A Toronto Victorian By Dubbeldam Architects Morphs Into Modern

The owners of this 100-year-old character Victorian decided it was time for an update, so they enlisted the help of Dubbeldam's Architecture and Design Studio to give it a fresh makeover.


Photography Courtesy of Shai Gil


Located in Cabbagetown, Toronto, the goal was to create a contemporary residence while respecting the historic streetscape of the neighbourhood. To achieve this, the front façade of this classic Victorian residence was preserved while the rear was blown out into a series of modern glass cubes, resulting in a refreshing innovative living space.



Photography Courtesy of Shai Gil


Like most Victorian dwellings, the long corridors and lack of windows made this house feel dark and narrow. The owners desire for more natural light was achieved with the addition of floor-to-ceiling glazing and an expansive skylight positioned over an open staircase. The result? A gorgeous sun-drenched lively space bursting with a renewed vigour.

The kitchen, on the lower level, features a low-maintenance deck garden, encouraging the owners and guests to spend time outside during the warmer months. This maximizes the use of outdoor spaces and further opens up the home’s concept and design. There are also innovative storage solutions that were worked into the renovations, which maximize the use of indoor spaces.


Photography Courtesy of Shai Gil


In addition to an accessible sheltered roof deck, that feels like a tree house nested atop the neighborhood, the master bedroom on the third floor has an open walk-in closet concealed behind the bed wall, which creates plenty of space for both owners' wardrobe.

Neutral colour palettes were also used throughout the rooms to make the original long and narrow house appear lighter, while emphasizing the artwork and furniture pieces.


Photography Courtesy of Shai Gil


To reduce energy costs, sustainable elements are used throughout the property, with renewable Jatoba wood on the floors, glass-walls on the south-end of the house, which increases solar gains in the winter, and operable blinds, which act as shades during the summer.


Photography Courtesy of Shai Gil


Honouring the owners request that they recover their investment should they ever decide to sell, the architects had to deliver a high-style space on a limited budget. Incorporating standard products - like Ikea cabinetry - with sustainable materials gives the impression of custom millwork and finishes at a fraction of the cost. The end result in a crisp polished look with a nod to economy.


Photography Courtesy of Shai Gil


Want to learn more about this amazing firm? Visit Dubbeldam Architects to view their incredible portfolio. 

Interested in reading more Victorian renovation projects? Here's some links to previous houseporn.ca features:

Lady Peel’s Old House Reinvented In Downtown Toronto

A Toronto Residence Gets Comfortably Chic


Researched and Written by Ulama Hassan, an undergraduate student at OCAD University in the Environmental Design program.

Posted In: Ontario

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