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Explore This Modern Toronto Home With Unexpected Luxuries Around Every Corner

Blending the modern city lifestyle with seaside-inspired touches, this Canadian home is a master class on indoor-outdoor living

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By Kimberley Schoeman  | May 8, 2024 | Interiors

Located in The Beaches neighbourhood, on the east side of Toronto, Canada, this very walkable residential area is in close proximity to the beach and boardwalk on Lake Ontario and was originally (in the late 1800's) used to be a "cottage-like" community for Torontonians' second homes.

Brought to life by interior design studio STUDIO HA/WA, led by founder and creative director Erin Hannon-Watkinson, the team worked with General Contractor Weenen General and Landscape Architect Martin Wade.

Pendants lights by Allied Maker. Caesarstone counters, Backsplash and Hood surround Quartzite (White Princess). Bocci 22 Outlet from Casson Hardware. Photography by Lauren Miller. Styling by Me&Mo. Interior design by STUDIO HA/WA.

“Our projects are designed with their surroundings and location in mind to ensure longevity and lessen our impact on the environment,” Erin says.

A detached three-story, single-family home, the updated exterior is inspired by a contemporary beach style home with light grey siding and matching cedar tiles. Through its design, the architecture not only reflects its location and proximity to the beach, but still feels like a home in the city.

Inspired by Contemporary Beach Living

The home’s luxurious media room features a comfortable Cloud Sofa by RH and nods to the contemporary beach lifestyle. Photography by Lauren Miller. Styling by Me&Mo. Interior design by STUDIO HA/WA.

The homeowners wanted a home that felt like they were coming into their favourite hotel, elevated but still comfortable, and reflective of their proximity to the beach. This allowed the design to refine the unexpected luxuries and carefully considered details that you expect in top tier hospitality environments.

The home’s light palette with tonal hints of blue and green paired with warmer wood tones complement other shades of light grey, beige and white throughout the space.

Reflected in the exterior finishes, architectural finishes as well as soft furnishings, the home’s colour scheme is a master class in making an impactful low contrast, neutral palette. we placed importance on subtle texture and pattern to create visual interest (for example: cut and loop rug in living room, large stone installations in kitchen and fireplace, and hints of black for contrast and walnut for warmth throughout),” says Erin.

An intimate, yet luxurious wine cellar by Rose Hill Wine Cellars. Photography by Lauren Miller. Styling by Me&Mo. Interior design by STUDIO HA/WA.

Since the aesthetic concept is contemporary beach living, the design team leaned into natural materials: warm woods on the floor, white oak on mill work (including slatted wood details and wood wall covering in the powder), light/white stones with subtle veining to give depth and richness without commanding too much attention and linen in the soft furnishings.

The integration of concealed storage allows the space to feel spacious and comfortable to move around. By adding full-height mill work by Robert Design Group, the design team created a clear division between the spaces while still keeping them visually open and allowing light to filter through both spaces.

The home’s entryway features sconces by Allied Maker, mirror by RH and floors by Herringbone Carrara. Photography by Lauren Miller. Styling by Me&Mo. Interior design by STUDIO HA/WA.

“I always like to add good lighting, a mirror and some sort of table to an entry space, so you have a place to toss your keys and one last check before you leave the house,” says Erin. “The large mirror also helps to bounce light around and reflect the geometry of the open shelves.”

The two-sided mill work (with open and closed storage) leads you into the living room and is balanced with a sister version of the same design but with a closed back along a wall. From the living room side, it creates symmetry to the space as you move towards the entry. The full-height shelves provide a space to showcase some more decorative elements, creating drama by maximizing the height from floor to ceiling.

The floor-to-ceiling shelving creates a clear division between the living room and entry way, while allowing light to filter through both spaces. Photography by Lauren Miller. Styling by Me&Mo. Interior design by STUDIO HA/WA.

STUDIO HA/WA opened up the front of the house with one large window and opened up the back of the house by adding a large full-height four-panel sliding door that spans the width of the room. It helps to blend the interior with the exterior so that it feels like an extension of the home.

The small backyard is typical of Toronto, so STUDIO HA/WA needed to maximize every corner and have multi-functional elements. The design team relocated the door of the garage to the side and installed a full-height pre-vegetated ivy screen on the back wall of the garage so that when you look out you feel like you are in the garden. By keeping the deck at the same height as the finished floor on the interior it seamlessly blends the home’s charming, beach-like exterior and contemporary design interior.

Clio Armchairs from Kiosk. Sofa and Poufs: RH. Custom coffee table. Rug: Y&Co. Photography by Lauren Miller. Styling by Me&Mo. Interior design by STUDIO HA/WA.

Up on the Roof

On top of the roof of the three-story home is the new addition of the rooftop lounge. It is the first in the neighbourhood. STUDIO HA/WA kept the railings visually open to maximize the views, but added planters behind the lounge chairs and sofa to provide some privacy while seated and add a soft layer of greenery.

Sofa, Armchairs, Poufs, lanterns, pedestal side table by Tribu from Avenue Road. Teak Coffee Table and custom bar/storage designed by Studio HA/WA by RDG. Photography by Lauren Miller. Styling by Me&Mo. Interior design by STUDIO HA/WA.

Ample seating allows for group gatherings and the furnishings light upholstery with teak frames warm up the pallet. STUDIO HA/WA designed a large-scale slatted teak storage unit/bar, which includes an integrated bar fridge and ample storage for cushions, covers, glassware and accessories when not in use as the space gets high winds with its close proximity to the beach.

A Balancing Act

Two key elements that the homeowners wanted to add to the main floor program were a fireplace and bar. Placing the two elements on either side of the dining room, —which is the centre of the home — creates a strong visual and physical balance in the space.

“We strategically placed the fireplace in the middle of the house (in the dining room, rather than the expected living room) along the south wall so that it could be viewed and enjoyed from the living room, dining room and kitchen while cooking, says Erin.

The reality of the bulkheads was a part of this house, we minimized them where possible and pushed them to the perimeter of the space. In the case of the fireplace, we placed the stone in front of the bulkhead to give the illusion of a full-height fireplace.”

Chairs by Coolican & Company. Table from Avenue Road. Chandelier: Noon 3 Pendant from Avenue Road. Fireplace and Bar Backsplash Stone: Calacatta Cremo. Photography by Lauren Miller. Styling by Me&Mo. Interior design by STUDIO HA/WA.

The other side of the dining room is balanced with the custom bar. The full-height white oak visually connects to the living room bookshelves and when you open it up the stone matches the fireplace stone mirrored on the other side of the dining table. “We designed it to feel like a special armoire cabinet with pocketing doors that look beautiful open but also can be closed up if a bit messy,” says Erin. “It is a hard working piece, but very functional without compromising on design.”

The small bar sink, drawer dishwasher, and storage for barware, glassware and a small selection of wine. Photography by Lauren Miller. Styling by Me&Mo. Interior design by STUDIO HA/WA.

A circular dining table with a chandelier above and locally designed and made chairs from Coolican & Co were chosen for a more natural way to move through the space and to the back of the house or up the stairs.

In one of the home’s 3 bedroooms, table lamp by Luminaire Authentik; bench by Atelier Arking; artwork by David Ellingsen, and a bed by RH. Photography by Lauren Miller. Styling by Me&Mo. Interior design by STUDIO HA/WA.