June 25, 2022

Clad in a tough, charred wooden siding stained white, Susan Nickerson’s gabled farmhouse stands out.Riley Snelling/Riley Snelling Images

Though there may be loads of artwork and sculpture to admire in Susan Nickerson’s lately accomplished residence in Toronto’s Bennington Heights neighbourhood, there is no such thing as a bust of the two-faced Roman god Janus.

However there must be.

Janus, as everyone knows, might see into the previous with one face and into the longer term with the opposite. He represents transition, change, duality and development, and was worshipped initially and finish of issues, equivalent to planting and the harvest. And, surprisingly, Ms. Nickerson’s residence, which began life as a 1910 farmhouse, has ended up as one additionally, albeit one with a really modernist bent.

The nook home, you see, began life as stonecutter Joseph Daniel’s residence; in 1959, it was bought by author James Bacque and his spouse, Elizabeth, who offered it to Ms. Nickerson and her husband in 2008. And so they lived within the outdated farmhouse, quirks, warts and all (no closets or a bathe upstairs) for a few decade. They tweaked and tinkered with its finicky outdated rooms to make them livable however, finally, the choice was made to name in skilled assist.

“It was initially going to be a renovation,” says Ms. Nickerson, a lawyer, “the place we have been going to maintain this after which put a contemporary wrap up … but it surely obtained sophisticated.” Because the outdated constructing was comparatively frail, solely bits and items may very well be saved.

“So,” says Gloria Apostolou of Publish Structure, “zoning-wise, [the city] was going to think about it a brand new construct anyway as a result of it’s essential to preserve 50 per cent of the outdated home to name it a renovation.”

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Ms. Apostolou was chosen, Ms. Nickerson stresses, due to her deft dealing with of heritage structure, of taking outdated homes “via time” and ensuring they don’t “look odd.” So, when it was decided {that a} fully new construct was within the playing cards, the problem for the College of Waterloo graduate was to determine how channel ol’ Janus. Might the outdated home’s profile – the gable, the chimney, the zeitgeist – be included into a brand new scheme? Might the home look to the previous and the longer term concurrently?

In fact it might.

“It’s layering,” Ms. Apostolou says. “It’s all constructed at one time, in fact, but it surely’s simply eager about how the outdated home was, and the texture of that, versus what a brand new addition might seem like.” In truth, as she was designing, Ms. Apostolou considered the 2 items as “the farmhouse” and “the addition to the farmhouse.”

And, from the road, that is clear. Clad in a tough, charred (shou sugi ban) wooden siding stained white, the gabled farmhouse stands out. Whereas there are not any eaves, there are trendy shutters and far smaller home windows on the western façade. Additionally on the western façade is a white-brick chimney that’s equivalent to the unique. To the east, clad in black metal, the flat-roofed “addition” pushes again, barely, on the second storey to provide prominence to the farmhouse form and, on the primary flooring, dissolves a complete nook by choosing an nearly frameless window.

Similar to the unique, the house is raised from road stage to the identical top, however the storage door betters what was there earlier than by nearly disappearing beneath fake bois concrete tile.

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Inside, in fact, is one other story – not a totally totally different story as Ms. Nickerson’s decor is trendy Scandinavian farmhouse – of rooms spilling into different rooms, an abundance of sunshine, and a palette of sunshine woods, gray quartz and traditional black and white.

  • House of Susan Nickerson in Toronto’s Bennington Heights neighbourhood. Renovation by Gloria Apostolou, Publish Structure.Riley Snelling/Riley Snelling Images

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Slightly than chew up area with hallways, Ms. Apostolou opted for millwork “objects” that separate makes use of; these room dividers can comprise something from shelving to HVAC, and even closets and loos. And so these considerably monolithic items don’t overwhelm, a half-inch reveal on the prime and backside “float” them within the area. The primary of those a customer would encounter, for example, is an ebony field within the lobby; it comprises a bench for sitting all the way down to take away one’s sneakers, a closet, a powder room and a path to the couple’s residence workplace.

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Ought to that customer as an alternative head within the different path, her jaw would possibly drop as she considers the large hearth encompass of ribbed quartz and the way it matches the numerous picket screens and doorways all through the area. Or, she would possibly discover how that quartz carries over to the large kitchen backsplash and counter tops. If she have been actually detail-obsessed, she’d undoubtedly select that there are two units of home windows: black-framed models for the ‘addition’ and white-framed models for the “heritage” portion, every from a distinct provider.

The white home windows, explains Ms. Apostolou, have “extra conventional proportions. A few of them are nestled underneath the bulkheads [and] all of that could be a little bit cozier, after which, past it, the den, being an addition to the unique footprint, that obtained the massive black home windows.”

And, surprisingly, though the neighbouring home is sort of a distance away, the massive black window that faces it needed to incorporate industrial sprinklers. Nonetheless the builder, Inline Design + Construct, made them nearly disappear. “They obtained it discovered the place it truly seems good,” Ms. Nickerson says.

Along with containing the principal suite – with an ensuite that pops out in an effort to accommodate an extended window on both facet of the sculptural tub – the second flooring advantages from 4 skylights that illuminate each art work and the hidden laundry pair. Within the basement, one other, bigger laundry pair isn’t used as usually, however, because it shares area with wine storage, it will get the occasional fist-bump. The house health club and residential theatre do see a variety of use, nonetheless.

Dropping one thing new into a longtime neighbourhood is relatively like translating a chunk of traditional literature. Rush it and you find yourself with one thing clunky and obscure, one thing that may absolutely annoy the literati. Take one’s time, look again with respect whereas boldly transferring ahead, and a brand new traditional is born.

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