Beaches House by Odami and Dero Building Designs

They say you can’t have it all, but Toronto design studio Odami says otherwise. To create this serene single-family home, the team struck a balance between the energy of nearby Queen Street, a busy, buzzing thoroughfare lined with shops and restaurants, and farther south, Kew Beach, a vast and sandy shoreline that stretches out along Lake Ontario.

“The area seamlessly transitions between a natural and calm landscape, and an urban and lively atmosphere,” explains Odami principal Michael Norman Fohring. “Our goal was to create what at first sounds like a contradictory idea: a house that belongs as much to the city as it does to a beach.”

And Odami has done just that. In perhaps its most distinctive feature, the interior of the crispy white 3,200-square-foot residence features a display of vertical wood battens, a Scandi-modern element that references beach house vernacular without verging on cliché.

Light wood floorboards and a bathroom lined with floor-to-ceiling speckled terrazzo are at once organic and contemporary. White furniture and light fixtures amplify the light that pours in through skylights and oversized windows, framed in wood.

A central stair with floating wood treads and slender, elegant banisters connects each level, and, as Fohring notes, “continues the rhythmic language of the panelling.” With its vertical arrangement, the home deftly conforms to its urban context, but still manages to convey the serenity of the nearby shoreline.

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