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The Globe and Mail

Inside a neighbourhood-sensitive Toronto infill home

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A streetside view of the Scarborough home designed by Donald Chong of Williamson Chong Architects. Mr. Chong and the Williamsons are the winners of the Canada Council’s 2012 Professional Prix de Rome in Architecture, a prestigious fellowship for international travel and research.

Bob Gundu

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The three-level (plus basement) building is simple, but not dull, and it manages to be efficient and lovely at the same time. The attractive street-side façade is an open, right-angled composition of warm wood, tall windows and glass doors, with a boxy upper volume that floats over the sheltered concrete porch.

Bob Gundu

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In building the detached, 2,300-square-foot house for a couple with a small child Mr. Chong had to contend with some physical limits: there had to be a sizable setback from the street, the lot was only 25 feet wide, and, further hemming in the buildable area, a large, venerable Norway spruce stood in the midst of the rear garden.

Bob Gundu

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Impeccable woodwork, as in the kitchen here, is one of the hallmarks of Williamson Chong Architects designs.

Bob Gundu

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Instead of trying to cram the more public zones of this narrow house – living room, dining room, kitchen – into the entry level, the designer assigned cooking and eating to the first floor, and moved the living room upstairs.

Bob Gundu

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A long island includes, in one gesture, both the counter top and the dining table.

Bob Gundu

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To eliminate clutter, Mr. Chong has run a straight, continuous wall of wooden panels all the way from the front to the back of the house, then put everything behind it.

Bob Gundu

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Fridge, appliance garage, closets, storage cupboards, the air-conditioning ductwork are all hidden from view.

Bob Gundu

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A detail view of some of the kitchen woodwork.

Bob Gundu

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In houses snugly squeezed into the city’s residential fabric, lighting the centre bedroom is always a problem. Mr. Chong brightens this one by smartly tucking in the wall of the adjacent living room, thereby exposing the middle bedroom to a large influx of sunshine, and also making the shape of the living room itself more interesting.

Bob Gundu

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The house has three bedrooms, one in the middle of the second floor and another at the rear. The master bedroom occupies the third floor.

Bob Gundu

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