by WAHEEDA HARRIS • photography by LARRY ARNAL
A NEW RESIDENTIAL COMMUNITY has emerged east of Toronto’s Harbourfront district, home to a fashionable penthouse with an enviable combination: unparalleled views of Lake Ontario and the city skyline.
The expansive corner suite proved to be irresistible to the homeowners, thanks to the abundance of natural light and spacious interior and exterior floor plan. “The husband casually mentioned to his wife, I bought you a condominium,” explains Pancy Pong. “They lived in the suburbs and suddenly they have a new home downtown.”
Pong is Director of Development for The Oskar Group, and was project manager over three years of construction and design, working with Cityzen Development Group and 2pi r design’s Calland Lee, who previously worked with Toronto’s Yabu Pushelberg. The condominium’s original layout was two bedroom with one-and-a-half bath and was revised to a three bedroom with three-and-a-half bath.
How to transform the raw 8,000 square-foot space? Lee’s first challenge was balancing the building’s architecture and environment with the residence’s interior design. “There’s a lot of competition: the view of the lake, the lights of the city and the strong structural style of the building. I needed to create a design that didn’t detract from the surroundings and worked with the suite’s contemporary style,” explains Lee.
The décor plan needed to soften an ultramodern envelope, and create partitions without blocking views. Lee chose light neutral tones such as cream, white, stone and sand, highlighted with warm wood and metals, calming shades of gray and blue and the occasional accent of butter yellow. A trip to the Milan Furniture Fair by Pong and Lee led to selecting many of the furnishings found throughout this urban retreat.
The penthouse’s entry features Ontario Algonquin limestone (also found in bathrooms and kitchen) leading to an eye-catching and bold sculpture commissioned by the homeowners from Toronto artist Dennis Lin. The curved banded wood is layered like flower petals, an organic welcome to the residence. White oak plank flooring is found throughout the home.
To one side is the library, a cozy space for the couple to indulge in a movie, enjoyed from a custom-designed couch created by Whittington & Co., which also has a secret: it’s a hide-a-bed too. Custom shelving constructed from white oak and Macassar ebony feature a lighting system enhancing the millwork and displayed artwork and collectibles, while a circular B&B Italia Amoenus sofa in white leather offers a perch for reading underneath a CB2 floor lamp.
A silk and wool rug is the final touch, one of four bespoke carpets created by 2pi r design for the home, and manufactured by Dutch company ICE International. Created as a series, each carpet is distinctive, inspired by patterns seen underwater.
The opposite side leads to a streamlined kitchen/entertaining space designed by Downsview Kitchens including Miele appliances and an oversized quartz island with four stools at one end and four chairs (seating by Restoration Hardware) surrounding a custom-made breakfast table at the other. The kitchen cabinetry is a combination of white lacquer and white oak, with a textured tile backsplash sourced from Ciot, and highlighted by a set of four VISO Wandering Star pendant lights in Carrara marble with brass detail.
The interior pièce de résistance is the relaxing living and dining room and lounge, dominated by a two-sided fireplace, with stone sourced from Ciot. “I didn’t want the main living space to be a fish tank,” says Lee. The stone’s pattern acts as a piece of art as well as a nod to nature, while furniture keeps a low profile. The 10-seat dining area includes a solid oak table from Restoration Hardware, leather and metal Cervino chairs from Belgian furniture design company Linteloo and the tabletop illuminated by a custom fixture from NYC’s Lindsey Adelman Studio.
Anchored by another of the four bespoke rugs, the main seating area includes sofas from B&B Italia accented with yellow and white pillows, a black marble top side table from Minotti, a natural oak coffee table from Restoration Hardware and four sculptural marble and metal side tables, selected from the Salute table collection designed by Sebastian Herkner for La Chance. The lounge includes the third custom rug, a metal screen commissioned from UnitFive Design, two daybeds and a chair to gaze out at the sailboats on Lake Ontario.
The third bedroom is being used as an office, with a Minotti desk and custom millwork creating a shelving space to keep work object organized and out of sight, while concealed lighting highlights collectibles on display.
The couple’s master suite is a minimalist and restful haven for the homeowners. A gray leather headboard sits beneath art sourced from Art Squared and accompanied by a pair of leather Poltrona Frau Aida chairs, a Christophe Delcourt table and the fourth custom rug. Floor-to-ceiling sliding screens in oak divide the sleeping space from the walk-in closet (custom designed by 2pi r) and the master bath, while drapes add a warm touch to the windows and the lights of the city skyline.
Featuring the sexy Spoon bathtub from Italy’s Agape and highlighted by a trio of Gemma lights from VISO, the bathroom sparkles thanks to a wall of semi-precious onyx in white, blue and yellow from Ciot. An oversized walnut vanity, shower and toilet tucked into separate spaces and a custom-created dressing table complete the glamourous room.
The expansive terrace was another challenge for Lee. “It was intimidating on how to design this vast space. I wanted to create something that was timeless and yet offered many functions.” As the infinity swimming pool had been already planned, Lee focused on creating different hang-out zones around it.
A door from the kitchen leads to the enviable 4,000 square-foot terrace. An outdoor kitchen has stools surrounding a large marble table with grill, a low seating area is paired with a Restoration Hardware fire table and a pergola designed by Toronto’s Punchclock Metalworks offers another shaded seating area (and hides the engineering, drainage and auto-shade system).
All the terrace furniture was custom-created by Spanish furniture company Kettal. The stone terrace leads to wood steps and the wood deck surrounding the raised pool area, featuring lounge chairs and umbrellas for shade on those endless sunny summer days. This penthouse suite can boast of having the only pool-top terrace in the vicinity, and these homeowners can happily indulge in all the amenities of being downtown dwellers.