When they first approached us, our clients had owned their house for 30 years. They were committed to their house, their neighbourhood and their lifestyle but also desperately needed more room and a better living space. They wanted to maintain the charming proportions of their bungalow rather than build a large addition like many of their neighbours had done.

The original second floor above the garage was 550 square feet, had a seven foot high flat ceiling and was divided into four tiny rooms. One of these rooms had the best view in the house, overlooking the backyard, but was being used as a storage closet.

“We are ecstatic about it; we love waking up in the morning [and] we can’t wait to go up there at night.”

We conceived the addition as a container for the start and end of the clients’ day.

Rebuilding the entire second floor from scratch freed us from the constraints of the previous design and allowed us to make a strong distinction between the addition and the more traditional first floor. The new stairs, hidden behind two small doors in the dining room, allow the clients to keep this refuge completely separate from other aspects of daily living.

A large bay window with built in seating cantilevers over the garden, which the owners enjoy when they wake up in the morning or retire to their loft in the evening to relax. By arranging small windows at different heights across the front face of the addition, we created a series of portraits of their suburban neighborhood while maintaining a sense of privacy and intimacy. The windows on either side of the bed are set to the clients’ head heights, while a window on the floor frames a portion of lawn that can be seen from the couch.

By opening up the room and maximizing the storage, we created a clutter free and inviting living space. We pitched the roof from six feet at the front and back walls to ten feet in the middle of the room. This allowed us to assemble a variety of programs and moods into one space, making the room feel spacious and airy while maintaining a sense of intimacy where needed: in the bedroom, the reading nook and the bathroom.