• Wed. Nov 29th, 2023

    Revitalizing Laneways: An Innovative Approach to Housing

    ByEmma Wolukau-Wanambwa

    Nov 20, 2023
    Revitalizing Laneways: An Innovative Approach to Housing

    The demand for affordable housing in urban areas has driven creative solutions to maximize space and provide unique living options. One such initiative is the revitalization of laneways, transforming underutilized spaces into desirable living quarters.

    Inspired by London’s renowned mews, George Emerson embarked on a project in October 2020 to build two parkside laneway suites alongside his neighbors on Gerrard East. He saw the potential in the two side-by-side semis, envisioning modern, comfortable units that could be rented out.

    Joined by Jon Braun, who owned a neighboring detached house, the duo enlisted the expertise of architects from Lanescape, along with interior designer Carolina Murialdo and builder Maxwell Contracting. The result? Two stylish units that seamlessly integrate into the existing neighborhood, boasting high-quality finishes and thoughtful design.

    The completed units, finished in the fall of 2022, offer spacious living spaces. Emerson’s homes are approximately 1,500 square feet, each featuring three bedrooms and two and a half bathrooms. Braun’s unit is slightly smaller, offering 1,100 square feet with two bedrooms and two and a half bathrooms. The rental market responded positively, with one of Emerson’s units already leased for an impressive sum of $5,495 per month.

    Taking a virtual tour of one of the units reveals the attention to detail and functional layouts. The main floor showcases three thoughtfully designed bedrooms, including a flexible office space and a main bedroom with an ensuite bathroom. The wide-plank flooring throughout is not only stylish but also offers the luxury of heated floors.

    Upstairs, an open-concept kitchen, living, and dining space awaits. The kitchen is equipped with modern amenities, including a three-seat island, ample storage, and Caesarstone counters. This space seamlessly connects to a balcony overlooking the courtyard, providing a peaceful oasis.

    The exterior of the laneway units complements the surrounding architecture with red-brick detailing, composite-wood accents, and matte-black metal cladding. The result is a harmonious blend of heritage and contemporary design elements.

    The revitalization of laneways as livable spaces presents a fresh perspective on housing in urban areas. By repurposing existing resources, these laneway suites offer an innovative and sustainable solution to the ongoing affordable housing crisis.


    1. What is a laneway suite?

    A laneway suite is a self-contained living unit that is constructed in the rear laneway of residential properties. These suites provide additional housing options within existing urban areas.

    2. How are laneway suites different from traditional homes?

    Laneway suites are often smaller in size and are designed to maximize space efficiency. They offer a unique housing alternative that capitalizes on underutilized areas, such as laneways.

    3. Are laneway suites affordable?

    While affordability can vary depending on location and market conditions, laneway suites have the potential to provide more affordable housing options due to their smaller size and lower building costs compared to traditional homes.

    4. How can laneway suites contribute to urban revitalization?

    By repurposing existing laneways and underutilized spaces, laneway suites can contribute to the revitalization of urban areas. They promote infill development, maximize land usage, and add density to established neighborhoods.

    5. How can I get involved in laneway revitalization projects?

    If you are interested in laneway revitalization projects or have a story to share, you can reach out to [email protected] to connect and contribute to the conversation.