Reviews and recommendations are unbiased and products are independently selected. Postmedia may earn affiliate commissions from purchases made through links on this page.
It is common for modern homes to lack warmth and superfluous details to dominate. Eliminate the coziness and character of large, open spaces. Frank and Sandra Mongillo’s home in Don Mills, designed in a creative collaboration between the couple and Altius Architecture, offers a fascinating argument to the contrary.
Perched on the edge of a lush canyon, this home was meticulously designed long before the Monjiro family approached it. The Altius team, including co-principals Cathy Garrido and design team member Danya Sturgess. “My wife and I have renovated and built homes over the years, and we wanted this to be our last one,” recalls Frank. “We imagined everything down to the smallest detail, morning and night. Basically designed for our lifestyle, with the amenities and systems that matter to us.”
Their vision was to create a transparent and private home that welcomes light and views. I wanted to make it possible. Most of all, I wanted to have plenty of cozy corners and perches where I could lounge and relax alone.
Cutting-edge energy technology was also high on the list. Among other sophisticated features, a series of solar roof panels provide most of the home’s power needs. A rainwater collection system irrigates the landscaping, and its insulation and windows far exceed standards.
But the home’s biggest draw ultimately has little to do with its technical sophistication or smartly arranged layout. From the first sight of the front door to the graceful views from the expansive glass curtain wall facing the canyon, the feeling is that humans live here and enjoy life.
The front elevation is wide, but not imposing. It’s not a tiny house of about 5,000 square feet, but it’s not a mansion either. Located at the end of a circular driveway, suitable for accommodating guest parking needs or for unloading passengers under covered eaves, it is organized into three main volumes. Each side has a balanced composition of steel cladding over the main level facing cut sandstone. In the center, it rises all the way to the top and the expanse of wood and glass is clearly visible down to the treetops behind the house.
A trellis-like slat cut into the right side of the main entrance portico lets daylight into the main entrance (and rainwater into the small garden next to the main staircase) and expels the gloom that sometimes comes from the deep eaves. Open the door and the house opens like a book. Past the spacious front yard, his towering two-story embankment with Douglas fir-trimmed curtain wall offers the first bright view of the garden.
This main living area is the only truly grand space in the house, with 20-foot ceilings (a mezzanine with glass rails along one side leads to the upper rooms), a central Two-sided fireplaces are lined with polished basalt tiles. Solid white oak floor. All of these large architectural gestures are contrasted with finishing details that give a more abstract and natural feel. some kind of lightness.this is Most prominent in the lighting is a stylized dandelion clock, or perhaps a quintet of multi-branched circular pendants resembling hydrangea flowers. Their organic shapes are enhanced by Elte’s kidney bean-shaped sofa and planchette-shaped breakfast table at the edge of the kitchen.
Opposite the giant fireplace is one of several smaller, human-sized sitting areas in the home, providing a nice contrast to the more grand spaces. The ceiling drops to 8 feet on a more human scale and offers a view of your own framed garden. Stylized birds are flying over the hearth. Adorned with family and pet photos and designed to encourage you to stretch out and read, chat, or catch up on Netflix, these rooms are the architectural equivalent of woolen slippers.
Walnut, white lacquer, Brazilian A granite kitchen strikes a careful balance. It works equally well for catering a large party or preparing a weeknight dinner for one or two. “Designing a kitchen that works for one person or multiple cooks can be difficult,” says Altius’ Graham Smith. Put it in a tray so you have room to spread it out. ”
When it comes to design, kitchens have some of their own tweaks. The island ends with an inwardly curving wall facing a walnut that matches the undulating looking book. Across the kitchen is Elle featuring Strike and Strike. A pass-through to send food (or cocktails) to people outside.
During the warmer months, the backyard effectively doubles the footprint of the home. Designed for a couple and his friends to spend as much time here as they would inside. The fully-equipped outdoor kitchen – so fancy that almost any meal can be cooked there in the warmer months – includes a wood-fired pizza oven that’s a hit with the kids. Near the home, the covered dining area and lounge are accessed directly from the living room.
The middle section houses a second large seating area set on a raised porcelain tile patio next to a sparkling waterfall pool. Past here, the foot of the garden ends at the last cool lawn, blurring the line between the end of the property and the beginning of the gorge. And through walls of glass, from the main floor rooms to the indoor and outdoor rooftop lounges, the views of distant forests and hills can be infinitely varied from different angles and heights. the day and the season.
“What I love about this house is that it’s designed to do so many things, and it all works so well,” he said. Gallido of Altius. “this is It was designed to be a grand home for entertaining and it really works. But it’s also a cozy, intimate home for two. There is never an unused space in your home. ”