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
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.
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 cabin-in-the-woods barn-board façade leads directly into the living area.
In the foyer: a terracotta wall for both style and privacy, floor-to-ceiling windows, and cabinets that hide utilities.
The open-concept space has polished concrete floors. Behind those curtains are sliding doors leading to the side yard.
Here’s the kitchen, equipped with plenty of storage, an electric cooktop and a stacked subway-tile backsplash.
A close-up of the kitchen’s gold-coloured hardware.
Zuzanna designed the powder room’s floral wall tiles herself.
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 staircase is hardwood and comes with a railing crafted by a local metalworker.
This window is in the tallest corner of the home. It opens to heat or cool the space.
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.
Here’s the first 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.
The top-floor bathroom also has a skylight. That floating vanity is bespoke from Corian.
Those stone-looking finishes are actually porcelain slabs.
Finally, the glass shower, which has a perched head, a cubby and a camouflaged drain.
Are you living the laneway life? Send your story to [email protected].