Loire Valley Chateau

The original turreted house was commissioned by Henry Pellatt, the failed Canadian tycoon of the roaring twenties, not to live in (he was residing in the Casa Loma castle at the time), but for investment purpose.  The house was built in the 1920s in the Humewood/Cedarvale neighborhood of Toronto.  The incongruous multi-colored flagstone base of the turret stood out like a sore thumb.  The house had high roof lines but was very small in floor area compared to the Forest Hill houses.  It was solidly built with stone and masonry but the details were quite spare.

Humewood/Cedarvale was an up-and-coming neighborhood fifteen years ago.  It has become quite upscale and expensive.  Especially on the street where this Loire Valley Chateau is situated, real-estate price has risen dramatically.

This was a major rebuild project.  The house was gutted leaving just the exterior walls and roof framing.  The turret roof was totally reframed.  We turned a sham Scottish castle into a miniature Loire Valley style chateau.  Copperwork with weathervane, round eavestroughs and flashing were custom made on site for the project.  A rear glassed-in sunroom and a covered vestibule in front were added to the original structure

Project Challenges

There was a major issue on site : Trees.  A tree thirty foot tall in the backyard was leaning precariously towards the back of the house.  We had to apply to the City to get permission to remove it.  The biggest problem was the hundred year old maple tree that was situated only feet away from our planned addition on the side.  The City would not allow us to touch it, nor did the owner wanted us to remove it.  Our engineer devised a structural solution to support the addition without having to remove the tree.  We excavated hour holes and poured concrete into them to carry the posts that supported the addition like four spindly legs.  We then cladded the posts with reclaimed rough sawn fir to make them blend in with our overall design.  The leaves from the tree constantly clogged up the drains and eavestroughs.  This is a problem that city governments do not know how to deal with.  See our Construction Management section for more information.

Transformation

Additions were made to the front and the back of the house, thus enlarging the living room in the front to accommodate a full-size Bösendorfer concert grand piano.  The rear addition provided a much needed family room with a full-height window wall overlooking the Cedarvale ravine across the backyard.  The original house had impressive height but lacked girth.  We added horizontal volume to the composition and greatly improved the proportions of the house.  The distracting colored flagstone that showed up sporadically on the exterior of the old house were left intact but where stuccoed over.  The off-white color stucco was applied over all of the wall surfaces, new and old.  This gave the composition unity and the structure looked coherent.  Dark stained rough-sawn fir beams, columns and trims provided the needed contrast and embellishment.  Exposed underside of rafters beneath the soffits of the rear addition completed the French provincial styling of the design.

Related Section : New Build & Rebuild