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The Globe and Mail

Inside the stylish update of a Toronto Special

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The bump-out/shaftlet (dark grey) is the sole addition to this 1959 Toronto Special, which formerly contained three separate apartments.

George Opreff

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The first floor living room. Note the original slotted-baseboard radiators: Once the decision was made to keep the radiator system, Paul Dowsett, the architect, argued that the other ‘dinky little baseboards’ everywhere else should be replaced with taller ones to match. ‘Everybody said it was a bad idea,’ says Mr. Dowsett, who eventually got his way.

George Opreff

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Not only does the new double-height space bring tons of light into the middle of the house to celebrate the dining area, it’s become ‘the hinge or the pin about which the rest of the house revolves’ says architect Paul Dowsett. A small strip of the bump-out/shaftlet has been painted bright red. ‘You can see it from the inside,’ explains the architect, ‘and red in dining rooms is very traditional and important.’

George Opreff

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The Mondrianesque feature wall in the kitchen, formerly a bedroom. Owner Jacquie Green has been told it’s a tad small, but she thinks it’s just right. ‘It’s a three-step kitchen: everything is three steps apart.” (The fridge is hidden under the blue stripe.)

George Opreff

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The “Mondrian” feature wall in the kitchen, which was formerly a bedroom. While Mrs. Green has been told it’s a tad small, she thinks it’s just right, and chefs she’s hired to cook at fundraisers agree. “It’s a three-step kitchen: everything is three steps apart.” (The fridge is under the blue stripe.)

George Opreff

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Detail of box bay windows and stairwell glazing: while there are new windows along the stairwell, sustainable.to ensured they mimicked the original pattern. Now, however, most of the glass is frosted, leaving only a transparent strip in the middle so, says Mr. Dowsett, “from any level you can see who’s at the door.”

George Opreff

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View of new, larger opening to the main floor. Original, and very groovy, staircase has been retained.

Dave LeBlanc

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