FOREST HILL HOUSE | Reigo & Bauer
Photo credit: Doublespace Photography
Project Name: Forest Hill House
Location: Toronto Ontario
Area: 7,000 sf ( 650 m2)
Architecture & Interiors: Reigo & Bauer
Millwork Design: collaboration with Amantea Architects
Design Team: Stephen Bauer, Merike Bauer, Nuria Macias Fernandez, Kyle Brill
Structural Engineer: Blackwell
Millwork Fabrication: Gibson Greenwood
Construction: Stockridge Construction
Photography: Doublespace Photography
To refurbish an existing home in Forest Hill, Toronto, local firm Reigo & Bauer implemented a complete renovation and interior design that brings together the home’s formerly diverse areas, modernizing them functionally and aesthetically. Reigo & Bauer has imbued a thoroughly contemporized space with subtle references to traditional design elements culminating in an interior that feels modern, dynamic, and livable.
Reigo & Bauer engaged long time associates Amantea Architects to take the lead on the built-in millwork elements throughout the house, as well as to design the new exterior landscape and pool pavilion. Their tight working relationship on the interior provided seamless integration of millwork with the architectural language. The collaborative approach to project delivery enabled the team to produce a cohesive design both inside and out.
The major interior architectural change is the installation of a central curving staircase with open risers that provide longer sight lines through the main foyer, which replaces a traditional closed rectangular stair. In two sweeping runs, this sculptural staircase binds together the rooms of all three floors around a single gesture that expands both tread width and overhead clearance.
At the rear of the primary, the designers repositioned a powder room and took out a dividing wall along the boundary of a small elevation change. An almost unbroken expanse of windows onto the backyard is provided with this alteration, where landscape designs by Amantea Architect complement the changed elevation feature, the designed staircase element onto the patio, neatly connecting inside and out. The move also widens the views from the lowered family room to the breakfast area, greatly improving the overall feel of openness and connection while a new wet bar, backed by a low bench, creates a visual barrier between the family room and kitchen.
Other structural modifications consist of introducing a two-car garage in place of a formal dining room, and the combination of a living room and study into a more flexible living-dining space attached to the family room via a new doorway and stairs. From its position between the living room and steps to the family room, the dining area forms a transition between programmatic zones while capitalizing on sightlines that give it a vantage point on various areas of the main floor. On the second floor, meanwhile, the designers divided a shared bathroom into two separate private bathrooms and reconfigured the master bath and walk-in closets.
The installation of the garage and revamping the main entryway and second-floor bay window also provided an opportunity to make aesthetic updates to the facade. The ground-floor masonry that flanks the entrance now goes on to the roof line, replacing stucco, while the bay window’s soffit and flashing now match the new garage’s blackened zinc cladding and doors.