Tour a modern laneway house that shows the potential of your own backyard

Tour a modern laneway house that shows the potential of your own backyard


I’m Craig Race, an architect with
Lanescape, we design and build laneway houses in Toronto. You might be asking
yourself what a laneway house is and we’re actually standing in one right now
here in Leslieville. Laneway houses are attached to the main house on a property
and they get all their services from the main house, but otherwise they’re a
completely separate house for a family or a loved one to live in. We built this
laneway house in 2013 before there were any bylaws related to laneway housing.
Getting it approved was expensive, time-consuming, and very complicated but we took what we learned from this and created an as-of-right policy for
Toronto. It allows homeowners to do it very cost-effectively and with very
minimal time invested. This laneway house is 1,800 square feet, it was designed as
a two-bedroom unit with the option to fit out a third bedroom because it’s
occupied by a growing family. Have you ever wondered what the interior of the
laneway house looks like? We’ve got an interior designer who specializes in
laneway house to give you a tour. Hi, my name is Emmanuel Belliveau and I’m a
designer specializing in laneway suite development. We’re now standing at a
laneway house here on the east side of Toronto designed by architect
Craig Race. Today we’re going to talk about some of the really cool things you
can do with a laneway suite and discover some misnomers that are sitting out
there today. All right, so let’s start with some myth-busting. A laneway suite
is not this micro-sized, little house you have to consider building. It’s not a tiny
home all the time. In fact, here in Toronto, you can build up to 1,700 square
feet, unlike other areas like Vancouver which as low as 900 square feet. When a
house is around 1,200 to 1,500 square feet it’s actually way larger than any condo.
So, most two-bedroom condos here in Toronto are at that 600 to 800 square feet, so if
they can do it in 800 square feet you can do in a laneway suite. So this house
was designed before the existing laneway program that’s now in place, so we’re
sitting on a footprint about 30 feet by 40 feet. And what they did in this
program was they renovated this entire space, they actually popped it up to have
a second floor, which added a master bedroom and more space upstairs. So this house
was before the existing program. Now, this house is actually bigger in size and
footprint than what the existing program allows for now, but let’s look at what
they did in this space to make it really feel open and airy. We’re currently
standing in what would normally be a person’s garage. Now, not that this is a
garage but where a garage might be on a person’s lot, this is where now the new
laneway program would have you build a new home. So this is a second home on a
single lot if you consider it that way. Craig did an amazing job here of tying
everything together. Now, when you have a space like this you want to make it look
as big as possible. We have nine-and-a-half-foot ceilings here, which is great. We have a
floor, it’s all polished concrete floor all the way throughout. And why that’s
great is it draws the eye line all the way to the extremity, so it really makes
a space feel that much bigger. Another way to do that too is paint color. Having
consistent color through an entire space as they’ve done here with these white
walls, which bounces the light around, is a great way of making a space feel
bigger. Another great thing that he did was he added in this floating staircase.
The floating staircase is awesome because it gives you illusion of having
more space going below it, unlike many staircases that are traditional with all the
framing below it. It really starts eating into the footprint of the space. Now,
because this building is where a garage might typically go where you have zero
lot line, meaning that your building’s wall would be on the actual border of
your lot. So you wouldn’t typically have windows on a side lot line in a garage
or in a laneway suite, you wouldn’t have windows on the side lot line. What they
have here is they do have some windows that have passive light coming in, but to make
this space feel really bright and airy really the key here is having the
skylight. The skylight brings in lots of beautiful, fresh light coming down
throughout the entire day, which makes the space feel open and airy. So Craig
did an awesome job in here. There’s so many things you can do with a laneway suite. It could be a granny suite, could be a nanny suite, could be yoga studio, could be a
gym, and it could be a rental. And from a rental perspective, it could be short-term, it could be long-term rental. And what’s great about these units is that
they’re really special. It’s an opportunity as a designer or as a
residential owner to really express yourself in a design language. So if you
qualify for a laneway suite, I really strongly suggest you get on board,
provide additional housing in Toronto. We have a 0.7 vacancy rate so if you’re
considering building a laneway suite and are wondering, ‘Will I find renters?’ Absolutely
you will! If you’d like to learn more about laneway suite development come on
down the Fall Home Show October 4th through 6th, they’re going to have a tiny
village there we can learn all about what it takes to build a tiny home in
your backyard, so see you there!


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