“Sympathetic” Restoration

front porch restoration

Originally used as a doctor’s home office, this historic gem in the heart of the Danforth was playfully coined the “bunker” for it’s bricked in front porch that made it feel uninviting. The home owners enlisted builder and Toronto home specialist, Dan Robinson to collaborate with them on a “sympathetic” restoration to open up the space, while honouring the original design. The owners wanted a front porch that would encourage community connection and add to the beauty of their home and neighbourhood.

Once the “bunker” was removed, Dan and his team rebuilt the front porch to current building code standards with new footings and a foundation that strengthened the entire structure. As the front of the house had expanded, Dan was able to build in a cold room that would add to the functionality of the basement. As all brick work below the porch roof was removed during the build, new brick work was carefully planned and sourced to match the existing design. This gave the house a seamless, consistent look that enhanced curb appeal.

The front porch, columns, railings, and stairs were constructed using the original design from the 1930s as a template. Old photographs were collected and referenced for this restoration to ensure accuracy. Finishing trim and roof details were intended to honour the craftsman style details of the original architecture. As care was taken to ensure historical accuracy, gutters and downspouts were left out of the build. Because these features are necessary for the sustainability of the structure, the roof was pitched to redirect rain water off the structure and into the front garden below. This detail would prevent rainwater from pooling on the roof while adhering to the desired likeness of the period.

The facade of the house was a significant consideration for this project. The owners wanted their home to be consistent with other homes built in the 1930s, with a look that would tie in with current traditional design. This was achieved through the careful selection of paint colour, light fixtures, a new entry door, and landscaping that had a contemporary theme. The landscaping paid homage to the 1930s gardens by keeping structural and symmetrical lines. These details paired with materials and plants found in current landscaping trends gave the exterior of the house a perfect blend of old and new. 

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