Flow House, located in the central district of Toronto, is a semi-detached Victorian-era home that underwent a targeted renovation to meet the needs of a creative family consisting of a couple and their children. Designed by Dubbeldam Architecture + Design, this 130-year-old residence has undergone a significant transformation, including the addition of additional living space at the rear and top of the house, improved connections with outdoor spaces, and an update of the interior and backyard to reflect a contemporary lifestyle.
Despite its compact size (less than five meters wide with an added area of only 230 square meters), the house appears remarkably more spacious thanks to a skillful combination of compression and expansion. Narrow interstitial spaces contribute to a sense of intimacy, opening up to larger spaces with high ceilings that provide a feeling of spaciousness. The interior design offers moments of surprise and wonder, with a fusion of indoor and outdoor spaces, the introduction of natural light in unexpected places, and a playful attention to elements that gives the house an organic aura.
A key aspect of the design was a nod to one of the owners’ professions, a ceramicist. The idea of tactility and craftsmanship permeates the environment through the use of materials, shapes, patterns, and textures. The combined influence of Scandinavian and Mediterranean styles is reflected in white oak wood furniture, screens, and floors, paired with concrete and Carrara marble sinks, refined antique brass accessories, and handcrafted ceramic lamps. A white-based environment with walls and shelves provides a blank canvas for displaying a family collection of art, tapestries, and sculptures created by local artists, along with artifacts collected during trips abroad and the owner’s ceramics. Colors enliven the interstitial spaces of the house: herringbone terracotta tiles adorn the entrance, while a cerulean blue geometric tile wall defines the bar area between the kitchen and dining room.
The interior design features fluid lines, contrasting with the rectangular footprint of the house, giving the interior elements a sculpted rather than constructed appearance. The spiral staircase that connects all four floors is a focal point that expresses the sense of flow in the house, illuminated by natural light from the skylight, the sinuous railing, and natural oak steps casting shifting shadows during the day.
The team at Dubbeldam Architecture + Design embraced curved forms throughout the house, with arched openings between rooms sparking curiosity by anticipating views of what lies beyond. These elements marry with curved walls, display niches, the kitchen island, and bench, further emphasizing the sculptural approach of the entire project.
ARCHITECTS. Dubbeldam Architecture + Design @dubbeldamarch
IMAGES © Riley Snelling