Who needs a cavernous pad — all that tedious dusting — when a petite pied-à-terre does the trick? This modest laneway dwelling, fashioned by Otty Design & Build’s Alisha Sturino and business partner Steve Hajsan, clocks in at 320 square feet — and every inch is functional. The residence is equipped with a full kitchen, laundry facilities, a bedroom zone, a dining area, a wee office, a knockout bathroom and three — yes, three — skylights.
The minimal two-storey building also has a garage and a storage area that’s not part of the laneway unit. Alisha lives in the main house with her husband and built the cutie backpiece as a place to host friends and family. “I can hold meetings there or convert it into a studio in the future,” says Alisha. She says she kept the design “simple and modern” down to the facade, which is a mix of brick and rippled steel siding. Check out the shipshape space while watching the home tour— and keep reading to find out why she calls her house “Alley Cat.”
A Warm Welcome!
Benjamin Moore’s paint colour Warm & Toasty is aptly named. We’re getting all the cozy feels from the front door, which is framed in smart black casing for punch. Alisha went with the paint colour because she likes the juxtaposition of moving from “rugged graffitied alley to opening the door, where there’s a sense of discovery and warmth inside.”
Step Right Up
Open that front door and the warm yellow continues in the cocooning ochre vestibule, where visitors are met with dapper black stairs. (All of the action happens on the second floor.)
Modern And Minimal
Alisha says she purposely went with European-sized appliances so she could shoehorn in an entire kitchen. Since the laneway house is in a buzzy location not far from Ossington Avenue, guests will likely hit the town anyway instead of, say, roast an entire chicken.
A picture window frames the urban topography. “We installed blackouts because it gets hot and for privacy,” says Alisha. Meanwhile, the minimal cabinets are topped in Caesarstone’s hazy white CloudBurst Concrete. And the marbleized russet-toned vessel is from the shop, Souvenir. The owner, Danielle, helped style the unit, notes Alisha.
Be a Knob
Details count, especially in tight quarters. “We sourced these beautiful organic-shaped glass knobs from Etsy,” says Alisha. “They’re made from recycled glass. I love their unique forms. Each one is different.”
A Purrrfect Homage
Alisha named her laneway house “alley cat,” and here’s why: this classic Kit-Kat Klock was discovered in the main house before it was torn down. “It was kinda freaky. It was the only thing there — and a paint-by-numbers that I salvaged,” she says. We think kitty makes a cool mascot. The lovely fluted glass and dried flowers are from Shop Flùr.
Dine in Style
Big or small, every space can fit a dining table; you just have to be smart about the proportions. A bistro table is perfect because it’s airy, and the stool adds warmth and character.
The patterned floor tile demarcates where the kitchen ends and the living room starts. (The patterned part is the kitchen and continues into the bathroom.) The yellow-framed door is the bathroom.
These Candleholders are Lit
Ceramic candleholders by the Toronto artist Nilou Ghaemi — so beautiful they look exhumed from the depths of the sea — provide eye candy on a bistro table. “I like to support local Canadian artists,” says Alisha.
Shine a Light
“We could only install west-facing windows in the dwelling, so we incorporated three skylights,” says Alisha. This one in the kitchen lures in beautiful beams of light
More of Flùr’s alluring dried flowers are on show here.
Psst: If you were wondering about the garage that was originally here, it was dilapidated. “Neighbours had petitioned to have it torn down,” says Alisha. A building with a skylight is a huge improvement.
Reflect on This
If you’re ever planning on hosting guests, follow Alisha’s lead: always install a full-length mirror! Key for last-minute outfit checks.
A simple yet painterly vignette makes up the desk nook with its contemporary Cord Chair from Avenue Road. Alisha snagged it on sale.
Sofa for Two
“I like the simple lines,” says Alisha, referring to this outdoor couch from everyone’s favourite big-box Swedish retailer. The artwork above it is by Jason Logan of Toronto Ink Company.
Character is so elusive. You either know what’ll look good or you don’t — Alisha knows. Take this 1980s oddball chair, for instance. It’s a bit strange with its too-small-head-for-its-body form, and yet against the pristine white wall it just works so well!
Feel the Warmth
Pocket doors lead to the bathroom, which is cloaked in a divine mustardy tile. They’re vertically stacked so they read neat and tidy, says Alisha. We also dig the burgundy marble sink against the ochre tones.
Meanwhile, the single pane of glass in the curb-less shower has been treated so it doesn’t retain scum marks, leaving the glass permanently clean. Brilliant!
The trio of vessels are from Etsy. The simple, modern forms suit the shower exceptionally well! And they’re space-savers!
The Snuggle is Real
The sloped roofline hasn’t stopped Alisha from tucking in a queen-sized bed in this cozy nook. The Canadian-made Cambie blanket offers plush comfort. The embroidered drapery panel can be pulled across for privacy. There’s even a TV mounted on the wall opposite the bed (not shown).
A Sumptuous Spot
A grainy wood side table hits a natural note, and the pillow offers tons of texture in the small bedroom zone. It looks so cozy in there, we want to get right under the covers. Thank you for the tour of Alley Cat, Alisha! Your pad really is the cat’s meow!