Christine & Tom’s Super Stylish (and Majorly Energy Efficient!) Family Home

published Feb 5, 2015
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Name: Christine & Tom of Solares Architecture
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Our home is in Toronto’s Roncesvalles Village near Dundas and Sorauren. We recently did a major renovation of it ourselves – we’re architects! We intentionally bought this house because it fit our criteria for a fully detached major fixer-upper in a family-friendly neighborhood. We love our little street! Our kids play with the neighbors and there’s a hidden gem of a city park just up the lane-way with a wading pool that’s never crowded. Having lived above a storefront for years, we especially love that we finally have a yard.

Our renovated home is a whopping 900 square feet for our family of four, which is divided between two floors. Our 450 square foot ground floor is a totally open living space with kitchen, dining and living room all in one. We didn’t want any columns dividing the space, so we used a steel structural beam to open the space right up. Our all-white interior feels spacious, bright and airy every day. We have a powder room off the stair landing and our shared family washroom is upstairs, along with two bedrooms and a playroom with vaulted ceiling for our kids. We can picture them swinging on a trapeze hung from the rafters in a few years!

When we designed our renovation, we were inspired to create a space that is smart (read: small space!), relaxing, beautiful, and the most energy efficient home we could possibly afford. We are sustainable architects, so we really wanted to put our money where our mouths are and make our own home a real showcase of what we can do. We did a Deep Energy Retrofit, which is basically lingo for majorly increasing insulation and eliminating air leakage. It was a huge success – we reduced our home’s annual energy usage by 84%! That’s equal to reducing annual greenhouse gas emissions by 15-tons! For all the nerdy details, check out our blog all about the house: Solares

Our favorite space is the open main floor (though we also really love our serene bedroom and the kids love their playroom). We do everything here! We regularly have friends over for dinners in the space, entertain neighborhood kids, and simply relax together as a family. Another space we love is the 450 square foot rental apartment we created in the basement – great tenants and monthly income! We actually dug out the basement so we could make the space as open and non-basement-like as possible. It allowed us to give the unit 8’-6” ceilings, in-floor heating, and amazing sound insulation to protect our tenants from the excited jumps and hollers of our kids upstairs.

We are so proud of the beautiful and comfortable family spaces we’ve created, and especially the huge reduction in energy consumption that we achieved.

For more info on the renovation visit the Solares blog.

Thanks, Christine & Tom!

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