Mini house - Project profile

Project Summary
- One bedroom 700s.f. stand alone urban infill home

- Loft-style design desired by client

- Sustainable elements to be included
- Gerrard and Coxwell area of Toronto

We met the client a year earlier to discuss questions he had about designing a 200s.f. pavilion on a piece of ocean front property owns. The project never materialized but the client called us when he wanted to buy a piece of property to design and construct his own home. The client found a piece of land in near Gerrard and Coxwell that suited his requirements. His vision was a compact, industrial Loft like structure to fit on the existing 14'X70' lot. Transforming the clients vision of a loft style environment into a compact fully detached home was accomplished through the use of 17ft ceilings, exposed plumbing and electrical elements, thoughtfully placed windows.

Incorporating sustainable elements while being conscious of budget was at the top of the agenda from the start. The client wanted to re-use several items from his existing loft including the kitchen and mini sauna. We also made provisions for the use of reclaimed materials from stage sets and other demolished buildings. We felt this would help play up the raw industrial feel while also keeping the budget under control.

Because of the existing 14'X70' lot this project required us to apply for a minor variance. (A minor variance is required when you are proposing to build outside the existing zoning requirements set up by the city for each property) After the design was conceptually complete we needed to make a formal submission to the City of Toronto for a couple minor variances (side yard, front Yard, lot coverage and distance to adjacent building). Unfortunately the day after we submitted to the city for these reliefs the city went on strike so our project was delayed by three months. Assuming that we would get the Minor Variances required we met and selected a builder early on so that we could get a project budget in place before we get to far into the project. Hiring a contractor at the beginning of a project is essential as we are able to take a look at several methods, materials and construction details that directly effect the budget.

After the city strike was over own hearing date was set for the minor variances. We presented our design to the city and the minor variances were approved- the project was ready to go. The city allows for a 20 day appeal period after their decision to allow for anyone in the neighborhood to appeal their decision. During this appeal period we submitted for the building permit in order to start construction as soon as the appeal period was over.

This brings up to today.


  1. It's amazing that it is actually possible to build new construction in Toronto without becoming totally house poor. You don't see a lot of "one-off" modern homes in TO.

  2. Very interesting. I'm looking forward to learn more about this project.
    - Marie