Founded in the early 20th century as one of Toronto’s first planned garden suburbs, Lawrence Park has, over a century later, become one of the city’s most prestigious neighborhoods. It’s an area known for its parks, private schools, and traditional English architecture—think Georgian and Tudor Revival—as well as its access to Toronto’s scenic ravine system.
This home, with architecture by Richard Wengle Architect Inc. General and interior design by Cecconi Simone Inc., is being hailed as a “contemporary oasis” amongst the neighbourhood’s more traditional homes. The spacious, 8,657 square foot structure is designed to complement, rather than compete with, those neighbouring homes, many of which can be dated back to pre-WWII.
According to a recent press release by Cecconi Simone Inc., the home features a “quiet, restrained, and elegant design.” The firm approached the interiors with a focus on natural light and window views. And with a beautiful yard and pool, those views are, quite simply, divine — a tranquil respite from the urban bustle of Canada’s most populous city. “When you enter the front door, there’s a direct sightline that connects to the rear yard,” says Elaine Cecconi, principal of Cecconi Simone. “To reinforce that sense of space and connection with the outdoors, we have a continuity of finishes and lighting, inside and out.”
The firm describes the home’s interior material palette as “spare, light, and sophisticated.” The blonde wood flooring and back-painted white glass cabinetry in the kitchen (which conceals most appliances and a TV) are offset by a black, modular fireplace and details like hand-selected barn board accents. It’s a combination that results in a home that is “sleek, yet warm and inviting.”
Another reason for the choice of a sparse, pale palette? The family’s bold, colourful art collection. The high ceilings — a height achieved by a lack of bulkheads and the strategic choice to conceal the ductwork — creates a gallery-like feel throughout the main living areas.
These main areas are carefully delineated from the home’s more private spaces. “The homeowners love to entertain and wanted the house to reflect that, but they also wanted to create a sanctuary for their family of four,” says Cecconi. The “public zone” of the house features an entry area with closets, ideal for the family’s own storage needs, but also no doubt perfect when hosting many guests who come with many coats! The living room and dining room are open-concept, with plenty of space for entertaining — and an elegant grand piano, ideally positioned by the front window, is perfect for parties and the family’s shared musical interests.
Most notable in this space, perhaps, is the contemporary cantilevered wood staircase against the far wall. With its floating treads and glass screen railing, it maintains a low profile perfectly suited to the minimalist space. Above, a skylight floods the space with light, already bright and airy thanks to the massive wall of windows.
The home’s “private zone,” while still elegant, features a more relaxed atmosphere. The family room, a double-volume space, overlooks the yard and pool. Seating at the kitchen island allows for casual family time, while a separate table is perfect for sit-down meals. (And outside, a BBQ and dining area offer space for dining el fresco!)
These two zones, public and private, are separated by a pantry clad in warm timber board.
Upstairs, the master bedroom overlooks the backyard, while the children’s bedrooms feature ensuite bathrooms and walk-in closets. Downstairs, change rooms for the pool boast a spa-like atmosphere. Here guests will also find a gym, home theatre, climate-controlled cantina, and recreational room.
Finally, an additional room, one the firm describes as “part music library, part office” showcases the owners’ massive vinyl record collection.
“In the end, the home provides the perfect balance: it’s intimate when it needs to be yet generous in scale for entertaining; it integrates the interiors with nature in a seamless way,” Cecconi says. “The play of lighting creates magical spaces as daylight moves through the home to nighttime, when lighting is controlled with a programmable system, the home constantly transforms.”