The April 09 issue of Dwell arrived in my mailbox this week and I've been poring over all the great before and after photos. It never ceases to amaze me how a building can be so completely transformed. Take this home in Toronto, for instance. Homeowners and architects Christine Ho Ping Kong and Peter Tan took this back alley warehouse and turned it into a warm, livable modern space.
When Ho Ping Kong and Tan found their site
back in 2001, it held a building you could literally back a truck into: a contractor’s warehouse with
a storage yard. Yet the two-story concrete-block structure seemed like the perfect place to begin. “Here, you don’t have to conform with the facades of the street,” Ho Ping Kong says. And the building itself “was so elemental—a block and an empty space,” Tan says. “It was perfect. We weren’t paying for things we didn’t want to use and we could experiment with all our crazy ideas.”
Today, it seems that their idea isn’t so crazy after all. They’ve rebuilt the warehouse as a two-story home for themselves, their children, and their growing business. From the outside, there’s not much to see: Most of the warehouse’s walls remain, the front door is notched into a blank facade, and the yard is hidden behind a rampart of concrete block. “When we first moved in, a lot of neighbors didn’t even believe this was a house,” Tan recalls.