A house in Oshawa filled with water in its heart

Paul Brown / HomeTours / Paul Brown / HomeTours

154 Glenwood Crescent, Oshawa, Ont.

The question about the price: $119,999

Taxes: $5806.10 (2022)

big size: 62.5 x 120 feet

Lisitng Agent: Pino Bruni, Re/Max Jazz Inc.


While walking the trail of 154 Glenwood Cres. However, it may not be obvious that under your feet is a little landscape and ecological technology central to the owner’s life.

“We broke down the long driveway with concrete inserts to reduce rain runoff, and it descends straight toward the west side of the house, so we set up a rain garden along the west that takes up all the water,” said Tracy Patterson, one of those. Business Principles for Water Management Solutions that work with conservation districts, municipalities and businesses to address the increasingly vital issue of mitigating extreme weather events. “I deal with a lot of runoff issues, and lanes are a huge resource. … A lot of our storm water streams are going straight into streams. So you can imagine the crap being carried downstream.” In addition to plants thirsty and hardy for absorbing runoff, the landscape is also littered with pollinator cultivations that support native bee populations.

Ms. Patterson initially wanted a job in zoology, but ended up being drawn to work aimed at protecting the ecosystem, the growing quest to use “green infrastructure” to protect humans from flood and drought conditions caused by climate change.

The shift in her profession has seen a growing appreciation of the vital role that landscape plays in managing water systems, to the point that it can be cheaper and more efficient to go natural than to rely on man-made engineered systems like pipes and tanks. “Instead of looking at a forest and saying it’s just a forest, or a wetland and saying it’s just a wetland, we see there is an incentive to protect those natural parts of the watershed which is a function of significant cost savings, not to mention risk mitigation,” she said.

  • House of the Week, 154 Glenwood Crescent, Oshawa, Ont.Paul Brown / HomeTours / Paul Brown / HomeTours

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And when it came to renovating her old 1950s Oshawa home, she and her partner applied the same idea when adapting the mid-century structure to make the most of the natural environment.

home today

When Ms. Patterson bought the home a decade ago with partner Marcus Adrian McDowell, it wasn’t exactly a dream come true.

It was hard to sell,” said Mrs. Patterson, who came home from downtown Toronto. Her mother, on the other hand, lived in the Uxbridge countryside—“that was pure country”—and the suburban space didn’t call her .until I got to Glenwood.

“This enclave is known as Glens, or North Glens, and is one of the most sought-after destinations in Oshawa,” said listing agent Benno Bruni.

“As we drove down the street, I looked at all these huge trees, this house up on the hill, against a big park with giant fir trees, and down the hill a canyon. … You are just an idea,” said Mrs. Patterson. It has since been refuted; It’s nice when it’s dark at night and quiet.”

Some of the interior finishes were less beautiful, which had hardly been updated since the house was built and had wear and tear and old-fashioned style: ‘One bathroom was entirely in lime green and black,’ said Mrs. Patterson.

“We didn’t have a big budget so we read a lot about mid-century modern design, so we did drawings on graph paper,” she said. When their drawings became too complex, crayons appeared to help define their ideas. “It’s been a slow process, and my partner is a musician and so he’s very artistic and creative, and he’s created amazing things.”

One of the first things they did was redefine the entrance by closing off the vestibule, a project that also revealed a 10-square-foot void behind a torn wall, a space that was added to a main floor bathroom.

The house is divided on four levels and the stairs leading to the upstairs bedrooms are just to the left of the entrance, while the kitchen is directly in front. On the right is a brick wall that doubles as a fireplace chimney that anchors the sitting room to the right side of the hall, which shares half the floor with a formal dining space that also connects to the kitchen.

The house is divided on four levels and the stairs leading to the upstairs bedrooms are just to the left of the entrance, while the kitchen is directly in front.Paul Brown / HomeTours / Paul Brown / HomeTours

The environmental theme continues with new floors throughout that are sustainably FSC certified, and three-inch compact, energy-efficient LED lighting.

A half wall with three tall rectangular slots separates the kitchen from the dining space, and these cut-outs are an idea that will pop up over and over again. The dining room has a tall rectangular window about three-quarters of the way up that lets in light while not offering curious neighbors views of dinner, and this window shape will also be repeated throughout the house. Even the kitchen has large windows, but they are wider than they are in length.

Referring to Frank Lloyd Wright’s turn-of-the-century designs, Ms. Patterson said, like the famous Ruby’s house that features those tall, narrow windows. The original Glenwood house didn’t have many internal connections, as it was divided by multiple staircases. So in several places, the couple cut more rectangles through the walls to create openings between the floors. “It has this linear feel, so let’s go with it…we wanted the light from the windows to go through all the different areas,” she said.

There is a hole in the floor level in the kitchen that looks through a glass gas fireplace to the living room below. As you go up the stairs into this room from the kitchen, the supporting wall has more rectangles cut into it, and on the same wall as the fireplace window is another window cut into the wall again to draw light to the lowest level of the house (down another set of stairs).

This basement room has another wall-mounted gas fireplace, next to a wall-mounted TV. The back wall of this space is filled with cupboards for storage.

Upstairs, the couple pushed ceilings up into dormer windows to expose the ceiling rafters, giving the space more light and height. All three bedrooms are also uniquely decorated.

The basement room has another wall-mounted gas fireplace, next to a wall-mounted TV.Paul Brown / HomeTours / Paul Brown / HomeTours

Favorite space

Garden Room: This is what Mrs. Patterson calls the level just below the kitchen, which has a dry bar with wine fridge and seating area facing double glass doors that walk into the patio and backyard. Behind this living space is a laundry area and another guest bathroom.

“I love having coffee there,” thanks to the view over the wooded garden, and the sense of solitude and connection to nature that high windows provide elsewhere. “My partner loves downstairs, taps the fire, brings his guitar and loves to hang out with his musician friends. They’re right there, they can do whatever they want and I can do what’s mine,” she said.

Some mid-century homes are tall and low with wide open living spaces, while the detached level has a more choppy design. Mrs. Patterson and Mr. McDowell’s colorful pencil drawings envisioned connecting those spaces to the scraps while leaving them separate enough for different programming. For them, it’s the best of both worlds.

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