31 albermarle avenue toronto

This dreamy translucent house in Toronto comes with a pneumatic elevator

A Toronto home with a translucent exterior comes with views of Lake Ontario and the city.

The three-bedroom home at 31 Albemarle Avenue sits on a small lot formerly home to a modest, two-story brick house, says homeowner Rudy Wallman and principal architect at Wallman Architect.

"It is very different from the neighbours," Wallman says.

31 albermarle avenue toronto

The translucent glass was specially made for this home.

The typical glass house has privacy issues so they created a translucent glass working with a glass manufacturer who embedded a film between two layers of glass. The effect is a reflective exterior surface creating magical plays of light depending on the angle of the sun.

31 albermarle avenue toronto

The glass surface will change depending on the angle of the sun.

"It gives you a beautiful quality of light inside," Wallman says.

31 albermarle avenue toronto

During the day there is tons of light in the home.

During the day, it is difficult to see inside the home from the street but at night it becomes more transparent so they have blackout blinds to cover the windows.

31 albermarle avenue toronto

There are traditional glass windows at the back of the home.

Although the glass home is unusual amongst more traditional brick homes, the original two-storey home didn't fit in with the neighbourhood either, which mainly consists of taller, three-storey homes, Wallman says.

31 albermarle avenue toronto

The main floor has an open concept design.

The lot is about half the length of the other lots on the street, permitting just an 800 square-foot footprint so Wallman chose to build a taller home with four floors, including the basement.

31 albermarle avenue toronto

The living room leads out to a suspended deck over the basement walkout to the yard.

 There is a steep drop from one side of the street to the other, perhaps an indicator it was an ancient shoreline of Lake Ontario, he says.

"It is a very unique situation and I thought it warranted a unique response," Wallman says.

31 albermarle avenue toronto

The kitchen also has tons of light.

In response to the slope in the topography, Wallman dropped the front entrance rather than create steps up to a porch like a typical home.

31 albermarle avenue toronto

The backyard is small but there is a rooftop deck as well.

"We actually go down a few steps to the front door."

There is a suspended deck off the living room but also a walkout from the basement directly below.

31 albermarle avenue toronto

The height of the home and position on a high point provide viewpoints from upstairs.

The home is designed for a family of four but there is potential in the basement for additional sleep spaces.

A unique feature of the home is the pneumatic elevator, which works on air pressure making it compact and clean, he says. Because the home has four floors, the elevator was added to allow the homeowner to age in place.

31 albermarle avenue toronto

The pneumatic elevator will allow a homeowner to age in place.

"You can still use the stairs but the elevator is very convenient if that becomes uncomfortable."

It is also handy for carrying laundry up and down, he adds.

31 albermarle avenue toronto

A large bathroom is found upstairs.

More outdoor space is found at the top of the building with a rooftop deck accessed through an operable skylight.

The Riverdale home has views across the city from the deck.

"You can see downtown, you can see the lake."

The home was finished about four years ago, but Wallman has plans to sell it this summer. So if you are in the market for a modern, glassy home, look out for a listing coming soon.

Photos by

Naomi Finlay

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