/Get Inspired/Spaces

An Open-Concept Addition for a Growing Family

Architect Tim Wickens boosts floor space and functionality for a couple expecting twins

By Tabassum Siddiqui
Photography by Bob Gundu
Styling by Alanna Davey

When the owners of a cramped, never-before-renovated East York detached home learned they were expecting twins, logic said move. The dark, pre-war structure with its long front hall, formal front sitting area, small dining room, and kitchen in the back was not exactly family friendly. But the couple wanted to raise their kids in a neighbourhood they loved, and they realized renovating their current home would be more affordable than moving.

On a friend’s referral, they hired architect Tim Wickens, who had recently left a big firm to design modernist spaces without the frills. The couple believed he could meet their specs, and they gave him two tasks: Create an open, easy-to-live-in space with a south-facing addition that would essentially double their square metreage and let them watch over their kids. Modernize the rest of the house affordably and sustainably.

To meet the first challenge, Wickens knocked down east–west walls to create a single sightline and to transform the kitchen into the home’s hub. From there, steps lead down to the 55-square-metre addition, which contains the living room, an east-side mud room, and a patio out back. The foyer now opens onto a bright, white open-concept interior that runs from the dining area to kitchen. Wickens purposefully left the home’s front untouched to continue blending in with the neighbourhood.

To meet the second challenge, he chose cost-conscious materials (IKEA cabinetry, a white-tile backsplash and unstained red oak flooring) and used more expensive materials in high-value ways. For instance, the horizontal cedar siding (stained white) and James Hardie cement panel (painted black), which are used on the back of the addition and the side of the house, cost more than vinyl, but they are also durable – and provide necessary fire resistance. The polished concrete flooring would have been a splurge, except that it performed double duty as substructure and finish, and provides thermal mass for the passive solar heating and cooling system, thus retaining and releasing heat. Upstairs, the original house contains a master bedroom and bathroom; atop the addition, a spacious office complements matching bedrooms for the twins. Two kids. Two tasks. Two times the space. Mission accomplished on all fronts.

Originally published in our Winter 2013 issue as Twin Perks.

Categories: Spaces
Latest Tweets Follow Us
  • Designlines Magazine8 hours ago
    This Mississauga home brings the outdoors in: https://t.co/bhE5cfr4KP
  • Designlines Magazine12 hours ago
    Chicago architect Jeanne Gang shares her design for a daring new condo at Yonge and St Clair. https://t.co/VJ0q73cFgG
  • Designlines Magazine1 day ago
    Roadtrip out to Niagara, anyone? 🚗 https://t.co/Dd1JsSM7pA
  • Designlines Magazine2 days ago
    The Selby ditches the glass box cliché. https://t.co/waq3HZTaJ4
  • Designlines Magazine2 days ago
    The client saw potential in a former rooming house and sat down with architect Nelson Kwong to tackle the problem h… https://t.co/zr37xJi95L