Robert Home Smith had strict rules about the standards of the neighbourhood, where the plans of every new home needed to be approved by his architects. His development ensured the natural topography of the land was maintained to create picturesque settings for each home. Also, with each house sold, the purchaser had to sign an agreement that the integrity of the designs would remain intact for 30 years.
Now, 100 years passed, the purchaser agreements have been lifted and the heritage status of the neighbourhood is still under study.
Arts and Crafts movement
The owners of this residence had an interest in the Arts and Crafts movement, and preserving neighbourhood character, so the architects worked to understand the underlying principles of the movement.
Beyond Medieval motifs, ornamentation, and a nostalgia for handcraftsmanship, they also interpreted the Arts and Crafts movement spatially.
The architects understood it to be about creation of immersive and enveloping spaces through rich, warm materials and tones and the overall sense of weight; also, organisation of an open floor plan into intimate sub-spaces, each organised around a specific activity and articulated through furniture built into a thickened wall.
Most of the house’s original exterior of stucco and stones from the local Humber river has been kept intact.
The architects focused on opening views to a back ravine by cutting a large double height slice in the west side of the home, adding an additional peak to the back façade.