Ex­er­cise in De­sign

Ar­riz Has­sam and Altius Ar­chi­tec­ture team up to build a home of equal parts rest and re­cre­ation

Designlines - - Contents - BY SI­MON LEWSEN

Altius Ar­chi­tec­ture and Ar­riz Has­sam join forces for a high­per­for­mance home

WHEN AN AC­TIVE FAM­ILY of hockey play­ers, dancers and gym­nasts de­cided to build a dream home in 2013, they en­vi­sioned an equally high-per­for­mance de­sign. Amanda and Ryan, a pro­fes­sional cou­ple with three chil­dren, wanted a house that would be tough, but also grace­ful and nim­ble like an ath­lete. So, they hired the guy who de­signed their favourite gym: To­tum Life Sci­ence on King Street West, an airy, split-level con­cept with warm, tac­tile wood floors. They hoped Ar­riz Has­sam, prin­ci­pal at Ar­riz + Co., would bring that same breezy sen­si­bil­ity to their five-bed­room house, an orig­i­nal build in Lea­side.

Cathy Gar­rido, a prin­ci­pal at Altius Ar­chi­tec­ture, de­signed the over­all struc­ture, a sturdy, ironspot-brick box with Douglas fir sof­fits and an 85-square-me­tre kitchen and liv­ing room. “When you have a big, wide-open floor plate,” she says, “you must ask your­self: ‘How do you cre­ate a sense of un­fold­ing – a sense of sur­prise?’” To achieve this ef­fect, she en­vi­sioned the front foyer as a sober an­techam­ber that opens, dra­mat­i­cally, to the main house.

Within this ex­pan­sive area, Has­sam used natural ma­te­ri­als and un­ob­tru­sive fur­nish­ings, which de­mar­cate re­gions with­out cut­ting them off from one an­other. The liv­ing room – which is de­fined, in part, by spindly tan-leather chairs and a cus­tom daybed – can over­flow into the space be­hind it, a bar area that aligns with the mar­ble kitchen is­land. “All of a sud­den, what was an in­ti­mate space can be­come a grand space,” says Has­sam. Al­though the fur­ni­ture is low-slung, the built-in cab­i­netry is tall and thin, ac­cen­tu­at­ing the 3-me­tre-high ceil­ings.

These elon­gated forms ap­pear through­out, in­clud­ing in the mud­room at the side en­trance, where each fam­ily mem­ber has a mill­work “locker” for hel­mets, cleats and hockey sticks.

Amanda and Ryan wanted a wheelchair­ac­ces­si­ble home – an in­creas­ingly com­mon re­quest – so they wouldn’t have to ren­o­vate or move should their needs ever change. Ac­ces­si­bil­ity, says Gar­rido, isn’t just a mat­ter of in­stalling an el­e­va­tor, al­though she cer­tainly did that. It also means build­ing gra­cious, even floor plans. The ground level is en­tirely at grade for a seam­less tran­si­tion be­tween in­doors and out­doors. And the wra­paround sec­ond-floor land­ing is 1.5-me­tres wide at ev­ery turn. Ac­ces­si­ble space, it turns out, is also beau­ti­ful. “Ev­ery­one should have wide hall­ways,” says Amanda.

In keep­ing with the “high-per­for­mance” theme, Has­sam’s ma­te­rial pal­ette is time­less and durable: white walls and white oak floors grounded by dark ac­cents, in­clud­ing a soap­stone bench in the liv­ing room, touches of grey slate and, for the kitchen backsplash, mo­saic tiles by Span­ish de­signer Pa­tri­cia Urquiola. The main at­trac­tion, though, is natural light, which streams in not only from the floorto-ceil­ing win­dows but also from the 7-me­tre­high atrium above the din­ing-room ta­ble. Sun even reaches to the base­ment – which, of course, in­cludes a state-of-the-art gym – via a con­crete light well. Has­sam and Gar­rido were adamant that no sin­gle room would be cut off from the light flow. In­cred­i­bly, they achieved that goal. “De­sign,” says Has­sam, “is an ex­er­cise in ex­cel­lence.” Spo­ken like a true cham­pion.


The land­ing over­looks the front foyer and a 3.6-me­tre­long ta­ble by Heidi Earn­shaw in the din­ing room. Sculp­ture by John Paul Robin­son. A Flos wall lamp from Lightform stretches to the mar­ble-topped is­land. Hexag­o­nal tiles by Cer­a­gres; white oak...

 Ma­hogany and zinc pan­elling ac­cents the black brick-clad Lea­side home. Loewen win­dows; land­scap­ing by Earth Inc.

A graphic Stone Tile backsplash and jet black Cooli­can & Co. stools pop among the sub­dued Al­ba­tross mill­work and Cala­catta mar­ble-topped is­land. Brass Tom Dixon pen­dant from Klaus.

Stone Tile lime­stone runs from the floor up be­hind the van­ity. Mjölk ac­ces­sories echo the ma­hogany trim around the win­dows.

Wall sconces from De­sign Within Reach light the mas­ter bed­room. Bed and night­stand from Ur­ban Mode.

A slid­ing door from Loewen leads out to the Solda pool.

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