The Walmer Loft by Dubbeldam Design Architects

December 10, 2009

Dubbeldam Design Architects have converted a space inside a historic home in Toronto, Canada, into a contemporary residential loft.

Full description after the photos….

Photography: Tom Arban

The Walmer Loft by Dubbeldam Design Architects

Overlooking Toronto’s historic Casa Loma Stables, this 1920s duplex was converted from a group of small, dark rooms into a graphic designer’s residential loft. The renovation was designed to retain the charm of the building’s historic exterior, while transforming its interior for contemporary living with clean lines, open space, increased natural light and specifically framed interior and exterior views.

Most of the interior walls were removed and the living room ceiling was opened up to the roof rafters, creating a double-height loft space that feels much larger than its modest floor area. A mezzanine was inserted to create a private zone that can be accessed by a floating mahogany stair with a light steel railing. Small windows were enlarged to infuse the space with natural light, and a large two-storey window was added to frame a view of the stables and to give the feeling of floating in the tree-tops. Built-in elements such as the fireplace and custom-designed display areas create a sense of division in the otherwise open plan, and frame curated views that allude to the owner’s artistic outlook.

A balance between warm and cool is achieved through the material palette and finishes. A merbau engineered wood floor and custom mahogany cabinetry, contrasts with crisp aluminium windows and limestone sills, back-painted glass walls in the bathroom, and smooth honed slate counters and stainless steel in the kitchen. The stair is designed with a solid wood base landing that gives the feeling of stability, while a light steel structure and railings hold thin treads with open risers that allow interrupted views through to the rest of the space.

The owner’s Asian heritage is reflected in the interior’s warm red woods, white walls and crisp geometric lines, providing a clear backdrop for the owner to showcase his collection of Asian art and artefacts and classic modern furniture.

Through the creative planning of the renovation, the initially small, dark and cramped apartment was made to feel larger, open and more spacious. Although this was an interior renovation of an existing space, the actual square footage was increased by the 400 sq. ft. new loft area in the attic, creating new rooms where none existed before without extending the footprint on the property.


Architect: Dubbeldam Design Architects
Architect Team: Heather Dubbeldam, Tania Ursomarzo, Alex Lam, Katya Marshall
Size: 1,650 s.f.
Contractor: M+K Construction