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Minimal and boxy in presence, this three-storey residence stuck out amidst its placid suburban surrounding with its all white interior design concept. The other peculiarity is, the house has only a single horizontal strip window to the outside.
Canadian-based Architect Johnson Chou envisioned the all white house as an instrument for the appreciation of the profound ephemerality of time. Its all-white interior is the perfect canvas to capture shadows on the walls and floor, as light passes through the narrow window throughout the day.
An all-white house interior may seem like an extreme concept only for the brave. Remarkably, Chou also made interior decorating with white beautiful and feasible. In the Shadow Box house, he offers simple all white home decor that is effortlessly chic.
“The white interior walls act as a blank canvas capturing the shadows of the abstracted forms and the movement, for example, of trees swaying in a breeze, in effect projecting the exterior environment into the interior. Like a reverse sundial, beams of light move across the walls and floors of the house. The moment is mesmerizing, cinematic, fleeting; in an instant, the shadows transform or disappear altogether,” he shares.
An unconventional approach
At 2,035 square feet, the all-white house’s distinct and extreme façade is attributed to its location along the busy Upper Beaches area of Toronto. To remain obscure, the entrance into the house is at the midpoint of the building accessed through a side lane.
Coming in through the entrance foyer, one is greeted with the dining and kitchen/breakfast areas. The east-west orientation of the building allows for morning light at breakfast and evening light at dinner. From the one-story kitchen, the dining room is double-height and the living room is triple-height, invoking a sense of expansion or compression as one flows through the home.
”The unconventional location of the living room in the basement is an opportunity for exciting spatial and experiential dynamics and, more interestingly, imparts an impression that the basement is no longer below grade, allowing the continuity of light and space to extend into the lower levels of the residence,” shares Chou.
The double-height dining room is enclosed by a powder room clad in statuario marble tiles, a second floor bridge and a flight of stairs which overlooks the triple-height Living Room.
The kitchen design features a large window facing east with view and access to an enclosed courtyard. By appropriating the view of the courtyard and by extending the kitchen cabinetry and island, there is a blurring between interior and exterior spaces. The courtyard overlooks a Japanese Maple tree, a fire-pit and reflecting pool.
Deconstructing a modern bedroom interior design
The second floor is consistent with the all white interior design concept and an all white bedroom interior design is expected. A bridge spanning over the dining room links the master bedroom and a second bedroom and bathroom.
Within the all-white bedroom design, the ensuite is decidedly opened to gain light and view, and components of the bathroom become sculptural objects. In the bath area, vessel sinks appear as decorative elements, while the shower is screened with overlapping layers of glass for privacy. The monolithic base of the vanities provide storage and contain a whirlpool bath insert. It is also consistent in form to the custom bedframe.
For an all white interior design concept, a touch of black offers a stunning complement. Added to the master bedroom is a black-framed cantilevered seating alcove which offers a stylish respite and can be modulated for view and privacy. For example, bed and bath areas are separated by a sheer curtain, open and drawn when desired and folding doors can be opened to reveal a Juliette balcony.
Photography by Ben Rahn at A-Frame Studio