Tear Down: Another One Bites the Dust

Tear-down syndrome might have abated in the U.S. due the housing collapse but it’s as prevalent as ever here in Toronto. This beautiful, 1960s Deck House on a large, lush lot backing onto parkland is destined for demolition once the sale closes in early August.

I say the house is beautiful and it truly is . . . inside and from the back. From the front it’s beyond nondescript showing itself to the world as a low-slung Ranch with nary a window, just a gated courtyard to break up the dull expanse of brick.

From the back it’s a whole other story, a gorgeous, three-tiered facade defined by walls of glass and the decks that give the house its name.

The yard was in deep shade the afternoon I took these shots but I think the image below gives a sense of how verdant and private the property is. This is my idea of paradise.

Inside, the home is brimming with artwork and fine Persian carpets. It’s colourful and tasteful but not especially “done” . . .

The buffalo head was an expensive impulse purchase and one of the defining elements of the living room. I love the way the owners have balanced the black hole of the fireplace with the TV, which sits at perfect viewing height.

A long, low bookcase separates the living and dining rooms without obstructing the sight lines.

Not timid about colour, the couple pushed the envelope in the dining room with this delicious raspberry sherbet shade.

Behind an adjacent wall the colour is echoed in the upholstery of a splendid, vintage divan, a perfect perch for the Fox Terriers who have called the house home.

Of course, the dogs don’t restrict themselves to the divan . . .

The Overman chair and Laurel lamp, below, are typical of the couple’s taste for good quality pieces while side-stepping mid-century modern cliches.

Artwork is displayed on every available expanse of wall.

The vignette below is the view from the bed in the master bedroom.

The art and fine carpets continue right into the master bath.

How incredibly sad to think that the whole thing will be dismantled and demolished before the snow flies again. A year from now a monster home will fill the lot reflecting the tastes of a developer catering to a much more showy and bourgeois clientele. And another piece of Toronto’s architectural history will be lost forever.

Be Sociable, Share!
, ,

Monday, July 4, 2011 by Chris
This post was written by - who has written 865 posts on styleNorth.

17 Comments For This Post

  1. Raina @ If the Lamp Shade Fits Says:

    You seem connected to this place? Friends or family of yours?

    Tear-downs are the rage here in Denver as well, fostered by high house prices in desirable neighborhoods and lax zoning codes. Older, more affordable neighborhoods are a mishmash of low-slung mid-century ranches and “scrapes” – towering faux Tuscan monstrosities that eat up every square inch of the plot.

  2. Clare Says:

    What a shame! At least the owners’ impeccable taste (and cute dog!) will go with them to their new digs. Love how livable this home looks.

  3. Nicola Says:

    Lots of greast memories will live on even when this entertaining friendly home is gone. Here’s wishing the owners can create something just as special where ever they go.

  4. Lois Says:

    Good morning. I’m the woman whom renovates homes and then sells them. This house is dated, parquet floors, heavy wood paneling, appliances probably not terribly efficient in energy, but I’ll bet one monster home is going up. Taking a drive along Mississauga Road last week, the HUGE home syndrome is well underway, the unfortunate part?…Lois of they all look the SAME???????

  5. Gus Says:

    This appears to be a major ravine lot with the existing structure built out and over the top of valley. The new owners/builders might be in for a surprise if they think they can do the same style of over the slope construction in the here and now. The laws of the land have changed dramatically with regard to setbacks, stable slope allowances, and valley preservation. It would be interesting to hear about and see updates on this one.

    I’m not sure if Lois is dissing the floors and panelling but combined with the brick, stairs, decks etc. this place is very 50’s-60’s playboy rat-pack lounge chic, and probably 100% real wood and thicker/stronger buiding materials than most of the current faux products that people modernize with now.

  6. Brixton Nole Says:

    Not sure if big house syndrome has subsided here in the US or if neighborhood associations and zoning officials are doing a better job of protesting the construction of “McMansions”. Here in DC we are seeing lots of pop-ups on row houses adding a 4th level on the roof.

    Someone who wanted a more modern look in this house could add some new flooring, replace the wood paneling with drywall and add more energy efficient windows/appliances ect. Its a beautiful house as is, sad to hear that it will be torn down.

  7. David Says:

    Faux tuscan monstrosities…ugh, they happen here too (many right in my neighborhood).

    Its a shame to think this house is coming down. I’d be interested in seeing it empty, my gut feeling is that a judicious remodel, rather than a tear-down, would result in something spectacular.

  8. Sandra Says:

    Living in Toronto it saddens me to see incredible homes torn down. This is a great modern home. Maybe not to everyones taste, but with updates this could be spectacular. Actually the flooring to me looks like an oak basketweave design, not parquet. Chris do you remember flooring details ?

  9. Marla Says:

    Ah, what a shame. One man’s “dated” is another man’s “classic”, I guess.

  10. Tim Says:

    I also think that the house has good bone and just need a facelift on the decorating side. True it maybe less costly these days to tear down then to retrofit … but you also may not be able get the same quality of craftsmanship on your rebuild. Afterall, houses go up a whole lot faster than they were and the shortened process may not be all attributable to the advancement in technology.

    The last picture of the house featuring the full glass windows was stunning! It hurts to think of such stunning feature will end up at landfill.

  11. stainless Says:

    no one’s even mentioned the buffalo head. LOVE the buffalo head! cute dog, too.

  12. jie Says:

    this house has very good bones, fantastic lay out, beautiful light. those floors are not cheap parquet (look closer at the picture with the divan). basket weave, probably oak. akin to the herringbone floors of paris apartments. sad to think that they’ll be replaced by something “trendier” (espresso finished hardwood. again. good lord!) or worse, laminate. i shudder.

    anybody who thinks this house is dated would probably say the same of chemosphere house, stahl house or fallingwater.

    a real shame.

  13. margo Says:

    This is a beautiful mid century modern home, it looks loved and lived in not cold like a lot of staged homes today. To b ad that it has not been sold to someone who appreciates the architecture and great bones, I would love to move my furniture in and would have no qualms about keeping the flooring as is.

    This is not a dated home it has stood the test of time unfortunately a lot of the younger people who are now appreciating mid century modern design, would not be able to afford a home of this size as it has a lot of square footage so up goes another faux Tuscan Mansion.

  14. Lily Says:

    The house could use some cosmetic updates, but nothing drastic. The architecture of the structure is pretty spectacular, and very modern houses are built to this style at very high prices. Unless there is something structurally unsound, there is no justification to demolish. That is a true pity.

  15. Rob Says:

    Ugh… I cannot stand the thought of another beautiful, architecturally significant home being torn down and replaced with, as Margo puts it above, by some sort of ‘faux tuscan mansion’. These new homes so often lack the integrity of desing and construction of the older, character homes they replace. This epidemic of the ‘nouveau riche’ building homes with more ‘style’ than ‘substance’ is rampant in my ‘hood (Forest Hill). This home could be stunning with a simple cosmetic facelift…

  16. Beth Says:

    I absolutely love this house. I don’t think it’s dated in the least. It’s a classic midcentury layout. They work so beautifully, open but not so much so that everything is on display at all times. I really wish people wouldn’t buy such wonderful homes just to tear them down in favour of building some neo-faux-chateau-mcmansion monstrosity. This is happening all over Oakville, where I live. It’s infuriating. We need to protect this style of architecture now before it all disappears.

  17. Dinika Says:

    Hi, Where could I get a long low white bookcase like the one here?
    Thank you.

1 Trackbacks For This Post

  1. small space living, tips for small spaces, ottomans, storage | Says:

    […] Source […]

Leave a Reply