Royal York House

The Kingsway, Toronto

Renovating a 1955 split level bungalow, we preserved a modernist gem from demolition, and transformed it into an ideal home for contemporary living.


The 1955 house had great bones: a zig-zag roof, a glamourous carport, cedar-paneled ceilings with exposed steel roof beams, and soaring windows looking out to a ravine with a river. Inside however, the house was cramped, dark, and lacked the spaces needed by a modern family.

To respectfully reinterpret the living spaces with a contemporary sensibility, we began by gutting the main floor. Removing walls allowed us to open the rear of the house to daylight and make way for an open concept kitchen, partially shielded from the living room by a stone fireplace. To create a new principal suite, we repurposed the house’s clumsy 1970’s garage addition, connecting it to a private patio with a walkway to the river. On the lower level, we introduced both light and ravine views by removing a deck that previously extended off the living room. 

Relocating the main entrance from the front of the house to the carport, we were able to offer weather protection without dramatically altering the house’s exterior. Similarly, new skylight openings and energy efficient windows, enabled us to draw in more daylight while preserving the house’s overall character.

It’s actually kind of amazing that we have this rambling space that’s actually not so big. What once felt cramped, now feels expansive, and it feels correct, without really feeling as though it’s all that different than what it was in the first place.

– Homeowner



Designlines – (July 2015) 12 Backyard Ideas from Some of Our Favourite Homes