Intimate. Cloistered. Serene. These aren’t qualities that normally come to mind when envisioning loft apartments, which are typically defined by their rawness, airiness and, well, loftiness. But StudioAC’s recent redesign of a 157-square-metre loft residence in central Toronto goes decidedly against type.
Instead of a single cavernous room with expansive sightlines, the Candy Loft – a second-storey unit in a converted confectionery factory on Toronto’s trendy Queen Street West – is marked by arched corridors connecting clearly delineated spaces. An overall sense of warmth and seclusion, rather than edgy urbanity, characterizes the project.
Its planning and palette, says StudioAC, was driven by the client’s desire for a feeling of privacy in the middle of the city.
This sense of retreat from the outside world begins at the apartment’s threshold. To buffer the living space from the rest of the building, the designers created a separate entry corridor that leads into the service areas and on to a progressively sheltered environment.
The living area, which features a polished concrete floor and is lined with large windows overlooking the tree canopy outside, is segregated from the open kitchen by an island wrapped with Douglas fir boards. The arched hallways channeling into and out of the space are paved with the same wood, these boards flanked by soft LED lights.
According to the designers, the shift in the flooring between warm wood and cool concrete acts as a cue to spatial transitions – from arrival point to living space, from public to private.
The upward glow of the LED lighting, moreover, “highlights the curve” of the corridor ceilings “as you move through the extruded thresholds.”
In addition to the Douglas fir, other warm materials distinguish the unit. The kitchen pulls, for instance, are made of exposed copper that will acquire a patina over time.
“Despite its location in the heart of downtown Toronto,” says StudioAC, “the loft exudes a sense of intimacy reflected by natural materials that create a feeling of escape from city life.”
It also serves as an antidote to the standard loft conversion, eschewing the expected industrial style – and demonstrating just how warm, peaceful and contemporary such projects can be.