Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Architect Jeff Geldart says the house is not ‘modern’ in the style of the 20th-century movement, but it is contemporary.

N49 Photography

The listing: 87 Ash Cres., Toronto

Asking Price: $1,399,900

Taxes: Not yet assessed

Story continues below advertisement

Lot Size: 25 feet by 125 feet

Agent: Adam Brind (Core Assets Real Estate Brokerage)

The back story

Architect Jeff Geldart of RAW Design and designer David Grant-Rubash of Phaedrus Studio stood in front of an unassuming bungalow on a deep lot in Long Branch on Toronto’s west side and pondered the type of contemporary residence they would each like to live in.

The two had been tossing around ideas on architecture since they met while Mr. Grant-Rubash was working on the Scandinavia-inspired Odin Café + Bar in Corktown and Mr. Geldart became intrigued by the design.

Mr. Geldart graduated with a master of architecture from Yale University before returning to Toronto to work on projects ranging from single-family houses to resorts and high-rise towers. He currently teaches at Ryerson University, where he completed his undergraduate degree before heading off for further education at Yale.

Mr. Grant-Rubash studied architecture at the University of Copenhagen before earning a master of interior architecture and product design from Kansas State University.

In 2015, they decided to come together on a project and, after some searching, Mr. Geldart found 87 Ash Cres. Its setting in the Long Branch area on the edge of Lake Ontario provided a leafy streetscape in a traditional neighbourhood.

Story continues below advertisement

“What was really valuable to us was the opportunity to collaborate. A lot of times you wouldn’t achieve the result without the dialogue,” Mr. Grant-Rubash says.

The goal of the renovation was to prove that good architecture can be created without adding massively to the scale or budget.

N49 Photography

In previous decades, many of the area’s small bungalows had been occupied by workers at the industrial plants nearby. But most of the industry has moved out of the area and the mix of houses is changing as builders and homeowners tear down older homes and replace them with larger dwellings.

Mr. Geldart and Mr. Grant-Rubash decided to do a renovation and addition to the existing bungalow.

Their aim was to prove that good architecture can be created without adding massively to the scale – or budget.

“We’re testing what a good house can be,” Mr. Geldart says.

Mr. Geldart points out that the house is not “modern” in the style of the 20th-century movement, but it is contemporary. He finds that Toronto is still fairly staid when it comes to design, but more people are willing to challenge the norms.

Story continues below advertisement

“It’s growing for sure. People want a very well-designed, thoughtful house.”

Mr. Grant-Rubash points out that many of the infill houses on the street built in the past decade or so are much more imposing.

The house today

The recently completed house appears modest to passersby, but the length of the building provides 2,080 square feet of above-ground living space.

That length created a design challenge of its own because it could lead to a dark interior. The pair decided to bring in light from the top and the sides.

Windows are placed to take full advantage of sightlines. Residents at the front of the house can see all the way to the tree in the backyard.

The main floor has an open plan, with a dining area at the front overlooking the street. Residents can walk right up to the floor-to-ceiling window, surrounded by the cedar frame.

Story continues below advertisement

“We’re always playing with the inside-outside relationship,” Mr. Grant-Rubash says. “You really feel the exterior of the building wrapping around you while you’re inside.”

He figures that the sociability of dining is well suited to the front of the house.

“People will look in and you’ll look out.”

The 12-foot island in the kitchen is covered in Brazilian soapstone.

N49 Photography

The kitchen stands in the centre with charcoal and white oak cabinet doors and a 12-foot waterfall island covered in Brazilian soapstone. The very matte material is warm and yielding, Mr. Grant-Rubash explains .

“We wanted to maintain a sort of softness.”

That leaves room for a more private living area at the rear. The entertainment centre can be hidden away behind the wall.

Story continues below advertisement

The mudroom – which provides a passageway from the back door to the kitchen – is also tucked away out of sight.

The stairs to the second floor are simple, white-washed white oak.

An exterior lightwell and an interior lightwell are designed to add brightness and air to the interior while creating continuity between the front and back landscape.

“We were trying to dissolve the barrier between what’s inside and out,” Mr. Grant-Rubash says of the exterior lightwell, which is punched into the exterior about halfway along its length. “Before you even get to the back of the house, you’re outside again.”

The rock garden in the exterior lightwell, for example, is the same type as the stone at the front and the rear of the house, he points out.

The interior lightwell overlooking the kitchen not only keeps the people upstairs connected to the folks below, it allows light to stream into the centre of the house from the rooftop skylight.

Story continues below advertisement

“We’re carving out volume to bring in light,” Mr. Geldart says.

The four upstairs bedrooms are designed for flexibility, the pair say. At the rear, a bedroom could also serve as a home office with a separate reading nook.

The house has four bedrooms.

N49 Photography

The master suite has an ensuite bathroom with a soaker tub.

N49 Photography

There’s a middle bedroom and a shared bathroom.

At the front of the house, the master suite has an ensuite bathroom with a soaker tub at one end and a walk-in shower with a window at the other. The natural materials are chosen to add serenity.

A wall of light oak in the bedroom hides built-in storage. It also adds texture and emphasizes the separation between public and private spaces.

The hallway running the length of the upper floor is streamlined, without a lot of fuss from details such as door handles.

“This is the space you’re meant to be in,” Mr. Geldart explains, pointing out that the doors are nearly imperceptible to a person moving along the hallway.

He adds that the simplicity allows the residents to notice elements such as the play of light and shadow on a wall.

“To do a house like this and to do good architecture, you’re crafting something,” Mr. Grant-Rubash says. “It’s going to be a place that keeps revealing itself to you for years.”

Looking outside to mature trees and a secluded backyard, he notes that the garage was placed at the rear of the property so that it doesn’t intrude on the house’s design.

The metal cladding on the exterior is a practical and very economical industrial material, Mr. Geldart says. It offers a very different experience from the brick houses that line the street, but the corrugated steel and Canadian cedar are not out of place, he points out.

“Even contemporary design can be contextual and local.”

The glass doors open onto a wooden platform outside, which acts as an extension of the living room.

N49 Photography

The best feature

In the house’s living area, the pair removed extraneous detail in order to keep the focus entirely on the space and an expanse of glass that slides away to open the area to the outdoors and a wooden platform with stairs to a seating area at garden level.

“We saw this platform as an extension of the living area,” Mr. Geldart says.

There’s a similar lift and shape to the ceiling inside and outside, Mr. Grant-Rubash says.

Residents have enough space to furnish the room with a large sofa where they can lounge and look upward all the way to the skylight. There’s a cast-iron wood stove for added warmth.

The three subtle zones of the main floor create a subtle haven.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct

For sale in this area

View similar listings below. Clicking on the map will take you to the listings below.

Open this photo in gallery: Gallery photo 1
598000.00
#401 -33 SHORE BREEZE DR, Toronto, Ontario
KELLER WILLIAMS REFERRED URBAN REALTY
Bedrooms
2
Bathrooms
1
Building Type
Condo/Strata
Property Type
Single Family
Welcome To Jade Waterfront Condos! The Perfect Investment Or Starter Home. 1 Bed + Media, 1 Bath Includes 620 Sqft + 144 Sqft Balcony. 9' Ceilings Throughout And Floor-To-Ceiling Windows. Open-Concept Space & Large W/I Closet In The Master Bedroom. Excellent Location 10 Minutes To Downtown, Steps To Transit, Waterfront, Marina, Restaurants, Parks, Metro. Located Close To Hwys, Mimico Go & Transit.**** EXTRAS **** S/S: Fridge, Stove, Dishwasher, Microwave, Upgraded Stackable W/D. All Elfs & Existing Window Coverings. Amenities On 2nd&3rd Flrs Include Yoga Rm, Sauna, Theatre & Games Rm,Virtual Golf, Terrace W/Cabanas, Bbqs,Dogwash Rm, & More. (id:31729)
Listing ID W5113950
Salesperson ALESSANDRA PANNO
Brokerage KELLER WILLIAMS REFERRED URBAN REALTY
Open this photo in gallery: Gallery photo 1
2380000.00
#815 -29 QUEENS QUAY, Toronto, Ontario
RIGHT AT HOME REALTY INC.
Bedrooms
3
Bathrooms
3
Building Type
Condo/Strata
Property Type
Single Family
Super Luxury Pier 27 Condominium With Breath-Taking Lake View! Extremely Sun-Filled South Corner Unit!Modern Designed Kitchen 10' Ceilings, Unobstructed Forever View Of Lake Ont, 2Br+Large Den/3rd Br, 2.5 Baths, 2 Large Balconies.2 Side-By-Side Parking, Locker & Bike Storage. 24Hr Conc, Steps To Fine Dining, Exclusive Shopping, Ttc & Union Station. Luxury Amenities: Indoor+Outdoor Pools, Spa, Gym, Private Screening Theatre & More! Easy Access To 2 Hwys**** EXTRAS **** Miele Gas Cooktop, Integrated Subzero Fridge, B/I Micro+Oven, Ss Exh Fan, B/I Dw, W/D, Custom Solar Blinds, Ultra-Modern Cabinetry W Soft Closures, Eng Woodflr, 2Pkg 1Lkr Bikerack (id:31729)
Listing ID C5109836
Salesperson HAMID JALIL OLGHADR
Brokerage RIGHT AT HOME REALTY INC.
Open this photo in gallery: Gallery photo 1
1080000.00
#1209 -29 QUEENS QUAY E, Toronto, Ontario
RIGHT AT HOME REALTY INC.
Bedrooms
2
Bathrooms
2
Building Type
Condo/Strata
Property Type
Single Family
Bright Unit Beautifully Finished.Huge Tiled Terrace W/ East & Some Water View. Luxury Finishes 10"" Smooth Ceiling,Master Ensuite Heated Floor, Frameless Shower Glass. Indoor/Outdoor Pools, Prof. Grade Gym, Party Rm Etc. . Excellent Walk-Transit-Bike Scores! Walk To Financial Core, Subway, Sports Events. Enviable Outdoor Lifestyle! .**** EXTRAS **** All Existing Light Fixtures. Chef's. Kitchen: Sub-Zero Fridge. Integrated Miele Dishwasher, Microwave, 4 Burner Gas Stove & High Velocity Exhaust. Front Loading Washer/Dryer. Valance Lighting. Downsview Cabinets, Roller Blinds. (id:31729)
Listing ID C5105996
Salesperson HAMID JALIL OLGHADR
Brokerage RIGHT AT HOME REALTY INC.
Open this photo in gallery: Gallery photo 1
1449000.00
196 LAKE PROMENADE, Toronto, Ontario
ROYAL LEPAGE TERREQUITY REALTY
Bedrooms
4
Bathrooms
3
Building Type
Freehold
Property Type
Single Family
Charming 2 Storey Home In Prime Long Branch Neighbourhood. Short Stroll To The Lake, Beaches, Schools, Park & Transportation. Very Well Maintained Home With Finished Basement; 3 Full Washrooms; Hardwood Floors Throughout. Large Eat-In Kitchen With Walk-Out To Patio. Wood Fireplace For Your Enjoyment. Huge Balcony With View Of The Lake. Do Not Miss!**** EXTRAS **** Fridge (2), Stove, Washer, Dryer. Tankless System. (id:31729)
Listing ID W5104725
Salesperson SERGE RYBITSKY
Brokerage ROYAL LEPAGE TERREQUITY REALTY
Open this photo in gallery: Gallery photo 1
569000.00
#1418 -27 BATHURST ST W, Toronto, Ontario
RE/MAX REAL ESTATE CENTRE INC.
Bedrooms
1
Bathrooms
1
Building Type
Condo/Strata
Property Type
Single Family
Bright Spacious 1Bd Unit In The Highly Desired Minto Westside. 9"" Ceiling To Fill This Unit With Natural Light. Granite Kitchen Counter. Premium Laminate Floor Throughout. Breathtaking Direct View Of Outdoor Swimming Pool On The 9th Floor. Farmboy Grocery Store Going In Mail Level Retail. Stackt Market Across The Street, Public Transportation Right At Your Doorstep. Walking Distance To Entertainment, Restaurants And More**** EXTRAS **** Fridge, Cooktop, Hood Fan, Dishwasher, Microwave, Oven, Washer , Dryer. All Window Coverings. All Electrical Light Fixtures. 24 Hrs Concierge. Outdoor Rooftop Pool And Lounge, Fitness Centre W Moving Haus Gym, Luxuries & Party Room. (id:31729)
Listing ID C5108727
Salesperson ZEESHAN KIANI
Brokerage RE/MAX REAL ESTATE CENTRE INC.
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies