Introducing the Wolmur House
Just over one year ago, DUO embarked on the largest residential project in the history of the company. The task is to expand and update an aging residence for modern – and in some respects, futuristic – living while maintaining the historical integrity and character of the structure. With construction scheduled to span approximately two years, there are high expectations for the final result. It is a challenging project but one that the Duo team is excited to be a part of.
The overall aesthetic of the house is a traditional Tudor Revival style from the 1930s. While it is too young to be listed as a historic residence, its vintage style and craftsmanship conveys an attention to detail the homeowners wish to preserve. Their dedication to the preservation of the structure’s origins goes as far as to rewire light fixtures, reuse doors, and refurbish the stained glass windows. An exhaustive search was conducted to ensure that all new and replacement windows are manufactured in a style that is architecturally consistent with the design of the 1930’s home. Other key features – the brick, stucco and cedar exterior – are being carried forward, and the small copper roof above the front door will be extended to ensure the porch addition aligns with the original aesthetic.
However, don’t let the traditional style fool you. This residence will also be updated with state-of-the-art mechanical and electrical systems, an elevator with garage-level access, and integrated whole-home technology encompassing shades, lighting, security system, audio-visual components and all aspects of heating / ventilation / air conditioning. The goal is to create a residence that can serve future generations and provide a place for family and friends to congregate and feel welcomed. It is with this future in mind that features such as the workshop, sewing studio, craft room, exercise room, lower-level family room / games room and 3rd storey sleeping quarters were incorporated into the design of the home.
Walking this line of historical aestheticism and modern practicality certainly comes with its challenges. City building codes have required window placement and size to be reconsidered in certain areas of the new build. When it came to tearing down the 2-car garage, the Duo team left the existing wall closest to the property line intact. According to new city codes, a completely new structure would have required drastic changes to its placement and window allowances. As a result, in the residence’s currently dismantled state, there is an isolated, free-standing wall waiting for the rest of the garage structure to be re-built around it.
Such a large undertaking requires extensive planning. Fortunately, the homeowners have a clear vision for their property and have meticulously planned the project. Usually a residential plan will consist of five to ten schematics for the Duo team to reference; this project has 54 pages of architectural and engineering drawings. This is both a reflection of the size of the task as well as the homeowners’ commitment to their vision for the home. Such detailed plans increase the efficiency of the job and with the help of these plans, Mark, the project lead, has been able to break down every aspect of the project by trade and placement.
Today, as the owners work to finalize their choices of interior finishes and design, the property is a construction zone. Hardhats and safety shoes are required. The exterior walls bespeak its historical nature while the inside has been completely gutted, awaiting its reinvention. The excavation in the backyard hints at additions to come. Overall, there is a kind of nervous excitement surrounding the project. While there is pressure to meet deadlines and to ensure all aspects of the project run smoothly and on budget, there is also considerable excitement to see the finished product.