On a quiet unassuming street filled with a mish-mash of houses in the heart of the design west queen west neighbourhood, lives a very cool couple – Joy Charbonneau and Derek McLeod. This is about Joy. But I will get to Derek later.
Joy in her office.
Over the past two years, I’ve seen Joy’s design talent in a variety of forms; from her winning rug submission for the ERA (Evolution in Rug Artistry) competition launched by Weavers Art last year to the Great Lakes cast in the Heavy Metal: New Cast Objects Exhibition, and her Hydrologic Map of Canada in Capacity this year. The range of mediums she was interested in intrigued me. And then, I found out that she was an architect and then it all made sense – the materials, the subjects, the stories. All of it.
Joy received her honors Bachelor of Arts degree and Master of Architecture degree from the University of Toronto receiving the Alpha Rho Chi Medal. While at U of T, Joy was the recipient of the Howarth-Wright Graduate Fellowship where she traveled to Taliesin. Yes, that’s Frank L. Wright’s Taliesin where his School of Architecture is in Scottsdale Arizona. This was an experience like no other for Joy. (I got all the dirt, but can’t share. Sorry.)
Joy, clearly, is no slouch when it comes to accomplishing what she wants.
Acute intelligence, clear vision and focused execution are what she is all about. This comes through in all of her projects. And I was fortunate to catch her on a day when she and Derek were working on their new home.
Joy greeted me in the nearly finished foyer/closed-in front porch and proceeded to give me the grand tour. From the street front, the house looks just like all the others, unique, but nothing special until you get inside and experience the soaring ceiling height and never-ending depth. A Wow! is appropriate. And it’s not even finished yet. You can see that the impeccable construction was done by considerate and loving hands – mainly Derek and his father. (“Is his father for hire?”, I ask. “No”, Joy responds.)
Here are a few very unique and innovative features they’re putting into their home.
A European wall-mounted toilet! I love these. Not only are they very European, but they save an enormous amount of space in a tight bathroom. Unfortunately they aren’t readily available in Canada and have to be ordered in.
Not wanting to use siding, but discovering that brick cladding would encroach on their neighbour’s property, they opted for Vermont Slate siding. This I hadn’t seen before, primarily because the cost is prohibitive on residential homes. Luckily for Joy and Derek, they found some cheap stock in the US.
When they rebuilt the back portion of the house, they kept the wide pine planks and will be reusing them for their floors.
Although, there is some space between the houses, they wanted extra noise insulation and opted to double the drywall. Just as, if not more effective than using a sound insulation.
And from a second floor window, you’ll be able to see a blooming garden on their green roof. Very cool!
Although they plan to be in the house in June of this year, there will be more finishing required. But Joy promised to contact me to take some after pics.
When she is not creating beautiful poignant design objects, Joy works full time at KPMB Architects in Toronto. This is one architect you should keep your eye on.