious without fussiness, minimal without any stinginess at all – is generated by a scheme that modernism has made seem timeless. There are tall white walls, warm oak floors, sparse but well-chosen contemporary furnishings, and a dramatic, oak-framed staircase that rises from the double-height foyer and is brightened by a large skylight.

James Brittain

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AKB avoided the spatial blankness that sometimes makes open-plan interiors seem vacant, unlived-in, by lightly defining each area unto itself. The living room ensemble, for example, occupies a sunken, inward-looking, intimate place, while the dining table stands in an elevated, more exposed position near the entrance hall. The separation of these zones is subtle, but aesthetically effective, and the interior sings.

James Brittain

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The house succeeds simultaneously in being both a contemporary artistic entity and a flexible, accommodating home for a couple with three small and active children.

James Brittain

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No visible supports or bulkheads interrupt the flow of space on the ground level, since all the framing and electro-mechanical innards of the house have been hidden away inside walls and the extra-wide intervals between floors.

James Brittain

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James Brittain

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James Brittain

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James Brittain

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James Brittain

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