The Integral House @ Toronto, Canada

Most people building their dream home would be wary of giving the architects free reign in terms of time and design. Dr. James Stewart, a math professor who made his fortune writing calculus textbooks, had no such misgivings. He hired relatively unknown architectural duo Shim-Sutcliffe to construct his bold Toronto residence, The Integral House.

Dr. Stewart is also an accomplished violinist, and one of his requirements was that his home be suitable for use as a private concert hall. He wanted plenty of curves – a home that was, itself, reminiscent of the movement of music.

The home was a decade in the making. Dr. Stewart gave his architects very little guidance, very few requirements, and no time frame. They integrated graceful curves and gigantic glass walls, heavy concrete and airy wood.

The home’s subdued, neutral color palette lends a feeling of understated sophistication to the interior. This is particularly resonant in the 150-seat concert hall. The crowning piece of this altogether remarkable home is the grand staircase: a collaboration between the architects and a glass artist that consists of hand-blown glass rectangles held up by stainless steel cables and cast bronze clips.

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