Charming Canadian Homes: No. 1, A Delightful Colonial Type
ANNE ELIZABETH WILSONMay11925
Art and Decoration for Town and Country Homes
Charming Canadian Homes: No. 1, A Delightful Colonial Type
ANNE ELIZABETH WILSON
ONE of the most enchanting houses I have ever seen is that greywhite stucco Colonial which stands on the crescent of Heathdale Road, Toronto. It is a white house, and yet as you approach it, you are suddenly
aware of color. Your heart has first been taken unaware by shutters of pale apple green (as you look closer you will discover the delicate cutting of a bird in their upper panels) while the chimney, branching up the side of the house from a sill-high base wall, is fashioned of that soft-tinted rock called ashler.
There, in warm browns, tender greys, blues, greens and mauves, it goes climbing up the grey-white east wall to a slate roof as manytoned and soft-hued as itself. It is an effect that makes the sober passerby think of spring, for perhaps the most predominant shade of all is that tender apple green.
Against the neutral stucco of the house proper, the ivory finishing of the dormers and porch, this elusive contrast of delicate. color is one of the most refreshing and charming imaginable. .
The house is a most alluring example of that Colonial type which can be so admirably carried out in Canada. It is the work of Maurice D. Klein, the Toronto architect, and was designed by him some five years ago for James Lawther.
As one enters, the first feature of construction to catch the eye, is the porch of delicate Colonial treatment—the slender columns, dentil course, and shaped pediment.
Within, the practical architect calls attention to a vestibule finished on left with a concealed coat closet. Room for all this without usurping an inch of necessary space, is provided, we found later, by the arrangement of the stair landing, directly above.
Going into the hall, one looks across its moderate depth directly through a paned door into the garden. The house has been especially designed to utilize the beauty of its backgrounds—an ideal ravine vista, and every downstairs wall facing it has access to the garden and flagged porch, by means of French windows or doors. For this reason, the dining room and living room both give upon the back garden. and the kitchen has been ingeniously arranged at front. But more of this arrangement later.
HT HE living-room at right of entrance is a spacious and delightful room, sweeping from its window opening on the front lawn to its sunny doors on the back ravine. Opposite the entry, which is simply hung in chintz portieres without doors of any kind—stands the broad fire-place. Along the fire-place wall on either side, the most interesting detail has been worked out in the construction of the house itself—low book-cases and vase niches beneath casement windows. There is light from every side of this room, for the brightness of. the hall door opening on the back garden gives light even into the living-room.
Across that square-hall, facing the rear, is the simply-panelled dining room. Here, too, doors open upon the flagged portico of the ravine garden, and light pours in through long casements.
But into the hall again, the homebuilder finds new delight in the quaint two-storey effect of the stair—the turned balusters and graceful hand-rail; the newel-post with its decorative knob, all of gum-wood in light walnut finish.
And at the foot of the stair is a door— that is what I meant when I told you I should have more to say about the ingenious arrangement of the kitchen.
In Praise of Service Passages
'' I''HAT door at the foot of the stair
*opens upon a service passage of many possibilities. It is this little passage which at once eliminates the unpleasantness of
the kitchen’s too close proximity to the rest of the house, yet connects it by a few steps with the dining room; which still provides yet another access to the back grounds and garage. Here, too, sits the ice-box, convenient alike to the iceman who enters by the said back-entrance without tracking through the kitchen—or to the member of the household who may wish to utilize the larder for a late supper or some private concoction. From this passage the quiet tea wagon may be wheeled directly across the hall into the
living room opposite. I have found, by the way, that the introduction of these little service halls is the darling feature of Mr. Klein’s heart. So, we say, must they be of every housewife’s!
■ The finishing of the kitchen is admirable for convenience. Everything is in white enamel, and built-in cupboards, a broom-cupboard and ironing board, an electric switch to the water-heater below and an electric range,' make it convenience and completeness themselves. Its main window is of course uniform with
the other fronting casements and is curtained accordingly. Side windows insure ample ventilation.
the graceful stair, one comes to a window landing,
and a few steps above, the square upper hall. “The Master Bedroom” at right is a master bedroom indeed. Like the livingroom below, this gorgeous room—gorgeous in light, space and fresh color, claims the entire depth of the house, with light on three sides, and the sweet air blowing through from three windows. By a glass door, it opens at back upon a heated sleeping porch or sunparlor. It has two spacious closets, one on either side of the porch door, equipped with shoe-racks, hangers and one full-length mirror. Directly opposite the door is the fire-place which has convinced me that I shall never be happy until I own its mate—or perhaps the • setting for its mate. It is simplicity itself, quaint brick facing and white wood trim with plain brackets and shelf, but I think it must be the inviting lowness of the mantle, the lovable casements, and the cool, dainty light-blue alabastene walls that make all so attractive. The room owes much to its furnishing as well, ivory white enamel with a piece or two of rich wicker ... a wooly habitant comforter of soft shadow on the low-poster bed, chintz at the sunny windows, and a few deep-knapped and low-keyed orientals on the polished hardwood underfoot.
In the upstairs center hall is the master bath, fully equipped with porcelain and vitreous china fixtures, built-in bath, shower and attractive tile floor, with walls finished to window-height in Keene’s cement blocked off in the shape and enamelled — plaster .above is also enamelled.
Two bedrooms still remain at left, a small front chamber and another overlooking the ravine garden. Between these two, rejoices a linen cupboard of ample dimensions in which drawers, trays and racks delight the eye of the house-wife. And to the right of it stands another of those mysterious doors'.
What might he just another convenient closet turns out to be the passage abovestairs to a roomy third storey. The beauty of this arrangement is that the third storey is thus completely shut off from the rest of the house, and detached from the main square hall and stair which remains still unmarred by an overhanging flight and so preserves its features of light and space.
The third storey furnishes two additional chambers, a bath and trunk-room, while the dormer windows give a cozy effect and provide an astounding amount of light and air.
In fact the whole house is unusually well-ventilated with not a cheerless or unlighted corner anywhere. Surely the health-loving homemaker will rise up and call that blessed.
Some Interesting Details
OF COURSE anyone can have a house —but it is the unexpected little original touches that give any house the inspiration to become a home. Houses, like babies, flowers and pets, respond to loving forethought. For instance, those book-cases and vase niches of the living room are lovable details. Y ou will see that the line of the fire-place is Tudor. It has that graceful flattened-peak arch with which our beauty loving ancestors sought to modify and yet preserve the gracious Gothic for their less ample uses. This peaked curve is carried out in the low niches on either side, between glassed-in book shelves. These spaces are tinted in lighter tone than the walls themselves, which above the panelling, are of the natural stucco, and so furnish the most charming light neutral background for • vases or any object of dark hue and interesting pure line. It is a pity that any comfortable furnishing of the room mpst
of necessity hide these original bits to
some extent, but one catches happy
glimpses of them from time to time.
And the windows—there is something
unusual and beautiful about them of
which it took me a long time to discover
the cause. I found at last that it was the
absence of wood trimming anywhere
around the frames. Except at the sill
or “stool” they are absolutely plain.
Around them the plaster itself has been
turned smoothly in, adding a finishing
effect of clarity of line and simplicity that
is delightful. The casements all open out so that curtains may be attached to each frame and screens made stationary without. The shutters are adjustable as blinds, louvred for ventilation and regulation of light. The size of the windows in the upper floors is uniform, and so a standard size of curtain is possible and the curtains themselves interchangeable.
This is a feature that most house-wives will appreciate.
The wall finishing throughout the house is also most interesting. Where a stucco finish has not been used, the walls are all plaster, tinted in water color. The downstairs hall is in tan, and the bedrooms in the daintiest pastel shades.
THE places to save money and the places to spend money are the stumbling blocks which apparently trip most home-builders. “Penny wise pound foolish” may be applied in a series of distressing ways to the amateur who longs to construct the abode of his heart. However, I had pointed out to me several results of well-directed manipulation of the dollar, in my study of this most encouraging example of the personally built home.
I was particularly taken with the wood finishing of the staircase and other ground floor woodwork. It had a soft walnutty appearance quite rich and entirely harmonious. The wood is gum, with a walnut stain—and so reasonable that the most stringent budget might afford it.
And yet many a purse-limited builder has been duped into the atrocity of light oak, on the grounds of cheapness, I trow— not knowing that this existed for him.
Selected gum-wood is quite less expensive than first grade oak.
On the other hand, there was an extra expenditure of perhaps $500 above
ordinary cost in the use of special im-
ported slate for the roofing, but the result
in aesthetic satisfaction must certainly be
amply worth it. The soft pastel shades of
this slate have the property of becoming
more beautiful as they weather, and these
colors along with those of the coursed
ashler chimney are what set the house
apart from the ordinary dwelling.
A FEW details of the construction of
A\. this house are interesting in consid-
ering its cost to build, nine rooms approxi-
mately $16,000. The flooring throughout
is quarter cut oak. The hall, living room
May 1, 1925
and dining room are finished in the gumwood of which I have spoken, while the bedrooms and kitchen are finished in whitewood and enamel finish. The sleeping porch opening off the large bed-room is heated, making it suitable for a sun parlor as well.
Getting down to actual foundation, the basement walls are of stone and those above grade of hollow tile, while the basement itself is completely finished with laundry and maids’ toilet, adjoining a vegetable room, store room and furnace room, all bearing walls of hollow tile and ceiling plastered.
An ejectric hot-water heater connected with the kitchen is provided, and ashdumps for both fireplaces.
The garage is included in cost of the house, finished in stucco. The grounds are not included in this cost, however. The lot of 50 x 150 on which this house is built is splendid space for house and garage, and of course, is much enhanced by its ending on a ravine.
All in all for completeness and forethought of construction and location, there is small room for suggestion in this delightful Canadian home.
“I have always felt,” says Beaconsfield, “that the best security for civilization is the dwelling, and that upon properly appointed and becoming dwellings depends more than anything else the improvement of mankind. Such dwellings are the nursery of all domestic virtues, and without a becoming home, the exercise of those virtues is impossible.”
In Canada, particularly, we think that this sentiment is appreciated. People try to own their homes in Canada, love them, cherish them and develop them, and of late the most successful residential developments have resulted from the planning and building of modern moderate-priced homes for their builders’ own use and delight. Certainly the ideal way
to secure the home of your dreams is to
build it. In the series of articles on Canadian homes of which this article is
The story you want is part of the Maclean’s Archives. To access it, log in here or sign up for your free 30-day trial.
Experience anything and everything Maclean's has ever published — over 3,500 issues and 150,000 articles, images and advertisements — since 1905. Browse on your own, or explore our curated collections and timely recommendations.WATCH THIS VIDEO for highlights of everything the Maclean's Archives has to offer.