Flipped House | Atelier RZLBD
Photo credits: Borzu Talaie
Project team: Reza Aliabadi, Arman Azar
Structure: LHW Engineering Ltd.
Construction Management: HYZ Development & Construction Inc.
Architectural Photography: Borzu Talaie
Location:Ontario, Scarborough, Eglinton East
Basics:Two-storey wood structure
Lot: 5520 sqft / 513 m2
Living Area: 2300 sqft / 215 m2
The product of a gut renovation and second-storey addition to an existing brick bungalow on the south-west edge of the Knob-Hill Park in a residential neighbourhood in Eglinton East on the border between Toronto and Scarborough, Flipped House is a two-storey property designed for a developer looking to offer real estate buyers a modern, turnkey home in a neighbourhood dominated by more traditional architecture.
The project gets its name from its unconventional “flipped” layout. While a typical dwelling keeps all public-facing spaces confined to its main floor, with private areas like bedrooms sequestered upstairs, Flipped House instead adopts a configuration that divides its public and private zones on either side of a vertical plane. As a result, the home’s den, kitchen, dining, and living rooms are all located on its street-facing northeast side, while the house’s three bedrooms span both levels of the building’s more secluded southwestern end.
The home’s varying ceiling heights work to communicate this symbolic dividing line. The linked first-floor kitchen and dining room are double-height spaces, with the ceiling then dropping down to single-storey height as one enters the hallway moving towards the residence’s more intimate back bedrooms. Knotty cedar slats surround the linked kitchen and dining room, wrapping up the side walls and onto the ceiling above to create a sense of warmth and grandiosity — a feeling further heightened by the two skylights that top this atrium. Passing under this wooden ceiling feature is the second floor’s bridge corridor. Overlooking the double-height dining space to one side, and the kitchen to the other, this interesting architectural feature is used to emphasize the home’s secondary axis along its key circulation route. On the first floor, the base of this bridge is fitted with a long black light track that visually accentuates the linearity of the path it’s positioned along.
After crossing this bridge passageway in the upstairs addition, one arrives to a flexible family room. This carries on to a small wooden patio built atop the existing garage. At the bridge’s other end is an airy home office providing desk space for two. Moving southwest from here, the home again becomes increasingly private — one first enters the master bedroom, complete with a walk-in closet and his-and-hers skylights above the two nightstands, then turns a corner into the ensuite. A bathtub is given pride of place in the centre of the room positioned in front of a generous window, with the shower and water closet concealed in symmetrical niches at the room’s western end.