On an established street in a seaside neighbourhood, Bruce Wilkin of Bruce Wilkin Design found the ultimate location to build a modern duplex. Respecting the community’s existing architectural landscape that favours century-old homes, Wilkin designed a fairly traditional facade while the interior tells a different story. High on the livability scale, the outcome is 2100-square-feet on three floors with three bedrooms, three and one-half baths and a family/media room with direct access to the back yard. Adhering to stringent duplex zoning criteria regarding square footage, Wilkin created a contemporary loft-like interior that capitalizes on vertical space.
Eschewing the cookie-cutter approach to duplex development, Wilkin’s design intent was to craft points of interest on each level while maximizing space and light with vaulted ceilings and skylights. “Tight constraints always produce the best designs; when every inch counts, you have to be creative,” says Wilkin. The home’s layout is so efficient and functional that the homeowners feel there is no dead space and really utilize the whole house. French doors from the living area open to a deck and deep rear yard.
“The spaciousness on the main floor is really unexpected and there is also a sense of mystery as the stairs leading upstairs are not immediately evident,” adds Wilkin. Gallery white walls create space for the couple’s vibrant art collection including works from Frances Semple, Margit Nellemann and Lisa Hebden. Living room furnishings such as the sideboard, coffee table, end table, leather sofa and chairs all sourced from Studio Y Design.
A suspension pendant light hangs delicately over the dining table and keeps sight lines unobstructed in the open plan. Also from Studio Y Design, the walnut Omnia Wood dining table boasts an innovative mechanism that allows you pull the frame toward you to reveal the hidden leaf to effortlessly expand the table. The Claire dining chair in oatmeal with walnut legs brings a modern sensibility and comfort.
Striking entryway combines vibrant objets d’art with an antique Tibetan dragon and phoenix area rug underfoot.
Classic LEM Piston adjustable bar stools have been with the family for years and fit perfectly at the hardworking eat-in island. Easy to clean and durable, the natural look of the Italian Bianco Sardo granite countertops bring a classic feel to the kitchen while the trending grey mirrored glass backsplash is sleek and modern.
“From the home’s open plan concept with skylights to the spacious walkway upstairs that connects the bedrooms, every element of the design seems to have been well thought out,” says the homeowner.
Skylights above the walkway ensure that both floors are infused with natural light. The industrial feel of the glass and metal railings maintains the loft-like airy feel of the home and provides a generous connection between the master bedroom and the guest area.
Crafted in solid cast iron, the industrial-chic sculptural climbers create a point of interest and seek to inspire as a visual reminder of everyday triumphs.
The interior combines a monochromatic palette with carefully chosen furnishings, artwork and lighting to achieve a strikingly modern yet personal design. The natural grain in the grey stained oak flooring brings a warmth and character to the home that will only improve with age.
The pièce de résistance for one of the homeowners is her light-filled weaving studio. “It’s my own space to work in, design, weave, think and play.” When asked about their favourite features the owners reported “the livable and efficient floor plan and excellent use of ceiling height and skylights to add drama and function. We also love the privacy of the ensuite accessed by the gangway and window placements that maximize both natural light and privacy. Of course, we also love the open living/dining/entertaining space; we really use the whole house.”