Cookie-Cutter Home Renovated into a Minimal and Tranquil Living Space

Harty House, a suburban oasis, is a residential renovation project designed by Toronto-based design firm Atelier SUN. The design overcomes the challenge of converting a cookie-cutter builder home into a minimal and tranquil living space.


Living room. Photo credit: Joel Esposito

Located in Ajax, a city on the east border of Toronto, the house was built in the 1980s under the mass-produced development madness with excessive structural elements such as columns and beams in the space.


Living room, Dining. Photo credit: Joel Esposito

It is such a challenging site. We were surprised to see seven columns floating in the middle of the ground floor within an 850-square-foot floor area. We had to incorporate the structural elements into the function and aesthetic of the design by minimizing the visual clutter of the existing condition and effectively creating a minimal and comfortable living experience,

-Andrew Sun, Founder of Atelier SUN


Master Bedroom. Photo credit: Joel Esposito

The foyer has a welcoming nook wrapped in wood panels, integrating bench seating, a shoe rack, and a closet, creating a cozy atmosphere at the entrance of the house. Adjacent to the foyer, a floating staircase becomes the extension of the millwork. A wood panel stair wall not only acts as a privacy panel that marries the structural support of the stair, but also becomes the canvas that captures the beautiful shadow casting off the steps.


Stairs, Foyer. Photo credit: Joel Esposito

In the living area, a central beam and column are wrapped by wood finishes, with bronze-coloured accent details at the top and bottom. This acts as a sculptural piece that frees most of the original load-bearing walls in the space. The living room and workspace are on one side of the open floor plan and are designed with wooden millwork, which integrates storage, display, and flip-down tables. The kitchen and dining areas wrapped with wood panels are located on the other side. Wooden pocket doors lead to the hidden pantry, a dog shower, and a separate entrance to the garage.


Living, Kitchen and Dining. Photo credit: Joel Esposito


Living room. Photo credit: Joel Esposito


Kitchen, Dining. Photo credit: Joel Esposito

With a four-bedroom and three-bathroom configuration on the 2nd floor, the design is still able to capture the hospitable atmosphere in the space.


Master Bedroom. Photo credit: Joel Esposito

The emphasis on natural material, delicate details, and intricate craftsmanship throughout the entire space reconnects the owner to a calming and peaceful lifestyle.


Living room. Photo credit: Joel Esposito

About Atelier SUN

Located in Toronto, Canada, Atelier SUN is a multi-disciplinary design studio founded by Andrew Sun in 2019 to focuses on interior architecture and interior design. Every project aims to discover the essential meaning of the space that has a strong connection to the local culture, functionality, and aesthetics.

With a strong focus on experience, functionality, and aesthetics, Andrew has 15 years of experience working on various range projects for hospitality, retail, and residential clients. As an Architectural and Interior designer, Andrew is driven by concept, spatial sequence, material, and aesthetics.

Accolades include a prestigious ARIDO 2015 merit award, as well as recognition as 2016 Best of Canada in residential by Canadian interior magazine. Atelier SUN has also been recognized as a Top 30 Emerging Interior Design firm by Azure Magazine for Canada 150.