About a country house renovation
“Seventeen years ago, we had bought a home on a beautiful 2-acre property. But now, it was time to update the house with a modern kitchen and a great room in an open concept style. We retained the services of Harry Lay Architect … we now have a house that takes full advantage of the surroundings and provides a lovely kitchen and great room: the acme of comfort and style in all seasons.
The whole process was pleasurable. Harry worked with us on design and budget, assisted in selecting finishes which were practical and at the best prices without sacrificing quality or style. He located a hardworking contractor using local trades and, in addition, was on the site frequently to ensure good construction. Contrary to what you read about renovations, ours was completed within the budget.
As an investment, we feel that the time and money spent on the renovation is unparalleled, not only in our enjoyment of the home, but also in the improvement in value of our property.
We cannot speak too highly of the services that Harry provided.”
K. Ayres, Milton Ont.
About a downtown renovation
“We really cannot express how pleased we are with the re-design of our first floor — thanks to Harry. Our house, built in Rosedale circa 1900, had a very small kitchen, an overly large dining room, and a totally unusable back room leading to the garden. Harry came in and saw immediately how it “should” look. We now have a lovely large kitchen, a sitting area where the kitchen was, and a dining room overlooking the garden with 7 foot high windows. It honestly looks like a new house, while still maintaining the charm and traditional detailing of the original.
Harry was very respectful of our input, and gently led us to where we should be in terms of design. When we hosted my husband’s 40th birthday, all 60 of the guests were raving about how well laid out the renovation is, and what a beautiful flow had been created.
Harry worked very well with our contractor and was very professional in all of our dealings. Without hesitation would we recommend him to our friends and family!”
About a Toronto home
“We are committed city-dwellers, and after buying a historic, 3-storey Victorian house in downtown Toronto, we looked for help in improving it. Our tastes are both modern and classic. We recognized that our home (a former rooming house) possessed great potential. It had high ceilings, great formal rooms graced by fireplaces, as well as space for a vast kitchen. We searched for someone who could realize that potential.
We had some serious structural and planning issues to resolve. After we reviewed Harry Lay’s suggestions for remedies and costs, we gave him free rein to manage the whole project. Years of neglect meant that all parts of the home had to be rejuvenated. We had problems with the heating and cooling; the lighting was terrible; we needed a new staircase, and all aspects of the interior design needed a professional touch.
Harry has struck a balance between old and new in our home. It now shows off all the best parts of its’ age, without making sacrifices to modern function. The design for our home has captured exactly the spirit that we wanted to convey. The principal rooms sparkle; our third floor is a romantic aerie.
Harry worked alongside the builder to tailor the work carefully to our needs, and shepherded our budget through to the end of construction. We are happy to suggest that any home design, be it modern or classic, would profit from Harry’s care.”
J. Black and B. Allan, Toronto, Ont.
About a Muskoka cottage
“Your renovation has preserved the look and feel of a cottage that has enjoyed almost 100 years of family ownership. Doing a major renovation like this required an architect we could trust to carry out our wishes and to see that the work was done well and on time. You did all this and were terrific to work with.
The beautiful cottage we now have will be enjoyed by my family for another 100 years.”
Kirtland Gardner, Tuscon, Arizona
Of Harry Morison Lay’s Doritty Residence in Port Hope:
“Elevated in a secluded inner hollow of the town [Port Hope], this beautifully proportioned house is a fine blend of the traditional with the modern, where nothing seems out of place.”
Architectural Conservancy’s Guide to Port Hope, 1997
About a century farmhouse
About a Millbrook renovation by Harry Morison Lay, Architect:
“We searched high and low for the Toronto Architect who could best handle the tough job of renovating our century-old farmhouse. We chose Harry Lay because of his beautiful work. We chose him for his excellent rapport with builders. We chose Harry for his wonderful feeling for Ontario architecture. And we would recommend him to anyone interested in design, be it for a home or a country place.”
Mrs. H. S. Gooderham, Millbrook, Ont
About a cottage on bass lake
About a new Muskoka cottage by Harry Morison Lay, Architect:
“It’s a great feeling seeing the neighbours boat by and give the “thumbs up” sign when they see us. We are delighted with how nicely the cottage nestles in with the surrounding forest and terrain. The porch view both up and down the lake is magnificent. Pam and I think the fees paid to your company were the best investment we could have made in this project. Thanks for your professional advice, support and guidance!”
Mr. D. Blakey, Bass Lake, Ont.
About a cottage on Port Severn
About a private country house by Harry Morison Lay, Architect:
“We couldn’t have been more pleased and satisfied with the experience, skill, creativity and talent that Harry brings to bear in his work. Harry is a very good listener with a talent for translating dreams into realities. He is very careful not to impose his own views, but will work as a partner in developing solutions that align with our own style.
In our project … Harry not only creatively but very enthusiastically met the challenges that we had struggled with for years. The end result is that they have turned out to be the signature features of our building! Harry handled our work very independently, managing the general contractor, subcontractors and all the liaisons with the government bodies for permits, with little involvement from us once the plans were agreed upon. We are especially indebted to him for his skill in this aspect of the work. We would not hesitate in any way to use Harry’s services again (and, in fact, are doing so, as we head into Phase 2 of our project).”
Glenn and Trish Jones, Port Severn, Ont.
About a City of Toronto Heritage award
At the initiative of Harry Lay, the front Portico of Regal Road School in the Oakwood neighborhood of Toronto was completely restored. This historic landmark was built originally in 1913, and constructed in Toronto brick and Birmingham sandstone. The stonework on the building facade had fallen into a state of disrepair when the local citizens, lead by Harry Lay, undertook its restoration. The project was awarded the City of Toronto 2008 Heritage Award.
“Congratulations on your 2008 Heritage Toronto Award! Your hard work and dedication to our city’s heritage have enriched the quality of life in Toronto, and we are enormously grateful for your efforts.”
Peggy Mooney, Executive Director, Heritage Toronto
“The Regal Road School Portico became a priority of the Residents’ Association, and in particular of Harry Lay, the immediate neighbour. TDSB budgets are very tight and the TDSB was unwilling to restore the Portico. Grant funding was subsequently approved under a new Heritage Preservation program for public buildings… Harry Lay, an architect by trade, was able to use his contacts and own expertise to get a more reasonable cost estimate for the work and make the restoration a reality.
This is what can happen when resourceful residents (like Harry) band together with the Councillor and put their minds to something.”
Cesar Palacio, Councillor, City of Toronto
About a downtown Toronto addition and renovation
Five years ago, we decided to renovate our modest century-old home. Friends recommended that we engage Harry Lay as an architect who would be perfect for the job. They were absolutely right.
Harry guided us through every phase of the project in a very professional manner. He patiently listened to our wish list, and explained what was and was not possible; drafted the request for proposal that was provided to select contractors, and helped us understand the pros and cons of their responding bids; oversaw the work of the contractor, to ensure that the work was done fully and properly; and made sure that the project stayed both on time and within our limited budget.
We have now been back in our home for more than three years. The result is stunning. Harry’s design has preserved the essential historic quality of our home while seamlessly adding new elements. We could not be more pleased with the result.
Carol Gallagher and Delmar Doucette
About a house renovation in Regal Heights
Harry Lay has done an excellent job with our renovation, and we couldn’t be more pleased with the results.
When my husband and I decided that we needed to renovate our century-old home, our main considerations were budget and to maximize light and space. Having formerly been broken up into apartments, the house was very dark, and when Harry came to see it, he gave it detailed tours from the top floor to the basement. He sat with us for hours, on several occasions, listening to our wants and needs. He is a very good listener and is excellent with our small children. He knew we had a very limited budget, and came back to us with drawings for a beautiful, open, modern, light-filled space that still kept some of the traditional elements of the house that we loved (for example, the wood balustrades, cast-iron radiators, and pocket doors, all of which were then restored).
Then came time to find a contractor. Harry helped us to find the best possible contractor for our small budget. During the work, Harry was at our house almost every day, checking in with the contractor and trades, and keeping everyone to a strict time line. There are countless times that without Harry’s close scrutiny, the project could have ended up costing us much more time and money. We are thankful for his close attention during the whole process.
Now, we love our home. It is perfect for entertaining and people always admire its unique design is unique, beautiful, yet highly practical and functional design. We are very happy with Harry’s work and proud to show off his design. We will undoubtedly work with him again in the future.
Leslie Brown, 2013