Laneway Suite of the Week: How a Parkdale architect transformed a few backyard parking spots into a second home

Laneway Suite of the Week: How a Parkdale architect transformed a few backyard parking spots into a second home

For $600,000, she got two bedrooms, radiant flooring, smart-home tech and so many skylights

This laneway suite in Parkdale was once for parking spots.

The history

In 2018, architect Zuzanna Krykorka and her husband purchased a Parkdale century home right by King and Roncesvalles for $2 million. Aside from the property’s history, they were drawn to its four backyard parking spots, which screamed laneway-suite potential. The idea to design such a home was partly sentimental—20 years ago, when Zuzanna first moved to Toronto, she had lived in an unlicensed laneway garage and loved it. Also, as the owner of Studio Z Design, she was well aware of the benefits: building more housing stock on underused land while creating more income for herself. She just had to wait for Toronto’s zoning laws to catch up to her vision. 

The build

By 2020, city hall had approved the construction of laneway suites across Toronto. After her proposal was approved, Zuzanna and her team got to work, with an initial budget of $450,000. To avoid disturbing any of the site’s three 125-year-old trees, they built the home on top of helical piles—a form of prefabricated deep foundation—rather than excavating. The building would also adhere to Passive House design principles: high-quality insulation, airtight construction, triple-glazed windows and doors, metal roof and siding, hot water radiant flooring, a heat pump, and smart-home tech. 

Because of the pandemic, construction and material costs ballooned to $600,000—but Zuzanna couldn’t be more pleased with the result. Right now, she rents out the unit, but she plans to move into the home with her husband when they retire. 

The tour

The cabin-in-the-woods barn-board façade leads directly into the living area.

All of the home's windows and doors are triple-glazed.

In the foyer: a terracotta wall for both style and privacy, floor-to-ceiling windows, and cabinets that hide utilities. 

The foyer's terracotta wall adds style and privacy.

The open-concept space has polished concrete floors. Behind those curtains are sliding doors leading to the side yard. 

The concrete floors are polished and heated.

Here’s the kitchen, equipped with plenty of storage, an electric cooktop and a stacked subway-tile backsplash.

In the kitchen: subway tiles and plenty of storage.

A close-up of the kitchen’s gold-coloured hardware.

The faucets and cupboards have gold accents.

Zuzanna designed the powder room’s floral wall tiles herself.

The owner of this suite, an architect, designed the tiles.

This angle from the side of the home showcases the open-concept space at night. Just beyond the frame is the yard with its stone-tiled patio.

The entire open-concept space, illuminated at night.

The staircase is hardwood and comes with a railing crafted by a local metalworker. 

That metal railing was custom built.

This window is in the tallest corner of the home. It opens to heat or cool the space.

The oculus is breezy and equipped with tall ceilings.

At night, tilting lights illuminate the window to create an artful glow. They also act as a security feature by making the house look occupied.

The lights tilt at night to indicate the home is occupied.

Here’s the first bedroom. 

A view of the main bedroom.

And here’s the second—a mirror image of the first. This one, though, was designed to appreciate the site’s mature maple trees.

This bedroom was designed to appreciate the property's trees.

The top-floor bathroom also has a skylight. That floating vanity is bespoke from Corian.

There's a floating vanity in the bathroom.

Those stone-looking finishes are actually porcelain slabs. 

The walls and floors are porcelain.

Finally, the glass shower, which has a perched head, a cubby and a camouflaged drain.

The glass shower has its own skylight and storage cubby.

Are you living the laneway life? Send your story to [email protected]