Setting (typology): An architect-designed house from the 1960s Year of completion: 2016 Clients: a professional couple whose children have left home

    This house, originally designed by the architect Joseph Baker, has some superb architectural features: high ceilings, many skylights and rosewood insertions. Built in the 1960s, it had lost some of its brilliance over time and with the work done, such that in 2016 its new owners decided to renovate.

    They came to the designers at Desjardins Bherer with two conditions: preserve the structural beauty of the house, and create connected living spaces where one would want… to live.

    From the outset, the positioning campaign for 50 West Street was best summed up by its slogan, “Redefining luxury living.” In this sense, Desjardins Bherer was the ideal choice. In sharp contrast to the standard American approach, the firm practises a form of opulence that reinterprets the outward signs of wealth with a stripped-down representation that is refined rather than ostentatious, materials that are selected for their quality and contrast, the right piece of furniture in just the right place, and an elegance that is never achieved at the expense of comfort.

    Interconnected vessels
    The many skylights bring ample daylight into the entrance hall. Broad and welcoming, the hall serves as a sort of focal point in this house of artfully connected rooms. On the right, the imposing artwork in the dining room draws the eye and on the left, the original fireplace of the library, formerly the master bedroom, astonishes. In the centre, a railing, perfectly combining rosewood with glass, protects the stair to the basement, which has also been renovated.

    Let there be light!
    The living areas are bathed in light. A broad platform underpins the living room, the preferred place to relax, read or watch TV. A bamboo and linen carpet warms the room, and linen curtains cloak the enormous windows onto the street, giving needed privacy without blocking the light.

    At the other end of this large room is a sitting area leading onto the backyard terrace. It is the ideal place to have a drink, talk or simply keep the chef company. A fireplace has been added to enliven the space. Large rosewood doors between the sitting room and the kitchen admirably separate the areas, for more privacy on either side.

    The completely open kitchen extends the sitting room. Its white lacquered cabinets blend into the background, placing the emphasis on the great rosewood island. The counter, in brushed raw stainless steel, sits on a brass detail. These same materials have been used to clad the niche between the two built-in ovens. Light pours in through the restored skylights and the large glazed bays opening onto the back yard. The suspended lights provide ample, uniform lighting in the kitchen and work areas.

    The master bedroom receives copious light like the other rooms, since it also has large glazed doors leading to the terrace. The walls are finished in a natural-fibre wallpaper, giving the room a pervasive gentleness. The doors to the master bedroom slip into the walls, creating a large opening with a view to the fireplace, both from the entry hall and the dining room.

    And there was light!
    The renovated Baker house has a decidedly modern look. The architectural features so appreciated by the owners have been beautifully highlighted. The home offers living spaces… where the living is good.

    Project Manager: Ingrid Savage / Photographs: Adrien Williams