Harty House, Ontario / Atelier Sun

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Harty House, a suburban oasis, is a residential renovation project designed by Toronto-based design firm Atelier SUN. The design overcomes the challenge of converting a cookie-cutter builder home into a minimal and tranquil living space.

Located in Ajax, a city on the east border of Toronto, the house was built in the 1980s under the mass-produced development madness with excessive structural elements such as columns and beams in the space.

“It is such a challenging site. We were surprised to see seven columns floating in the middle of the ground floor within an 850-square-foot floor area. We had to incorporate the structural elements into the function and aesthetic of the design by minimizing the visual clutter of the existing condition and effectively creating a minimal and comfortable living experience,” Andrew Sun noted.

The foyer has a welcoming nook wrapped in wood panels, integrating bench seating, a shoe rack, and a closet, creating a cozy atmosphere at the entrance of the house. Adjacent to the foyer, a floating staircase becomes the extension of the millwork. A wood panel stair wall not only acts as a privacy panel that marries the structural support of the stair, but also becomes the canvas that captures the beautiful shadow casting off the steps.

In the living area, a central beam and column are wrapped by wood finishes, with bronze-coloured accent details at the top and bottom. This acts as a sculptural piece that frees most of the original load-bearing walls in the space. The living room and workspace are on one side of the open floor plan and are designed with wooden millwork, which integrates storage, display, and flip-down tables. The kitchen and dining areas wrapped with wood panels are located on the other side. Wooden pocket doors lead to the hidden pantry, a dog shower, and a separate entrance to the garage.

With a four-bedroom and three-bathroom configuration on the 2nd floor, the design is still able to capture the hospitable atmosphere in the space.

The emphasis on natural material, delicate details, and intricate craftsmanship throughout the entire space reconnects the owner to a calming and peaceful lifestyle.

Technical sheet

Project Name: Harty House
Location: Ajax, Ontario, Canada
Architect / Designer: Atelier Sun
Team: Andrew Sun, Cherie Yang, Nassila Oudahmane, Jacqueline Horne
Millworker: Gold Palace Woodworking
Stairs: D2 Woodworking
Contractor: Amazi Image
Completion date: August 2022
Photos: Joel Esposito
Area: 1700 sq. ft.

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