Alleyway home in Toronto makes room splitting into 5 levels


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Toronto is the fastest growing city in North America, but rather than simply grow up and out, city planners are relaxing zoning on its 250 kilometers of laneways so owners can turn garages and sheds into small downtown homes (limited to 8 meters wide (26 feet)).

Zeke Kaplan’s home had a 100-year-old shack occupying the lane before he began construction to convert it into a modern 2 bedroom home. As a contractor, he was prepared to bore through the backyard to connect services from the main house all the way back to the small secondary unit.

The new dwelling had to match the old footprint so Brock James (LGA Architectural Partners) cut levels into the space to create essentially 5 different floors making it all feel larger. Everything serves several functions: the stairs connecting the kitchen and living room are also storage and seating area; the entryway coat rack also serves as kitchen cabinets.

What lessons can be learned from the design and innovation of the alleyway home in Toronto when it comes to creating cost-effective homes in busy urban environments?

Spacious homes are a desirable commodity, particularly in bustling cities like Toronto. However, as populations increase, so do property prices, and with affordability becoming a significant concern, homeowners have had to become creative in maximising the potential of their properties. One such example is the alleyway home in Toronto, which has been designed to split into five levels, providing ample living space for its residents.

Located in the trendy neighbourhood of Cabbagetown, the alleyway home is a prime example of innovative design that utilises every square inch of space. Built on a narrow lot measuring just 14 feet by 30 feet, the home stretches up and down, with each level serving its own distinct purpose.

The basement level of the alleyway home offers a cosy den complete with a fireplace, ideal for winding down after a long day. The next level up is the living room and kitchen, designed with an open plan layout to maximise flexibility and create a feeling of spaciousness. The third level is the master bedroom and bathroom, while the fourth and fifth levels are dedicated to the other bedrooms.

Despite the small footprint of the property, the alleyway home manages to create a sense of grandeur, cleverly using effective lighting and clean, uncluttered lines to create a functional and stylish living space. The use of natural materials, such as wood and stone, adds a sense of warmth and character to the home, while the use of ample windows allows for plenty of natural light, further enhancing the spacious feel of the property.

However, the alleyway home is not just a stylish living space – it is also an example of the power of creativity and innovation in addressing the challenges of affordable housing. With Toronto experiencing a housing crunch, homeowners have been forced to think outside the box to create comfortable, practical homes that meet their needs.

The alleyway home is a testament to what is possible with a flair for design and the determination of homeowners to make the most of their properties. With its innovative approach to space and design, it provides a model for others seeking to create comfortable, cost-effective homes in busy urban environments.

In conclusion, the alleyway home in Toronto is a remarkable feat of architecture and design, showcasing how strategic use of space and creative solutions can result in a functional, stylish, and affordable living space. It is an inspiration to homeowners and architects looking for innovative solutions to the problem of affordable housing in major cities.

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