Names: Siena (a graphic designer) Charles (a professor) & Cale (their son)
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Size: 1980 square feet
Years lived in: 3.5
Siena is a Chicagoan who made the move to Toronto six years ago and went on the hunt for a modern space to call home. She and her family settled in a poured concrete townhouse and proceeded to make a very streamlined, sleek minimal city space work as a fresh, inviting, warm family home through the use of good design, lots of texture and the injection of art and plants...
In Siena's own words: We had a very difficult time finding anything modern. In Chicago the proportions are very different then the Victorian roots in toronto.
We found and now live in a townhouse that is attached to two tall builings called "Radio City". We bought in pre-construction and had a chance to make some choices before it was built. The building is poured concrete - white and concrete has been my motto. I find living in this home is quite cinematic. There are large windows at both ends of the house. The front is close to the street. I find it amazing to sit in my kitchen and watch the world. In the back I planted cold weather bamboo and after 3 years it's at 15 ft and quite amazing to watch grow year to year.
Our style: Clean, functional and neo-modern. I love white to be the gallery walls for our life. I grew up in Chicago warehouses so I’m always looking for the open spaces in our house.
Inspiration: The local quality of light, Toronto’s white brick mid-century modernism, and the blurring of public and private.
Favorite Element: The bamboo in the back patio that you can see through the stairs. I researched these for a long time, and they exceeded my expectations. I planted them 3 years ago at 2 feet tall, hoping for the best. On our first winter we were in Rome and I just left them with no protection. That summer we came back one had died, and on the rest the leaves where brown. I went to the place I had bought them (Fiesta Farms) and asked. They told me to get all the brown leaves off, mulch, and next winter put burlap around them. I did this and come April when it was time to take the burlap off they were 100% green. They are the first green of the spring. They are currently 15 ft tall and growing!
Biggest Challenge: Making a new development be ours. This townhouse is in the center of Toronto and part if a building called Radio City which was a collaboration between several of Toronto’s urbanists, architects, and developers.
What Friends Say: Many friends ask us where all of our stuff is.
Biggest Embarrassment: The acoustic implications of the floor finishes, extensive glass, and hollow core doors. The floors are engineered and paper thin, while the concrete and glass are reflective of the creaking of hollow core doors. The house photographs better than it sounds.
Proudest DIY: The built-in’s and the hidden desk on the second floor. These are standard Ikea kitchen cabinets and after many measurements and figuring we found the combination that fit. My whole office and all media equipment fit behind these.
Biggest Indulgence: Living in the center of the city and walking to work.
Best advice: Start with a clear, simple idea and stick to it the best you can. Stay positive!
(Thanks, Siena, Charles & Cale!)