SUSTAINABLE.TO Architecture + Building

Architects
943 Queen Street East, Suite 200 Toronto ON M4M 1J6
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Reviews by rating (past 12 months)

Reviews for SUSTAINABLE.TO Architecture + Building

Average customer rating:
9.8 10 (52 reviews)

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Rob Tooley in Toronto
Rob Tooley in Toronto
0 reviews Toronto, ON
10/10

Full Home Renovation

In 2018, we hired Donald Peckover and the team at Sustainable.TO to design a complete renovation of our ~100 year old Toronto home. They developed innovative design options for us to choose from, provided detailed comprehensive blueprints and worked with us and our great contractors throughout the project. The detailed planning and design work allowed contractors to bid accurately, resulting in a project that was on time and on budget – no scope creep! We were able to move back to our wonderful new home on time and have enjoyed every aspect of our home since. Hiring Sustainable.TO was the best decision we ever made.
Rob and Lisa Tooley

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ebgrant253@gmail.com in Old Toronto
E. 3.
1 review Toronto, ON
10/10

Large bathroom renovation

August 28, 2018
Five years ago, we retained Paul Dowsett and his team of professionals at SUSTAINABLE.TO to design our new main bathroom to replace our original bathroom in our large 1926 tudor style home in the Beaches area of Toronto. Paul and his design team worked extremely well with us by listening to our ideas, making helpful suggestions and incorporating them into the final design to ultimately achieve a wonderful renovation outcome.
Since the completion of our new bathroom, hardly a day goes by that my wife does not remark on how much she loves our new bathroom more and more. The large glass shower is particularly spectacular and functional. The custom designed “floating vanity” which Paul and his team designed for us with the assistance of the manufacturer’s in-house designer exceeds our expectations in terms of both beauty and functionality.

We would not hesitate to recommend SUSTAINABLE.TO to anyone who has a large or small renovation project or complete building project.

Below is our original HomeStars review that we wrote in the summer of 2013.

Brock and Elsie Grant
August 28, 2018

“My wife and I were introduced to Paul Dowsett and his team of professionals at SUSTAINABLE.TO by our general contractor. From the outset of our initial meeting, Paul listened carefully and patiently to our ideas and vision for the design of our new main bathroom to replace our original bathroom in our 1926 tudor style home in the Beaches area of Toronto. We found that Paul as the principal architect and his assigned junior colleague, Sean Maciel worked well together and were extremely knowledgeable and easy to deal with in terms of meeting our expectations. Paul proved to have a wonderful sense of design. The project itself was much more complicated than we originally thought it would be because of our desire to have the bathroom totally updated and modernized while maintaining the integrity of the “original style” and architectural features of the old bathroom that would be in keeping with the age of the home. This resulted in a complete demolition of the bathroom and the addition of a heated floor, movement of the plumbing, the design of a “floating vanity” and the installation of a stand-alone shower in addition to a stand-alone bathtub. Paul made excellent suggestions as to updating the floor and wall tiles, lighting, custom designed vanity and bathroom fixtures while maintaining our home’s architectural features.
Paul and his team attempted to incorporate our suggestions into the design wherever possible. He accompanied us to shop for lighting fixtures, vanity finishes and components as well as floor and wall tiles. They were also very helpful in making excellent suggestions to improve upon our design concepts which in turn resulted in our achieving a new bathroom that was both beautiful and functional.
Paul’s greatest contribution and the most time consuming aspect of the design work involved the design of a custom made floating vanity that incorporated all of the practical features that we wanted in this important piece of bathroom furniture including storage and an oversized sink with two faucets. Paul and his team brought considerable imagination and excellent suggestions to the planning and design details that we would not have otherwise thought about that in the end significantly improved the overall functionality of the finished product. This particular aspect of the job involved Paul and Sean working closely and effectively with the vanity manufacturer’s in-house designer. There were many telephone discussions, e mails and meetings among ourselves, Paul, Sean and the manufacturer’s designer to ensure that the final design met all of our objectives and specifications.
Paul’s sense of design, colour and finish was definitive and “right on” in terms of our making the correct decisions that combined functionality with the overall look that we were trying to achieve with our new bathroom. Paul is a real gentleman who is extremely pleasant to work with in addition to being a very talented architect. Finally he is always available via e mail even in the evenings and weekends to review our suggestions and provide us with important input. It was a real pleasure dealing with Paul and Sean and we would not hesitate to recommend SUSTAINABLE.TO to anyone.”
Brock and Elsie Grant
Summer of 2013

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Company Response

Dear Brock and Elsie:
Thank you so much for this wonderful HomeStars Review.
The entire crew at SUSTAINABLE are so pleased that, 5 years in, you are enjoying your renovation more and more each day.
This is music to our ears ...and simply means that we did our jobs!
All the best!!
Paul

Sharon in Leslieville
Sharon in Leslieville
2 reviews Toronto, ON
10/10

House Design by Sustainable.TO

My partner and I retained Sustainable.TO for our recent house renovation. I was interested in sustainable solutions for heating/cooling as well as building materials.

Paul Dowsett and his team, specifically Donald Peckover, provided a great design with both passive and active sustainable systems (cross-ventilation; operable windows placed to draw hot air up and out in summer while also providing natural light; green roof; HRV/ERV; radiant heating) and incorporated sustainable building materials.

Paul and Donald were friendly and easy to work with and very knowledgeable about different options. They were also able to suggest several general contractors that are familiar with green building.

Overall, we are very happy with our house and the services provided by Sustainable.TO. We definitely recommend them!

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Company Response

Dear Sharon:
Thank you for your lovely review.
It has been the utmost pleasure for Donald and I to work with you and your partner to create a sustainable home that works for both of you ...while retaining the charm of the original home, which you love.
Donald and I, and the rest of the Sustainable team, hope that you are happy and comfortable in your ‘new’ energy-efficient home for many years to come!
Paul

K F-Smith in Pickering
K F-Smith in Pickering
0 reviews Toronto, ON
10/10

Making a Home Accessible

We needed our beautiful new home adapted for accessibility reasons. Paul and his team came in and undertook a review and produced a design solution that was better than I had ever expected or anticipated. The team was easy to deal with and listened to all my suggestions and input. After obtaining our variance approvals, we are now in the process of interviewing contractors and making arrangements to be out of the house before construction to begins. Highly recommend this design group. Many Many thanks.

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Company Response

Dear K: Thank you so much for your review for Sustainable.TO. My 30+ years volunteering with people with disabilities certainly comes in handy when designing adaptions to a home for accessibility. An earlier example is our Wellington County Farmhouse, here https://www.sustainable.to/wellington-county-farmhouse. Your house can not be adapted for your needs soon enough for me. Everyone here at Sustainable. is looking forward to seeing you happily living in your 'soon-to-be-newly-adapted' home!
Paul

karenstelling in Toronto
karenstelling in Toronto
0 reviews Toronto, ON
10/10

Second Story Addition

We selected Sustainable.TO to be the architects for our second story addition and could not be happier with our choice. Prior to our engagement, they came by for a site visit to discuss some of our wants, and some things we could do with the existing structure to increase the sustainability of the renovation. Once we started the job, they came prepared with several preliminary floorplans for us to choose from, and then further developed those with our personal needs in mind. Their ability to navigate the City of Toronto’s permitting and adjustments processes was incredible, and saved us a huge amount of trouble, as they were able to head off issues before they became problematic.
After we received our permits, the staff at Sustainable.TO remained incredible to work with. Steve (our architect) was available to answer structural questions with our builders and our engineer, and Kelsey (their building scientist) was always at the ready with answers to any questions about the best products to use, or best practices on how to use those products. They worked with us both on-site and over email to provide quick, well informed answers to the most important questions related to our build.
We would not hesitate to recommend Sustainable.TO to anyone looking to undertake a large renovation. Not only does our house look incredible, it fits our exact needs perfectly and was designed with a sustainability front-of-mind. You couldn’t ask for a better partner in a home renovation than the staff at Sustainable.TO.

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Company Response

Thank you for the great review, Karen.
On behalf of Steve and Kelsey, please accept Sustainable.TO’s heartfelt gratitude for offering us such a great project on which to work.
We hope that you and your family will be happy and comfortable in your ‘new’ energy-efficient home for many years to come!
Paul

Lily in Toronto
Lily in Toronto
0 reviews Toronto, ON
10/10

multi-unit family home

We worked with Paul and Donald to convert our multi-unit house to suit our family’s needs. The main floor now gives my father-in-law privacy, with a senior-friendly bathroom, a bedroom and living area. The new kitchen and dining area at the front of the house, where we all can come together, offers a place for my father to interact with the rest of the family. This suits our need for large family gatherings and our need to be able to retreat into our private spaces. Everyone is happy. We are also pleased with the exterior insulation and overclad. We noticed the difference this has made; the exterior walls felt warm in the winter months. We upgraded the heating system. This included radiant flooring which the whole family enjoys. Paul and Donald, thank you for your creative solutions and listening to our needs!

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Company Response

Thank you, Lily:
Donald and I are so pleased that you and your extended family can now enjoy living in well-organized, separate spaces under one roof. That you are able to do so in energy-efficient comfort is simply a bonus.
The whole team at Sustainable.TO hopes that your whole family will continue to enjoy your upgraded home for many years to come.
Paul & Donald

HomeStars in Toronto
HomeStars in Toronto
0 reviews Toronto, ON
10/10

Main floor reno, 1950's semi

Paul Dowsett and Joel Anderson helped me when I decided to renovate the main floor of my home. With their help we took out a wall and changed to an open plan main floor. They provided all the required plans and permits in order to enable this renovation. I am extremely pleased with the end results!

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Company Response

Thanks for your review, S.
At Sustainable.TO, we are extremely pleased that you are extremely pleased ...and hope that you enjoy your updated home for many years to come!

Private User
Private User
Private User reviews Toronto, ON
10/10

Creative and Know Their Stuff

I have worked with Sustainable TO for several years on various commercial projects, large and small. Paul and Donald are creative on design issues and thorough in their knowledge and attention to the rules and processes which affect each job. Our primary engagement has focused on a Heritage property, circa 1867, which is quite a challenge. Paul and Donald really know their stuff.

Brendan Wood
Brendan Wood International

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Company Response

Thanks for the referral, Brendan! It is our pleasure at Sustainable.TO to combine our knowledge of working with historic homes with the needs of modern office spaces. Working with Brendan Wood International continues to be a rare treat!!

tim.cormick in
tim.cormick in
0 reviews , ON
10/10

Mixed Use Commercial Residential

The Sustainable.to team assisted us with transforming a 1906 downtown red brick heritage commercial building into an updated and sought after retail space on the ground floor and a wonderful 2600 sq ft residential unit above and to the rear. Paul and team are great listeners and collaborators. They balanced the heritage designation, zoning bylaws, building code, budget, sustainability and vision. The STO team proposed a third floor that changes everything including a south facing outdoor room that doubles as a passive heat source, quite brilliant. The building won the Collingwood Heritage Award in 2017.

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Company Response

Thanks Tim: It was our pleasure to help you to give another life to your fabulous heritage building in Collingwood. We hope that the energy-efficient, and beautiful, mixed-use result provides you income, and a great place to live, for many years to come!

michelle arteaga in
michelle arteaga in
0 reviews Oakville, ON
10/10

New home build

Our home was originally a 1950 side split with many stairs, drafty windows and one bathroom. Our family of five didn’t grow into it as easily as we thought it would. Especially with a young son with special needs.

We hired Sustainable.TO Architecture + Building after years of carrying around old newspaper articles on the work the company did. Our leads were Paul Dowsett and Steve Socha and we couldn’t have been happier.
They patiently reviewed our endless requirement lists, Houzz photo files and our need to see everything on paper in order to understand the vision.

We ended up with a beautiful home which accomodates our current lifestyle and will allow us to continue meeting the needs of our special needs son. As well, whether we believe it or not may age one day too...

Steve and Paul were especially educated in helping us understand and decide on the many seen, and unseen, energy efficient features. Our energy bills and maintenance of the home have already proven to be our favourite features of the house.

They were also extremely knowledgeable and professional when aiding us at the Committee of Adjustment meetings where they provided a professional fact heavy presentation to the town in order for them to understand why we had many of the features we were asking approval for. We truly feel that our home would not look or work the way it does without this initial hurdle conquered by Paul and Steve.

Overall we would highly recommend Sustainable.TO. for big or small projects because the value they add to the efficiency and beauty of your project will be enjoyed for many years to come.

Sustainable.TO provides beautiful designs that blend what you've dreamed about and add incredible behind the wall features to ensure the structure itself will keep you safe and warm for your life time and in our case our children’s.

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Company Response

Dear Michelle:
It was absolutely our pleasure, both myself and Steve ...and the whole STO team ...to work with you and your family to realize your dream home.
To hear how happy you are in your new home is the highest praise that we can receive.
That your energy bills are now so tiny is the icing on the cake!
We hope that you and your family enjoy your home for many years to come!!
Paul

The reviews on this page are the subjective opinion of the Author and not of HomeStars Inc.

More about SUSTAINABLE.TO Architecture + Building

SUSTAINABLE.TO Architecture + Building provides sensible, sensitive & sustainable solutions to create or renovate your home or workspace.

After three decades of green architectural practice, I understand the client's challenge: to see clearly through the fog of green technologies, products and philosophies. I began SUSTAINABLE.TO to provide expert resource and energy-efficient design /build solutions that are realistic, healthy and affordable.

Awards:
2018 - Winner of Youth Impact Award for Business from the Rotary Club of Toronto West
2016 & 2017 - Best Design Firm as voted by NOW Magazine Readers' Choice awards
2017 - Winner of Certificate of Excellence for outstanding achievements and dedication to Scarborough.
2017 - Winner of Urban Hero award for Community Engagement (Paul Dowsett)
2016 - The first renovation project in Toronto to receive the LEED Platinum for Homes from the Canada Green Building Council.
2015 - Winner of Design and System Integration excellence at the annual U.S. Department of Energy "Race to Zero" competition (in partnership with Ryerson University)
2014 - Aster Awards Winner, selected by the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign (NAPPC) as the 2014 Pollinator Advocate for Canada
2014 - Winner of the United Way - Bhayana Family Foundation Awards for the Community Design Initiative
2013 - Winner of the American Institute of Architects (AIA)-sponsored international competition, Resilient House for Far Rockaway, New York
2012 - Shortlisted entry in the Cambodian Sustainable Housing Competition for Habitat for Humanity
2012 - First Architects to receive the Healthy Housing Award from CMHC (Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation)
2011 - Winner of International Competition by "Design by Many" for Low Cost/Low Energy Passive House for New Orleans
2010 - "For the Birds" Competition Finalist in support of the Toronto Botanical Garden

CATEGORIES
Architects, Design/Build, and Design/Project Management
SERVICES
Our expertise in navigating environmental concerns, project budgets, social considerations, and municipal approvals allows us to efficiently complete projects at many scales. We will carry a project from early stages of Conceptual Design (often in the form of sketches, diagrams, and models) through to Design Development (further refining use, form, and material) and concluding with Municipal Permit Applications and Construction Documents. The decisions made in the early stages of design ensure success throughout a project.
STYLES
Sustainable architecture doesn't have a style! Any building can implement sustainable strategies to make it more green, healthy, comfortable, and energy efficient. Whether you're looking for modern, traditional, or something in between, we can help you out.
SPECIALITIES
renovation/addition, new construction, residential, commercial buildings, institutional buildings, passive design, net-zero, off-grid, grid-connected, heritage preservation, adaptive re-use, retrofit design, tenant improvement
WEBSITE
http://www.sustainable.to
YEAR ESTABLISHED
2009
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES
10
PAYMENT METHOD
cheque, e-transfer
LICENSES
OAA
MEMBERSHIPS
MRAIC, LEED AP, CanPHI Passive House Planner
LIABILITY INSURANCE
Yes
DIPLOMAS
B.E.S., B.Arch.
WORKERS COMPENSATION
Yes
BONDED
Yes
PROJECT RATE
as required
WRITTEN CONTRACT
Yes
Company profile information is not moderated by HomeStars. Ask the contractor to verify before hiring.