Tip Top Lofts

Next to a lakefront park and with access to an extraordinary park/trail system, and yet a short walk away from many of the city’s primary cultural, shopping, dining and sports venues, this 950 sf loft is in a renovated and expanded Art Deco building that has been an architectural landmark for more than 70 years. It was a perfect choice for a busy family medicine practitioner and medical educator.

After communicating his fondness for clean, orderly, intellectual, mid-century modern design, the doctor gave II BY IV Design Associates free rein to create the peaceful haven and welcoming entertainment space he craved. In doing so, they made maximum use of the spatial volume, while visually expanding it.

The only existing elements the designers retained were the back-to-back open kitchen and narrow bathroom, to which they added a custom vanity with white granite vessel basin, and marble cladding. Above these areas, II BY IV took advantage of the extraordinary ceiling height by creating a small mezzanine space, reachable by fixed ladder, which provides additional storage, a reading nook and a guest sleeping area. The charcoal granite kitchen countertop, white marble backsplash and translucent glass cabinet doors established a jumping off point for the serene palette used throughout the loft. Soft charcoal painted walls, marble clad millwork units and rich quarter-cut walnut were warmed and reflected in horizontal bands of clear and etched bronze mirror. The scheme was grounded by the strong graphical effect of the oiled walnut strip flooring.

In new partitions on either side of the bathroom, tall pocket doors with elegant hardware provide access from the living room and bedroom, which is separated from the entry hall by a wall of milky glass. That wall is centred on a full height walnut storage unit that provides double hanging, shoe organization and storage above on the hallway side and an integral dresser and double hanging on the bedroom side. Tidy, efficient and beautiful, that millwork unit, with its concealed hardware, like the others throughout the space, reflect the doctor’s minimalist preferences.

Against a sleek 10-foot tall, halo-lit, walnut headboard, the bed platform contains ample storage and is flanked on one side by a cantilevered white marble table and on the other, a white marble plinth upon which stand tall spindle sculptures by Dennis Lin. Grey menswear-style fabric covers the modern lounge chair and ottoman, set against the full height bronze-mirrored niche, while hot paprika bedclothes enliven the space.

The same ‘grey flannel’ fabric was applied to the chairs surrounding the Saarinen pedestal table in Nero Marquina marble, below a long, sculptural double pendant fixture of white Murano glass. The custom-made walnut and white marble console adjacent provides more than 15 feet of storage and incorporates a wine cabinet as well as a serving and display surface. Beyond the dining area, backed by the extraordinary view of the lake, grounded by a dark grey wool rug, and reflected in a massive 10 x 7 foot floor mirror, the Italian sofa units are upholstered in a more textured grey fabric. On the wall opposite, another long low, white marble-topped console conceals audio visual equipment behind walnut tambour doors. A large glass coffee table is centered under a dramatic, stainless steel and Carrera marble Arco floor lamp, one of the classics of modern lighting design. An Eames chair and black marble Saarinen end table complete this gracious and welcoming seating area.

A remarkable collection of striking modern paintings and photographs animate what is, in fact, the smart, welcoming and minimalist sanctuary the client has been seeking.

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