Garden House

Roncesvalles Village, Toronto

Garden House was designed for a client who wished to remain in her neighbourhood while at the same time downsizing, modernizing, and making an artful contribution to the neighbourhood.


We designed the house to optimize its narrow lot and make a statement on a street lined with Victorian houses. Using an open concept layout, we applied several strategies to define rooms with flexibility and create an impression of spaciousness that belies the house’s small footprint. The breakfast room, with its large window, doubles as an indoor porch where the client can watch street life. Built-in seating in the sunken living room doubles as hidden storage and reduces clutter, and sliding glass doors to the backyard extend the interior space outside.

An open riser stairway with a skylight positioned above draws natural light into the heart of the main level, reducing artificial lighting demands. A library/office with floor-to-ceiling windows offering views of the mature backyard trees occupies the rear half of the second floor, and also provides access to a partial third floor housing the principal bedroom, with a modest three-piece bathroom and big windows.

The interior artfully balances the client’s love of colour, texture, and pattern with her need for neutral spaces to think with clarity and to display her books, art, and artifacts. A green accent wall brings a cheerful spirit to the entry vestibule and pops of turquoise on the inside of the kitchen cabinets delightfully surprise. The star of the show, however, is a LED bank along the staircase wall that enables the client to animate her wall with a colourful lightshow that spills out playfully to the street.


At night, pedestrians stop like museum-goers and take in the only contemporary house on the block. Neighbours from surrounding Victorians have even tacked notes on [the] front door: “To the pink-lit house: how did you do that?” The entire home is a light show, really, so to answer the curious [homeowner] might well respond: do your research, define your wants and choose the right architect.

– Alison Garwood-Jones, Designlines


Dezeen – (January 2015) LGA Architecture creates wood and cement home for a curator and her art collection
Globe and Mail – (September 2014) A modern home for someone more used to museums
Architectural Digest – (January 2015) Vivo en una GARDEN house /I live in a garden house
Designlines – (November 2015) A Parkdale Marvel Gets Glowing Reviews