ELAV Nest is where Elaine and Avron live a humble yet inspiring life. Another Torontonian condo reinvented, promoting the need for accessibility of design for everyone.
Shortly after Elaine and Avron get married in 1959 in South Africa, they hire an architect to design their first home together. 50 years, 5 children and 11 grandchildren later, when a flood causes half of their old lounge floor to lift, they decide to hire another architect to transform their rather aged condo apartment in Toronto from its current state of decay to a re-invention of their life.
Ever since their visit to a friend’s glass house in Diamond Bay, Sydney, Elaine has longed for light and brightness, and Avron, for modernity and minimalism. When they meet with rzlbd team they share their dream and the journey begins with a courageous decluttering of their “stuff of 54 years of marriage”.
The architectural transformation started with exposing the condo to its essential structural elements and rebuilding it with a simple goal in mind: to make the ELAV Dream come true with what was available and affordable. Considering Elaine’s hearing disability the apartment had to maintain an easy flow throughout the floor plan with minimum solid barriers, and it had to achieve a continuous line of sight to help Elaine and Avron communicate visually. With this in mind, all the unnecessary partition walls were removed in the previously long and dark corridor and replaced with a sliding door to Avron’s studio and open shelves for Elaine’s studio inviting the natural light from the south wall to travel inside the long corridor.
A direct access from Elaine’s room to the master bedroom along with the barrier free access to the en-suite and the walk-in closet keeps all three rooms connected with an uninterrupted flow. The integrated console table and bench in the main entry hall provide an easy stop and access point for Elaine’s walker. More millwork and shelves were added to the other rooms to accommodate their specific needs. The heights of the millworks were adjusted to meet the accessibility requirements for Elaine. There is a designated studio space for Avron and a Knitting room for Elaine. Some of the furniture was replaced and the rest were given new upholstery. The accent colors of the tiles and furniture pieces rhyme with Avron’s paintings that decorate the walls. The transformation of the furniture to something “not too cold” or “too modern” created an ambience that is welcoming but can still make Elaine and Avron feel like they “have achieved their dream.”
ELAV Nest is a revolution; where architecture causes an upheaval that transforms a lifestyle. The loving couple still argues occasionally, mostly about decisions re minimalistic purchases for their new nest. They still purge their belongings and they still collect new items. Every single plate or vase that they add to their stylish home is now chosen with care. The cultural transformation that Elaine and Avron are experiencing is due to the change in their living environment. The negligence of Toronto as a city towards a socio-economical diversity within the condominium industry has resulted in the dictation of a certain lifestyle to a limited age group. This is while Toronto has the most number of high-rise buildings under construction in North America and is one of the most culturally diverse cities of Canada.
ELAV Nest might not be the absolute answer to this quest, but it is indeed a reminder of what could be, and a cultural transformation that addresses a need and affects the life of an inspiring family, and with this intervention rzlbd team achieves a dream of their own.
Location: Thornhill, Toronto, Canada
Architect: Reza Aliabadi [rzlbd]
Construction: Royal Falcon
Architectural Photography: borXu Design
Area: 1500 sqft
Design: Fall 2013
Completion: Winter 2014