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25 May

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Mjölk House – A Wonderful Usage of Wood

25 May 2017 | By | No Comments

The Mjölk (pronounced mi-yelk) House is an example how a landmark building can be transformed in such a manner that is contemporary renovation yet matches with the character of the street. 

Featuring an independent design store and gallery, Mjölk House represents the perfect blend of both current and classical Scandinavian and Japanese designers, artisans and artists.

The Mjölk House takes inspiration from the conventional shop house typology of residential top floor and commercial ground floor. It shows a substitute to single family residence in the urban scenario of Toronto. The W.H Ives Tailor Building (1889) has been renovated into the Mjölk House and includes;

  • Restoration of the historically listed Facade (one of the last pressed metal commercial facades on a main street of Toronto).
  • A renovation of commercial ground floor into a gallery and design store.
  • A renovation of both 2nd and 3rd floor residential units unified into a single family home.

The Mjölk House centers on timeless simplicity, craftsmanship and functionality. Both Mjölk and the dwelling area situated above are inspired by Northern appeal where rather selective range of material is used. Wood has been the focus throughout this shop and the owners also value handcrafted pieces which make this shop house so warm and natural.

Both materials and technology have been used efficiently and thoughtfully throughout the design and construction. It will get a lot of natural day light due to its courtyard and light driven design. The interior light well along with the bi-fold doors and awning windows shall benefit from the cross-ventilation in summers.

Wood was selected for its versatility, warmth, naturalness and ease of portability. Mjölk House offers a selection of carefully chosen and incredibly designed pieces. Black and white parts are highlighted with wood. The time frame was rather short for the construction, design and installation. CNC cutting and computer modeling was utilized for the complex curves of plywood parts of feature wall along with storage cabinets and c-shelf. The exterior cladding of charred wood happens to have a natural oil finish.

The light wells and courtyards offer numerous benefits like privacy, natural light and air, outdoor space and enable the shop house to adapt to the urban mid-block setting successfully that lacks no conventional rear or front yard. The main feature wall went through a renovation from previous installation with new storage units.

The design elements that have been utilized to both organize and enhance the residence are the woodwork, natural light and courtyards in Mjölk House. FSC approved white oak has been used expansively for the stairs, guards, kitchen, island, cabinets and bathrooms. The fixed windows, slatted and bi-fold doors wrapping the light well and inner courtyard are white oak as well. For the shelving units of living room and flooring, wide plank Douglas fir is used.

A lot of experimentation has been carried out with handcrafted wood and traditional finishes to make Mjölk House a classy wood shop house in an urban setting of Toronto.


All credits correspond to owner, creator, designer and photographer.

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