Surgical Precision Marries Minimalism With Tradition in Baby Point

Truly laudable homes are not the McMansions of obscene scale, nor are they houses that boast exotic materials and bastardized classical elements; they are those whose existence are thoughtfully composed to consider context and add to the local architectural patchwork as it unfurls. Nearly bound by the meandering Humber River and nestled within the tree-lined streets of Baby Point – the picturesque west-end neighborhood of Toronto, Canada – sits a stately residence exemplary of contemporary intervention with care. The addition and subsequent renovation by Reflect Architecture demonstrates the difference deference can make when approaching projects, leveraging context for clear articulation of contemporary design.

A modern entryway with built-in bench and coat hooks reflects sleek architecture, while a pair of shoes rests on the floor and stairs lead up to another room.

A modern interior with white walls and cabinets reflects contemporary architecture, featuring a built-in seating nook with hooks, and a view of the dining area through a doorway and steps.

Modern kitchen with marble countertops, black bar stools, and a built-in dining nook. A child is seated at the dining nook in one of the photos, reflecting the architecture's family-friendly design. Large windows bring in natural light.

Unassuming in its exterior, the family home sits in the apex of a crescent creating the ideal vantage point to maximize vistas on three sides while arborvitae shield the inhabitants from the potential voyeurism of passersby. It is not until the corner turns that onlookers get a glimpse of Reflect’s contemporization. At the homeowner’s behest, the firm proposed something cheeky tempered by a series of pragmatic solutions. “There was this request to do something a bit sneaky and so we skewered the back corner of their house with this glass box,” says principal architect Trevor Wallace. “They mentioned that they didn’t want anyone to see what had been done until reaching that part of it, eliciting an ‘oh my God, wait, what’s that?’”

Modern kitchen and dining area reflecting architecture with a marble kitchen island and black bar stools. The space features large windows, dark flooring, and a harmonious mix of light and dark furniture.

Reflecting contemporary architecture, this modern kitchen features a marble island countertop, three black bar stools, dark wood flooring, and minimalist pendant lights.

Of the existing structure – a conventionally arranged, central hall plan – very little is new build while the majority is revitalized interior architecture. The ground floor boasts holistic change without any manipulation to the boundary through a series of transformative gestures that relieve the structure of its previous inefficiencies and incongruities. Edits include the elimination of an unused, internal garage to make way for a new entry sequence in counterbalance to the traditional, formal foyer; a reorganized kitchen, cafe nook, and dining space to serve as a the home’s nucleus; reconciliation of the elevated main floor with the surrounding landscape; and a new projection to house a relocated primary bedroom.

A modern dining room reflects sleek architecture, featuring a long black table with eight matching chairs, a large hanging light fixture, and floor-to-ceiling windows. A framed photo hangs elegantly on the white wall to the left.

A modern kitchen with light wood cabinets, a marble island, dark wood floors, and a large window that reflects the architecture of a snowy outdoor scene.

A modern kitchen with a marble island, black pendant lights, and a large window reflecting a snowy outdoor scene. Two children are blurred in motion near the cabinets, bringing life to the contemporary architecture.

The new, two-story glass volume is of particular visual interest, enclosing a sunken dining room and bedroom above, with an extension expertly sutured into the existing roofline. In a peek behind the curtain, the new dormer peels back the sloped surface along careful incisions to reveal an elegant minimalist space underneath. A subtle material language of cool brick and stone cladding distills what might otherwise be an act of architectural aggression.

Modern dining nook with a white table, grey cushioned bench, wooden chairs, and a chandelier that reflects architecture. A baby sits on the bench, and a black and white photo decorates the wall above.

A modern bathroom with a round mirror and sink reflects sleek architecture adjacent to another hallway with a staircase and a walking child.

The slightly Scandi interior is introspective, considering new modes of habitation for the evolving modern family, as well as a means for traditional and contemporary design languages to exist in dialogue. The new deep, rich oak floors are anchored in the home’s original tone and texture while monolithic stone slabs and polished concrete impress upon the need to look forward. The traditional architecture’s inherent symmetry and established terminating views are thoughtfully deployed to maximize sight lines created by minimalist geometry.

Modern living room with a lit fireplace, a wall-mounted TV, and a large curved light fixture. A sleek white coffee table and brown leather lounge chair reflect the architecture's sophistication. Large glass doors open to an exterior view.

Modern bedroom with large windows, a white bed, and a gray chair with a floor lamp. The windows reflect the snowy outdoor landscape with trees and neighboring houses, creating an elegant blend of architecture and nature.

Moments of subversion allow for new perspectives while pointing out that which is often unnoticed. The new grade level mudroom entry creates an alternative longitudinal arrival sequence through thick thresholds that become liminal spaces spanning small lengths of the house, transecting the central axis. And a parallel transverse axis connects intimate spaces together along the rear of the home in a series of dramatic vignettes. Juxtaposition and the careful threading of elements in contrast yield a much greater return on investment than the promise of any new build construction.

A minimalist hallway with light wood paneling reflects modern architecture as it leads to a cozy room featuring a gray rocking chair, large windows, and a bathroom with a sink and mirror on the right.

Modern bathroom with a double vanity, backlit mirrors, and sleek faucets. The light-colored cabinetry and walls reflect architectural elegance, creating a clean and minimalist look.

A modern shower room with two glass-enclosed shower stalls, each exemplifying Reflect Architecture’s signature style, equipped with a rainfall showerhead, handheld shower, and a niche with toiletries. A towel hangs on the wall between the stalls.

“Knocking everything down is just not a great solution,” Wallace says. “But very carefully nuancing and operating with more of a scalpel, interventions such as this allow beautiful old projects and buildings to exist on the landscape giving them a whole new life without having to be demolished.”

A modern bedroom featuring a custom wooden wardrobe with sleek black handles, large windows that reflect the stunning architecture of snowy trees outside, and a staircase leading to a lofted area.

Modern home interior with a wooden rowing machine in the foreground, glass-walled room on the right reflecting architecture details, and a blurred figure descending a staircase in the background.

View of a modern dining area with large windows reflecting the architecture, a wooden table set for a meal, and a person sitting at the table. A minimalist light fixture hangs above. Snow is visible outside the windows.

A modern glass house with two stories reflects the elegant architecture, illuminated from within during dusk. Snow covers the ground outside, and several people are seated around a table in the lower level.

Two people are seated at a dining table inside a modern house with large glass windows, reflecting the sleek architecture. Snow covers the ground outside, and the surrounding trees are bare. The house has brick and glass exterior walls.

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Photography by Scott Norsworthy.

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