Part of understanding a neighbourhood is knowing what style of homes you should expect to find. Understanding architecture is an excellent start for helping a purchasing client find what style of home speaks to them. A second reason for knowing architecture is it will help listing realtors and home owners determine value and a listing price based on the popularity of a style of home, and third on the flip side what a buying client may be willing to pay for a particular style. Lastly it is also helpful to know approximately the particular periods a style of home became popular, this will help consumers and realtors determine the age of a home which can also be a good indicator of what a the style of architecture is worth. In many respects it can give you a hint as to how much money you may have to invest to get your home up to snuff.
Which begs the questions, do you think it is important to have a knowledge of the architectural style of the home you are trying to stage or sell? If you answered "yes" then read on,...
What I will attempt to do is create a series of articles that characterize the different neighbourhoods in Toronto and their characteristic architecture. This particular article features Lawrence Park, which happens to be home to one of the most prestigious and affluent postal codes in Canada. This article will undoubtedly touch on architecture of Lawrence Park, however some of these styles you may also find within your own local markets and micro-communites so I wouldn't abandon this article just yet.
Have you ever been invited to bid on a listing or brought a potentional buyer to look at a home that looks like this?
Welcome to the "English Cottage" Style of Home
Some key features you will see with this type of house are:
- Sloping uneven roof, sometimes made of pseudo-thatch
- Brick, stone, or stucco siding
- Very Steep cross gables
- Prominent brick or stone chimney
- Casement windows with small panes
- Often has an asymmetric design
- Low/Arched doors
- Small irregularly-shaped rooms
- Sloping walls in the rooms on the upper floor
- Antique carved fireplace mantle
- Entry hall lit with antique stained glass church windows
- Rich wood paneling
This style came to North America in the 1890s and 1940s. So if you are bidding on one of these originals, this should give you some insight as what updates to look for.
Next we have the "Tudor Syle" Home
This is a popular architectural style, not only in Lawrence Park but can also be found in other affluent neighbourhoods such as Forest Hill. The cousin is the English cottage, the Tudor style home in North America is often referred to as the "medieval revival". What is most characteristic and gives this beauty it's medieval reference is the heavy chimney and half-timbering. Some other features to note:
- Steeply pitched roof
- Tall narrow gables
- Small window panes
- Decorative half-timbering (false)
This style became popular in the 1920s and 1930s and again in the 1970s and 1980s.
This very familiar and stunning home, popular throughout Lawrence Park, Forest Hill and also the Cricket Club is the "Georgian" Style home.
This architectural style is a 20th century twist on the classical Roman and Greek architecture. An important foundation that was carried forward from the Greeks and Romans into the Georgian Style home was the importance of balance, symmetry and proportions. What do I mean by proportion? Well for interest sake, the height of a window or the length of a room in relation to it's width is a double cube. Some important defining features:
- Simple 1-2 story box
- Panel front door centered capped with an elaborate entablature supported by decorative pilasters
- Cornice embellished with decorative moldings
- Multi-pane windows (9to12) (never paired) arranged symmetrically and usually 5 across
- Often 2 chimneys - remember it's all about symmetry
- A Portico or porch leading to the entrance of the building and centered in the middle of the roof line.
These homes first became popular in the late 19th century and again became popularized in the late 1950s. Although some may refer to this style as "Colonnial", really it just depends on whether you're referring to this style with either American or English reference. As being in Canada and referring to ourselves as a colony of Britain we very often refer to this style of home as "Georgian" however if you were in the United States you might refer to this home as part of the Colonial Revival.
The latest member to enter into the architectural family of Toronto's infamous Lawrence Park, and creating quite a buzz good or bad, is the International Style, brought to you originally from The Bauhaus. It is unclear what has sparked this latest style, if you talk to builder Gerry at Gervais Design Build he offers a compelling argument that due to the recent insurgence of the International Architectural Style of the modern condo market in downtown Toronto, this latest trend has become an inspiration for some of the more recent beauties built in Lawrence Park. First made popular with famous architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright, this style was slow to be adopted in the residential homes in Canada, however has now become a hot commodity and a style to watch.
What makes up the "International style"?
- windows running in horizontal linear planes
- repetitive rectangular or cubic motif
- rejection of ornamentation
- forms accenting 90 degree
I hope you enjoyed this article and it gets you well on your way to buying and selling successfully. Happy New Year!