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2016 in Review: Our Most Popular Stories

Looking back on our most-read features of the year


Fresh from analyzing our year-end web traffic, we present this list of our 10 greatest hits of 2016. Below, we count down the DL home tours, designer profiles and news stories that reached the biggest audience this year.

Shown above: a Rosedale apartment with plant-shop freshness.

Photo by Shai Gil
Photo by Shai Gil

10 A Summerhill Home Explores Outer Space
With outdoor spaces built off of almost every room, Skygarden House has the same close connection to nature as a country cottage. The residence gets its name from the sunny space shown above, a partially covered patio off the top-floor master bedroom. DL readers weren’t the only ones to fall hard for the dreamy oasis – along with being featured in our Annual Shopping Guide issue, the project was awarded an OAA Design Excellence award. Its architect, Heather Dubbeldam, also took home the acclaimed Prix de Rome architecture prize this July.

Photo by Naomi Finlay
Photo by Naomi Finlay

A Leslieville Brownstone Taken Back to the Future
This renovation by architect Luc Bouliane refreshingly bucks the Toronto tradition of boxy back additions. Instead, a gemlike structure grips the side of the existing house and angles outwards at the back of the property to introduce more light. The nonahedron’s dramatic angles and striking white-washed cedar and aluminum palette convinced us to make it the cover star of our Modern Renos issue. Given its distinctive design, it’s no wonder the home resonated with readers online as well.

Photo by Eric Mutrie
Photo by Eric Mutrie

The Top 100 Designs of IDS and TO DO
Each January, we award our custom Designlines Loves tags to the best products, installations and other cool stuff we spot during the Toronto Design Offsite Festival and Interior Design Show. Our master list of all 100 of our favourite designs includes everything from Tom Dixon’s custom Ice Kitchen made of Caesarstone to Castor’s copper-themed exhibition. Read our daily dispatch posts for the full rundown on what we tagged and why we loved it.

Photo by Naomi Finlay
Photo by Naomi Finlay

Tudor Revivalist in the Front, Zinc Box in the Back
At first glance, the Etobicoke home of blackLAB Architects principals Joe and Sarah Knight is not what you’d expect from the residence of modernists. But don’t be fooled – the property is full of surprises. While the front facade is differentiated by its traditional neighbours by only small details, the back is a boxy two-storey addition that includes a viewfinder-like frame around the dining room and kitchen. We loved the dramatic property so much we made it our spring issue cover star, and are glad to see it struck a chord online as well.

Photo by Naomi Finlay
Photo by Naomi Finlay

6 Cool Craftsman: Furniture Designer Peter Coolican
One of the five makers profiled in our spring issue’s This Creative City feature, woodworker Peter Coolican has gained a following for his made-in-Toronto seating with Shaker-esque minimalism. After a splashy debut at the Interior Design Show in 2014 with his Palmerston stool, Coolican unveiled the Madison chair pictured above last January. The handsome seat pairs a black-oak frame with a Danish-cord seat and has quickly become another Coolican classic.

Illustration by Taylor Kristan
Illustration by Taylor Kristan

Blue Steel: Hamilton’s Best Design Destinations
The buzz surrounding Hamilton was impossible to ignore this year. With hip stores aplenty, a hot art scene and even a poké restaurant, Canada’s fifth-largest metropolis is quickly transforming from steel capital into capital of cool. We had Hamilton resident Rachel Hawkes Cameron take readers on a tour of the city’s top hot spots – including housewares boutiques, vintage shops and must-try restos. Given her story’s position on this list, it seems many curious readers found her guide perfect for planning an exciting weekend getaway – no car required!

Photo by Naomi Finlay
Photo by Naomi Finlay

A Neo-Gothic Church Turned Cozy Home
Part of the charm of touring a repurposed church is seeing how features such as lancet arches and capital stones integrate into a home environment. Designer Alison Milne skillfully furnished this church-to-condo conversion with cushy textures and organic shapes that soften the pointy architectural elements found throughout the home. The standout touch: the custom walnut-veneer storage bed, tucked snugly under the steel-reinforced dormer on the fourth floor.

Photo by Naomi Finlay
Photo by Naomi Finlay

3 Why We’re Crushing on Harbord’s Orange Townhouses
Superkül‘s Oben Flats were another of this year’s OAA Design Excellence award-winning projects. The block of townhouses has quickly established itself as a new Harbord Village landmark thanks to its Tetris-like black-and-white brick facade. We toured a unit home to Kate Makinson – a PR executive with a rocker’s soul – who complements the premium finishes with energetic wallpaper and fun accents like a framed Bruce Springsteen photo. Her space is a perfect demonstration of how to inject personality into a modern environment.

Photo by Naomi Finlay
Photo by Naomi Finlay

In Rosedale, An Eclectic Balance of Raw and Order
After making the move from Brooklyn to Rosedale, the duo behind design firm Cmmnwlth set to work bringing a bit of hipsterville edge to hauteville. Their co-op apartment boasts a killer art collection, plus fun details like cast-silicon bronze door handles and a custom Stormtrooper radiator cover – sure to appeal to anyone who lined up to see Rogue One last weekend. But while personality is evident in these accents, the overall space is a blank canvas of white kept uber-tidy thanks to a sleek Bulthaup kitchen system, orderly Vitsoe shelving and six metres of closet space.

Photo by Naomi Finlay
Photo by Naomi Finlay

Scarborough Float Homeowners Embrace the Life Aquatic
Forget lakeside living. Go all in with a home that’s literally on the water. Built on barges, the float homes at Bluffer’s Park Marina are tethered to a dock along the shoreline of Lake Ontario. We paid a visit to two of the buoyant abodes, a bungalow and a two-storey family home, to find out a few of the unique challenges posed by a modern float home reno. Especially now that the ground’s covered in snow, clicking through photos of the retreats makes for a refreshing mental escape. Indeed, the community’s idyllic setting resonated with readers enough to make it our most-read story of the year!


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