Timber played a significant role in the construction of the Annex Coach House in Toronto, Canada.

Image credit: Taylor Smyth Architects

Image credit: Taylor Smyth Architects

Tucked discretely down a quiet urban laneway, the original building was part of Moore’s Hearse Livery and used as a vehicle depot. Altered and added to over time, it was converted into a residence in the 1980s. The only thing left from the livery is the brick walls in the courtyards.

Taylor Smyth Architects, working with William Fulghum Design Associates, gutted the two-storey structure down to the bare studs and enhanced the key features of the residence with a contemporary light-filled interior that incorporates a rich material palette of wood, stone, bronze, and leather. New furniture was selected for all spaces to complement the design. Distinctive wall and ceiling light fixtures throughout the house combine vintage 1960s pieces with modern ones.

The entry hall features built-in millwork, combining walnut, lacquered wood, and custom closet doors of leather-trimmed in bronze. From there, the view through the house culminates in the den where a linear gas fireplace is an inset into a dramatic wall of dark veined stone trimmed in bronze.

The most remarkable features of the house are the pair of ivy-clad landscaped walled-in courtyards that flank the den, and the extensive rooftop terrace above.

A single ceiling plane unifies the living and dining room, appearing to float away from the walls with the incorporation of soft indirect lighting around its perimeter, and is pierced by two skylights that flood the space with light. The living room features a stone and walnut-clad fireplace.

The stair to the second floor is surmounted by a skylight and continues up another partial level to a large private landscaped terrace over the living/dining and den, where raised planters and a series of decks define a sequence of seating and entertaining spaces. A custom wood screen, its random vertical slats creating a rich composition of light and shade, conceals the wall of the second floor.

The second floor contains the master bedroom, en suite bathroom and walk-in-closet, and a second bedroom and bathroom. The master bathroom is illuminated through a screen of alternating back-painted and acid-etched glass with diffuse natural light from the skylight at the stair. Inside, statuario marble, laminam and charcoal-coloured porcelain tiles create a dramatic contrast of light and dark.

Project Details:

Team: Taylor Smyth Architects in collaboration with William Fulghum Design Associates
Landscape Architect: Holbrook + Associates Landscape Architects
Size: 3 200 sq. ft.

About Taylor Smyth Architects

Taylor Smyth Architects is a full-service Canadian practice dedicated to the creation of enduring buildings of exceptional quality. Since its inception in 2000, Taylor Smyth Architects has developed an international reputation for creating elegant architecture and interiors within Canada and abroad. Each project is cultivated from the spirit of its location, the unique tastes and aspirations of its clients, and a focus on authentic material expression.

They develop trusting, long-term relationships with clients, suppliers, contractors, and colleagues by listening carefully, providing unparalleled service, and through their exceptional attention to detail. They combine their project experience and technical rigor with a profound interest in the way people live, work, and play, to create innovative buildings that both nurture and delight.

They are inspired by fundamental criteria to which they believe all people respond: light, texture and colour, natural materials and proportions, a sense of openness and of the sheltered enclosure, access to views, and a connection to the outdoors. Combining these sensitivities with quality materials and fine craftsmanship, they aspire to create refined private residences, high-quality public buildings, and exceptional redevelopment projects.

Their award-winning firm has expertise in a broad range of project types including residential and interior design, educational, recreational, and workplace facilities, retail environments, and master planning. Their work has received wide recognition through numerous local, national, and international publications and awards.