This House Was Cracked Open To Let More Light In

January 26, 2015

Canadian architectural firm AGATHOM have completed the renovation of a home in Peterborough, Ontario.


From the architects

Reflections in Peterborough

Over the years, the owners of this bungalow in Peterborough had added two wings and cultivated a landscaped pond in the back accessed by a generous deck. Yet the 2,500-square-foot home was mostly closed off to this impressive little ecosystem, populated with frogs and butterflies, and the additions had created a labyrinth of disjointed spaces.


AGATHOM was brought on to renovate and reorganize the interiors, and to create a connection among them and to the outdoors, while also maintaining the home’s modest street-side appearance.

As many plans were possible, the clients were free to choose a preferred interior layout. Upon their decision, the most important gesture was to create a window wall at the garden, and position it on an angle that brings it – and the dining room beyond – closer to the outdoor setting.


Framed in Spanish cedar, the glazing is grand yet human-scaled. Most all other rooms were designed with a view through the glass, including the entrance and the living room. The result is a circulation loop and a cone of vision that connects one room to the next, and all to the pond.


The sunlit dining room is the pièce de resistance. Here, a portion of the roof was excised and a square section was dropped in at a raised angle. From the street, this architectural graft, glazed on its sides, is barely noticeable. But it transforms the back of the home, in scale, function and sheer virtuosity, by raising the window wall’s height, and linking the new to the old.


Made of fir, its ribs extend to connect it above the roofline to the other main addition: a white chimney tower that unites, while also separating, the living and dining rooms. Fireplaces were carved into either side of the tower – a raised one in the dining room, a low one in the living room that places the fire at one’s feet.


Throughout the home, the fine details tie the spaces together. Railings and millwork with recessed door handles are crafted in anigre wood; the floors are made of warm cherrywood, and the rooms are furnished with Danish pieces and custom-woven rugs.


Architect: AGATHOM
Photography: copyright Steven Evans