Creative Open-Concept Home in Toronto

24 Nov

Creative Open-Concept Home in Toronto

When performers Claudia Bader and Martin Tavares first walked with a property available in downtown Toronto, they didn’t give it a second glance. It turned out to be a run-down boardinghouse for seven pupils, and a neglectful landlord had enabled the building to fall apart. But Bader’s husband, Timothy Mitanidis, saw the possibility.

Bader, Mitanidis and Tavares are a part of design studio Creative Union. Searching for a neighborhood where they could design and reestablish their very first home, the trio was drawn to the vibrant neighborhood of Queen West, which reminded them of some of the neighborhoods in their native Europe.

Convinced they found the right spot, they set to operate on a shoestring budget to renovate the house into a three-apartment house. The cellar was to be furnished and rented to expats; Mitanidis and Bader planned to reside from the ground-floor unit, and the three designers would function as landlords. Acting as designers, general contractors and builders, they worked for a year to create a bright and open area chock-full of creativity, creativity and character.

at a Glance
Who lives here: Timothy Mitanidis and Claudia Bader
Location: Queen Street Fashion District of Toronto, Ontario
Size: 650 square feet
That’s intriguing: The designers fulfilled and live in Toronto, however each has a European background.

Andrew Snow Photography

Adjacent to the dining room would be the most visually striking area in the home: the slick, black kitchen. The cupboards are crafted from concrete formwork, leading to an odd brushed sheen. In keeping with the theme, the designers poured a gray concrete countertop which folds to run up a wall and onto the ceiling. Overhead, piping that is installed enables the wall-mounted pendant lights to hang based over the island. This was a clever cost-saving solution, as installing lights at the fire-rated ceiling could have stretched the tight budget.

Andrew Snow Photography

A punch of color appears in the most unlikely of places: the kitchen island panel. A dreamlike image of blues, whites and greens was printed on Lexan by Mitanidis’ brother, a print-shop owner. It gives the ideal jolt of contrast into the darkened space. The house’s washer and dryer are concealed beneath the white curtain, while the powder room is wrapped round the corner.

Andrew Snow Photography

Keeping the main spaces open and connected proved to be important for the three designers, since the home is narrow and long (typical for Toronto).

To address this, Mitanidis designed a dining table to match the proportions of the home. He used salvaged barn boards inserting them into a steel frame produced by a local fabricator.

On either side of the table runs a lengthy, custom made seat. It functions as seats during dinners and parties, while moveable panels under help conceal the couple’s clutter.

Andrew Snow Photography

The very simple but clever millwork is topped by a streak of gray felt. The panels are laser cut using a set of flying. Because the seat panels are operable, the flock can be constantly rearranged, mimicking the movement of these birds and helping attract the spirit of the outdoors in.

Andrew Snow Photography

Though the original floors were believed to be beyond repair, the designers were able to salvage them using a great deal of hard work and many coats of dark blot. Mitanidis and Bader took a holiday shortly after finishing the floor, and they recall returning in horror, as it’d reverted to an awful shade of orange. Luckily, one more coat of stain did the trick, and the floors are now a rich, dark brown. Combined with white walls and window coverings, they provide a neutral background for the couple’s quirky collection of classic and homemade furniture.

Andrew Snow Photography

The home opens up into a bright and airy living area. Large windows at both ends of the home enabled the designers to bypass an HVAC system. Instead, they rely on crossbreezes to ventilate the space in the summer, and in-floor heating keeps them warm during the long and cold Canadian winters.

Andrew Snow Photography

The bright blue arm chairs are Craigslist finds, and Mitanidis designed and built the coffee table. He salvaged barn boards from the home when they gutted the arrangement and also cut the pieces to fit within a steel framework, just like the dining table. The exterior door is painted providing a handy place.

Andrew Snow Photography

The original fireplace helps anchor the living area and gives a textural contrast to the remainder of the space. The home made shelving system holds the couple’s library collection in addition to family photographs, and a recessed lighting band wraps across the entire area. It opens up at the corners to provide a glow.

Andrew Snow Photography

Built around the fireplace, store-bought piping is coupled with simple wooden planks to make low-cost shelving. The designers wanted to minimize drilling to the drywall, so the shelving is fixed at just two points: once from the floor and once to the wall. The rest of the piping is capped with rubber, allowing the shelves to rest gently against the walls.

The few grow many vegetables and herbs in the garden, and some of the fruits of their labour, like these hanging hot peppers, may be understood at the home.

Andrew Snow Photography

Bader’s favorite furniture piece in the home is the powder room sink, produced from a salad bowl. The designers drilled out the bottom to connect the plumbing and encompassed it with a very simple plywood ledge.

Andrew Snow Photography

The streamlined master bathroom contains a generous shower clad in eye-popping blue tiles and a custom-built dressing table. Like the kitchen, the countertop wraps up the walls and onto the ceiling, even although the material of choice is plywood.

Storage is maximized, combining under-counter area with open shelving. The toilet is open to the south-facing bedroom and receives ample sunlight throughout the day.

Andrew Snow Photography

Around the corner from the home area, and separated by just a doorless opening, is the apartment’s only bedroom. Sunlight beams in through the double doors leading onto the deck, offering amazing views of the backyard and the large apricot tree. On lazy Sunday mornings, the pair can open the doors wide and moan in the morning glow from the comfort of their bed.

Andrew Snow Photography

The designers spruced up Ikea cabinets by wrapping themwith a plywood ring. The simple nighttable solution allows for a great deal of storage with no cluttering the space. The dangling lights, pieced together with materials from local providers, have a braided black and blue cable which adds visual interest to the tranquil area.

Andrew Snow Photography

The bedroom opens onto a covered and comfortable rear deck, the ideal spot. The few sourced many of their special furnishings, like this classic rocking seat, from garage sales, scrap yards and illegal garbage dumps. Bader says, “People throw out so many great things. Having a little care and work these things can become easily recycled and reused.”

Andrew Snow Photography

The garden is an urban oasis in the heart of the city. Steps from the more secluded rear deck is the outdoor seating space. Through the year the few grow vegetables and herbs, and they sponsor an yearly spring flea market, a Christmas celebration with German mulled wine (Gl├╝hwein) and several bonfires and barbecues. The roofing of the semienclosed workshop hangs over the space, letting some respite from summer showers.

Andrew Snow Photography

A large apricot tree offers much-needed shade to the backyard in addition to the interiors of the home. Flowering a luminous white and pink at the spring, the tree bears fruit in the summer, used by the few to create delicious home made jam.

An Airstream trailer parked just feet away is now in use for a guest home for family and friends visiting from Europe. Throughout the yearly flea market, it has transformed into an art gallery and exhibition space.

Andrew Snow Photography

The front entrance of the property lies on a quiet side street steps away from the bustling and vibrant intersection of Queen and Bathurst Streets. Wrapped in laser-cut black steel, the semienclosed region contains separate doorways for Mitanidis and Bader’s main floor space in addition to the apartment upstairs.

Because the main apartment sits over the street, it enabled the designers an chance to update the traditional front stoop. They extended the step to develop into a seat and may often be found chatting with neighbors or enjoying the afternoon sunlight.

Andrew Snow Photography

Signifying the transition from public to private, the framed entry is laser cut using the speech of the home. Much like builders employed to inscribe their name on the cornerstone of a structure,
Mitanidis, Bader and Tavares stamped the name of their studio around the home.

Though the rusted and weathered steel is proper for the urban area, the piece stands out on a mostly nondescript street and passersby can sometimes be seen snapping photographs.

Andrew Snow Photography

The three designers unwind beneath the apricot tree. From left to right are Claudia Bader, Martin Tavares and Timothy Mitanidis. Bader fondly remembers the three of these finishing work every night around 11:30 pm and appreciating a beer while discussing what they’d accomplished that day.

Even though the procedure was long and occasionally nerve-racking, the experience has been tremendously positive. Their design studio has caught the growth bug and contains future ambitions to develop a small condo building with three to five units. It will be powered by green energy and supply outdoor area, a vegetable garden and bicycle parking. But while they plan to eventually move on and maintain the present area as a rental house, for right now, they are home.

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