A Natural Oasis in Midtown

The owners are empty-nesters who downsized from a six-bedroom house nearby to this eco-minded dream home

When Ian Roland and Linda Rothstein, both lawyers, became empty-nesters six years ago, they decided to ditch their spacious six-bedroom Toronto home in favour of something more energy efficient. They enlisted architect Heather Dubbeldam and found a small 1920s detached ripe for a tear-down just a few blocks from their old home. They kept the construction process as green as possible by retaining the two side walls and rebuilding the home from the top down rather than the bottom up. The central staircase serves as a ventilation shaft from the basement to the third floor, with a skylight at the top that opens in the summer to vent warm air. The open stair design and transparent guards allow natural light to stream all the way to the basement:   The floors are crafted from white oak:   Large panes of glass are sheltered by deciduous trees, which let the sun in in the winter and block most of it in warmer months: The decks and porches are all made from a thermally treated ash, an alternative to pressure-treated lumber that uses heat to draw out moisture so the wood lasts longer:  

The Green Guide

Part 1: The sustainability sisters—Toni and Lin Sappong, zero-wasters since March 2018

Part 2: The diaper warriors—Ryan Dyment and Emily Hunter, zero-wasters since January 2015

Part 3: The queen of green—Meera Jain, zero-waster since March 2018

Part 4: A sustainable sanctuary in Leslieville

Part 5: A lakeside eco-retreat

Part 6: A natural oasis in Midtown

Part 7: How one super turned his building into a miraculously low-waste condo

Part 8: Incredible bulk—four packaging-free shops

Part 9: Supernova Ballroom—the low-waste cocktail bar

Part 10: “I went green—maybe a little too green

Part 11: The green shopping guide—guilt-free goodies for climate-conscious consumers


This story originally appeared in the March 2020 issue of Toronto Life magazine. To subscribe, for just $29.95 a year, click here.