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Forest Hill House

Reigo & Bauer, founded by Merike and Stephan Bauer in 2005, develops architectural and interior design projects distinguished by a markedly modern style combined with a surprising reinterpretation of classicism through the use of sculptural volumes.
Recently the studio worked on the complete renovation of a house in Forest Hill, Toronto, focusing on the layout of the spaces in the area and on elements of functionality and aesthetics to make it more contemporary, dynamic and liveable.
Reigo & Bauer collaborated with their partner Amantea Architects on the interior and exterior joinery elements, such as the pool pavilion. The exchange of ideas between these two studios allowed the realisation of an integrated project between architecture and masonry.

Among the most significant internal changes is the central curved staircase with open risers allowing a greater view through the main foyer, while the two wide ramps allow the three floors of rooms to be joined by a single structure, maximising the width of the steps and the elevated space.

At the rear of the main floor, a powder magazine has been inserted and a dividing wall removed between the height changes, allowing an uninterrupted expanse of windows to the rear garden. Here, Amantea Architecs created the landscape design by exploiting areas of different heights, neatly connecting the interior and exterior. This modification expands the view to the living area below the breakfast area, while a new wet bar supported by stools adds a visual barrier between the rooms and the kitchen.

Other structural changes include the insertion of a two-car garage where the dining room was previously located, and the creation of a flexible space by joining the living room and study, which is connected to the dining room through new doors and stairs. The dining area acts as a transition between the surrounding areas and is visible from several points on the main floor.

On the second floor, the communal bathroom was divided into two private bathrooms, while the main bathroom was converted into a walk-in wardrobe.

The insertion of the garage and the redesign of the main entrance and the second floor bay window offered the opportunity to refresh the aesthetic elements of the façade.
Stucco was replaced by brickwork on either side of the first floor entrance to extend to the roofline, while the soffit and bay window flashing match the new blackened zinc cladding on the garage and doors.

Although the interior is very modern, traditional elements are cleverly reintroduced, emphasising the harmony between old and new.

The wall on the main floor appears white and empty, contrasting with the second layer of anthracite with decorative plinth, which represents the shell of the house, decorating the walls, framing the fireplace and creating the front edge for the projecting door.
On the main floor, sliding doors made of black steel with large windows combine modern simplicity with the traditional proportions of panel doors. On the upper floor, the classic Victorian four-panel door is reinterpreted aesthetically, featuring a semi-circular groove instead of a panel, and is widened and squared to emphasise layering.

The use of colours is cleverly studied. In places with a high visual impact, the white background is contrasted by a limited amount of charcoal and black, distinguishing the door and window frames, stair treads, thresholds, kitchen backsplash and the frames of most furniture.
The use of light-coloured textured finishes on the first floor, sand-coloured woods and bronze on the second floor, as well as the marble inserted in the kitchen soften the overall appearance of the house.
Despite the garnet tones of the main floor, the colour accents that complete this neutral canvas are dark blue and pink, which appear in the wall coverings, carpets and furniture.
Reigo & Bauer have taken inspiration from multiple sources to assemble a diverse collection of soft seating with highly textured fabrics, customising unique combinations that embody the interior’s distinctive use of colour, contrast and line.


PROJECT Forest Hill House
ARCHITECT Reigo & Bauer, Millwork Design: collaboration with Amantea Architects
LOCATION Toronto, Ontario
YEAR 2019
PHOTO Doublespace Photography