Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Making Infill Work

About two years ago a developer bought the lot directly behind my house. The lot faces Elm Street. It is a double lot, about 56' wide x 100'. The current tiny house on the lot is shown in the  photo, directly behind my 28' lot. I love the little house because it has no windows on the back. I have total backyard privacy.

I immediately contacted the developer and insisted that he hear me out when it came time for him to redevelop the lot with infills. So earlier last summer he sat in my backyard and I waved my hands about, saying what I did and did not want. No plastic siding. No wall of balconies overlooking my yard. No backyard parking. A flat roof, to reduce light blockage. I did not care if he built condos, apartments, or houses for sale, as long as they were good quality and met my few conditions. Avant garde style was fine with me.

I actually thought he would go for six units on the site, with underground parking deck. Instead he proposed the following infill, seen from the front and the rear.

view from the rear...
view from the front (streetside)

The glass railing on the rear deck will be frosted. Not shown is the landscaping. He will plant several trees along the back lot line for privacy. At my request, he agreed to plant a number of columnar trees that will provide visual privacy without a large canopy that would further shade my garden.

More details in next post !


  1. What a beautiful home! It will be a lot nicer to look at :)

    Marie @ MOOT

  2. I look forward to the next post! I am impressed that the developer was so open to your concerns

  3. Wow, I am amazed the developer was so considerate. I hope the development works out for both of you.

    - Dave

  4. That's a very creative design. It's not something I would buy, but it's obviously not a cookie cutter infill. Unless I'm mistaken, it should add nicely to the neighbourhood.

  5. Interesting that the developer seemed at least somewhat receptive to your wishes... that's encouraging.

    Speaking of new developments, do you have any hints as to the future of 276 or 357 Preston? 276 Preston being a nice old but underused storefront just north of the queensway that sold recently (I hope it wont be torn down), and 357 being the former Cafe Nostra location...

    I think it's too bad that a few of the shops that recently sold and were undergoing renos (without permits) are now looking so forlorn.

  6. The owner of the cafe nostra building also owns adjacent lots for which he was bringing foreward development applications. With the corner building now gutted by fire, it makes sense to expand the new building to cover that lot too. However, this complicates the insurance issue since he is not rebuilding what was there before. Expect lengthy (years of) delays.
    The old rob way electric/nutone store was pretty inactive. It appears to have a deep lot. I have no idea what the new owner proposes yet.
    thanks for reading, tell your friends to subscribe, and be sure to read part 2 of the infil article appearing soon, as it contains some surprises.