A look at most of the established Toronto neighborhoods reveals traditional home designs that have been the norm since the early decades of the 20th century. This is interesting because Toronto is known for its sophistication with the arts.
What is clear is that when it comes to homes, the residents prefer traditional designs to fit in with their neighbors. This was the dilemma that leading architect of Stan Makow of Makow Architects had to deal with when a client asked for a house with a traditional exterior but with a very modern interior. With the realization that he would have to come up with an exceptional design, he enlisted the help of his wife Naomi Makow, herself an accomplished interior designer working at the firm.
The partners naturally turned to the best custom home builder in Toronto- Rami Katzav of SKR homes to provide the inspiration needed to give their ideas a 3-dimension practical touch. The homeowner, a knowledgeable art collector and lover of modern design was willing to take a gamble with the most creative ideas. The team settled for an unassuming Georgian exterior with formal front elevation complete with a stone cladding and an upper-storey porthole window. This exterior was to give way to a striking modern interior full of light with bold features. They then worked on ways to blend the Georgian exterior with the contemporary interior to create a subtle communication between the two contrasting styles.
The result of this teamwork is a house with an exterior that offers no clues on the surprises it contains inside. It has strong simple lines that provide a subtle overture of the interior by having clean right angles and uncluttered space. The Makow Architects design has a door that opens to a contemporary center hall with high ceilings, deep baseboards and crown moldings. A pair of stylish spandrels in dark Brazilian ipea hardwood is used as trim and flooring and introduces a gradual visual unification of the two styles. The expansive study on the left reveals this is not just another traditional house. The only references to tradition are the French doors updated with simplified grids and linen fabric insets. The dining room across the hall features large scale paintings and a custom-designed zebrawood table.
The house opens up with an atrium that soars to the skyline 20 feet up and suddenly introduces air, light and space. An open riser staircase with a glass and steel railing rises past a linen colored wall. Stan Makow loves circular shapes and he fits a few to counter the regular rectangles. The lower level of the house features warmth with an open sitting area anchored around a rustic rug in shades of wheat and green.
The bathrooms are a work of art featuring stainless steel and mosaic tiles. The master bedroom is in a vast open space under a high coffered ceiling. A glass curtain wall opens to a view overlooking the garden. Makow Architects and SKR homes have surely managed to blend the old and new to great effect.