House in the Beach Drew Mandel

Three rectilinear glass-and-steel boxes update an unconventional 100-year-old beach house in Toronto, adding extra space and a sense of modern flair without compromising the structure’s historic character. Drew Mandel Architects sought to uphold the house’s “elusive quality of heart and soul” while giving the interior a total refresh.

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House in the Beach Drew Mandel interior
House in the Beach Drew Mandel living

The clients had lived in the semi-detached, three-story beach neighborhood house for 12 years prior to the renovation, and wanted interiors that feel in sync with their jet-setting lifestyle without adding a lot of unnecessary square footage.

House in the Beach Drew Mandel kitchen
House in the Beach Drew Mandel patio

The top-floor addition extends the living space upwards, providing a generous box window overlooking the sea. The lower box window frames the wood-lined interior and floating staircase, and opens the bottom floor to the light.

Another cuboid addition in the rear raises the living room ceiling and provides a connection to the garden, which the house was previously lacking. The result manages to meld beautifully with the original brick exterior, and retain a cozy feel.

House in the Beach Drew Mandel new facade

“The design of this renovation aims to update the house to better reflect the clients and how they live. The clients wanted the house to reinforce the existing fabric of the street by respectfully reinventing the exterior and the interior.bLooking closely at the brick lines relative to the right angle of the new box window in the image of the front façade, the house leans to (or years for) the lake. It is that sense of an ideosychrotic personality that defines this custom home renovation, as opposed to merely emulating a stylish boutique space.”

“Small moments strive to accommodate and celebrate the personality of the owners, the history of the house, and the process of its re-making: the open shelving for rotating personal objects of affection, the mobile kitchen island on wheels, the exposed steel support brackets at the junction of new and old structure, shop notes on the raw steel custom fireplace surround, old brick piers incorporated into the new entry assembly.”