By Sarah Brown • Photography by Marc Fowler/Metropolis Studio.
“I WAS PRETTY MUCH STALKING THIS HOUSE,” admits Chris Corner with a laugh. The co-owner of OnConference, a conference call company, first noticed the John Donkin-designed townhouse when it came up for sale about five years ago. From the street, it is a fairly unremarkable brownstone townhouse, but step inside and you’re transported into a light-filled loft with floor-to-ceiling south-facing windows and towering views over the tree-filled properties below.
Donkin used the site, which drops sharply south from street level, to the utmost advantage. From the street, Corner’s home looks like a compact two-storey house. From within, it’s a 2,000-square-foot three-storey loft (the basement level also sits above ground on the south side, so make that a four-storey building).
While Corner could not afford it when it came on the market in 2007, he made a habit of driving by his dream house now and again, checking quickly to see if it might have come up for sale. Three years ago, it did. “I was driving home from a party and saw the sign,” Corner remembers. “I stopped right there in the middle of the road and jotted down the number.”
After moving in, Corner consulted with his sister-in-law, Calgary-based interior decorator Lori Andrews, who helped him update the look of his new space. Because it had the feeling of a gallery, she suggested that Corner keep it open and airy, pairing a few key mid-century modern furniture pieces with a number of true classics. “You need classics to anchor the modern,” she told him. The focal point of the room is a massive painting by local artist Benjamin Rodger. Because the painting is so exhuberant, Corner did not want the walls to compete, opting for neutral white and a dark charcoal fireplace.