Home Retreat


Location          Toronto, Ontario

Type                  Residential Renovation

Size                   608 Sq Ft

Date                  2015

The client we worked with for this project was a writer who needed a quiet, dedicated space to write her new book. Instead of going away for months at a time to a writing retreat, her husband suggested that they turn their dark, dilapidated basement storage into a retreat at home. Our design strategy for turning the most neglected part of a house into a type of sacred space involved three aspects; light, comfort, and escape.

Bringing in daylight was the first step in the design strategy. The benefits of sunshine are countless, one of which is to create an ambience that cannot be achieved with artificial lighting. With budget and time constraints in mind, daylight was brought in through a long window measuring 8ft x 3ft on an exposed wall.

With long harsh Canadian winters, it is impossible to have a retreat without first ensuring comfort all year round. We selected a heated floor with a hot water pipe system in concrete overlaid with a hardwood finish because of its ability to maintain a constant temperature between floor and ceiling while remaining silent.

Finally, as this retreat is meant to be an escape for the client to write, it was important to block out sounds from the city and traffic outside, as well as the bustle of a family upstairs, allowing for the perfect environment to remain focused in. We solved this issue by using soundproof insulation in the walls, and energy efficient windows that provides air tight security, and sound isolation.

A retreat does not have to be a costly, inaccessible getaway that one enjoys periodically throughout the year. As this project demonstrates, a “retreat” can be found close by, in the comforts of your own home.