Armstrong Avenue Residence
Originally constructed in 1912 as a dairy, this laneway building was converted to a residence in the mid 1980’s. The exterior has been basically untouched, allowing for the delightful experience that comes from the discovery of the contemporary light filled interior when compared with the raw, industrial exterior.
Over the years, subsequent owners have left their mark on this hidden gem, the most dynamic of which was to remove the roof of an auxiliary room to create an outdoor walled garden at one end of the living room. This new transformation was designed to emphasize the inside-outside relationship by completely opening up the end wall of the living room and infilling it with three large panes of glass, the middle one sliding. In order to blur the definition of inside-outside, the new exterior Ipe wood deck that “folds” up at the far end of the garden to become a bench extends inside the house, appearing to slide under the new windows, and then “folds” down to become steps in the living room. In addition, the stone on the side walls of the garden is also used inside on either side of the steps. Even at night, with the exterior brick walls illuminated, the garden feels like an extension of the living room.
The new kitchen/dining room has bamboo flooring, combined with bamboo veneer on the kitchen island, creating a sense of the island growing out of the floor. The island sits under a 4 foot x 8 foot skylight and is the symbolic centre of the house, a natural gathering spot for guests.
In selected locations inside, the gypsum board walls peel back to reveal the original brick walls behind. These incidents have been used to bookend the new blackened steel gas fireplace surround that appears to slide out from the kitchen into the living room.
Date of completion: 2008