We shared the MLS listing on this project a few months ago when it was listed for sale. Selling for a record 1.6 million in the Queen West, Trinity Bellwoods area this home set a new bar for the neighbourhood.
When we began working with Matuu Building Specialists on this project, it was fully gutted, with only the original brick exterior maintained. The home was rebuilt, starting with a new basement walk-out, lowering and underpinning, with now full basement apartment, and wine cellar. The front facade was redone, windows replaced, and the traditional front porch was removed and modernized with a full width Ipe stair and canopy.
The main floor rear elevation was removed, and a full width accordion door was installed allowing the family room to be 100% open to the backyard. The second floor was replanned and the stair placement reconfigured to optimise the space, allowing for 3 full bedrooms, a family washroom, laundry room, and open office which leads to a new juliet balcony. On the third floor we popped-up the roof line and extended allowing the addition of a spa washroom, and walkout to new roof deck, as well as sizeable master suite.
Finishing features, rift-cut white oak floors, recessed baseboards, and open-tread floating stairs from main to second floor.
This young family had a great house, in a great neighborhood. This project is an example of what I’m seeing allot of now, rather than selling and getting pulled into Toronto’s inflated bidding wars, my clients are enlisting us to work with what they have. The truth is, more often than not, what they have would be perfect with a little planning tweak and renovation. That’s exactly what we did here. This home was typical of the time, having smaller defined rooms creating proper living, dining and kitchen. This family of 5 wanted a cool, open concept space that let them interact as a family and maximize on the backyard views. My contractor Matt Creelman [Mattu Building Specialists] and I gave them what they wanted!
Here’s what we did:
We removed all main floor walls, some of which were indeed load-bearing. My engineer Marek from Gabris and Associates, worked with me to open the space, while eliminating the need for any dropped beams. We also modified the rear elevation, adding double doors where a small window was, and removing a patio door allowing the kitchen to wrap the corner. Having a great brick mason is the key to victory on a brick home like this. Ours did a staller job piecing in salvaged bricks on the back, hiding any sign that a reno had taken place.
A stock kitchen was perfect here, giving us a slick clean look and keeping budget in check. We opted for higher end Ceaser Stone counters and a water fall counter in carrara marble on the island. A great tip here, was ordering extra cladding panels from the kitchen company allowing us to cut them down to size, creating a matched coat closet at the top of the stairs.
A few original details were maintained, saving on budget and letting a bit of the original character to show itself in an otherwise modern reno. The stair pickets were painted in the same colour and finish as the walls which gives them an almost textural feel in the space as opposed to a more typical gloss contrast finish. The handrail is a charcoal grey, which is carried throughout the upper floors on the interior doors.
FP Design did all the drapery and roller shades in the entire house. I wanted the living room existing window to be obscured with a wall to wall sheer, and linen drape. The drape going wall to wall, floor to ceiling allowed us to bring in a sizable credenza and TV that otherwise would have looked off balance. The drapery allowed us to define where the window started and stopped, and I had them install it on a ceiling mounted commercial style track.
Engineered floors were installed on all floors in a dark brown, almost espresso colour. The contrast of the Benjamin Moore CC-40 white walls, with the dark floors is a dramatic touch here. The floors are all from Value Wood Floors in Etobicoke.
Perhaps my favorite piece of the entire renovation, was the dining table. I custom designed this modern harvest table and had a local carpenter make it for us out of solid walnut. An oiled finish lets the grain and colour really pop, and we paid far less than any retail option would have been!
The 2nd floor layout was unchanged, but the interior finishes and fixtures were updated, closets were fitted with custom fittings. A surprise for the Mrs. was a piece of carrara marble I added in her walk-in closet. Simple details like a marble shelf to hold her jewelery and special bits are great ways to brighten your daily routines. A previously unused 2nd floor den received a new bookcase, cozy pull-out sofa for guests, and had the added bonus a a freshly exposed brick wall. My client reports tell me this is now one of their favorite rooms in the house allowing mom a quiet room to read, and the kids a place to watch morning cartoons before the family heads downstairs.
DYK if you live in a semi-detached home, the party wall if brick, can be exposed, cleaned and sealed with mineral spirits. We often don’t realize what beauty is already in our homes, maybe it’s hidden!
The 3rd floor was already 3 bedrooms and a washroom, housing their 3 small children. This floor was poorly planned and one of the main reasons the home owners wanted to move in the beginning. I was able to rework the planning, stealing a closet here, and hall space there. In the end there are now 3 perfect children’s rooms, and one enviable shared washroom with tub and skylight to boot!
The last place we touched was the basement. Opting for a warm charcoal grey wall to wall carpet, and maintaining but refacing existing built-ins, we succeeding in properly tying this space in with the rest of the house while not dedicating too much of our budget. The basement washroom was also refinished carrying the material palette from the upper floors ensured it didn’t feel like the forgotten cousin. I purchased all of the plumbing fixtures from my now over-worked pal Tino, at Downtown Tile on Ossington. The secret is out about Tino’s exceptional product knowledge and I’m afraid he’s always running about like a headless chicken! If you can catch him, I promise he won’t let you down.
With my holiday down time I’m catching up on my magazine readings… My lead contractor Matthew (Matt) Creelman, who’s received my unabashed praise before, was featured in Toronto Life’s Real Estate Guide 2010. I actually think the last question they featured was referring to my past praise and devotion notations!
It’s also hilarious that they call him Canada’s Ty Pennington, given the fact I had him in the running for my contractor on HGTV’s Marriage Under Construction. Matt is efficient, practical and honest. I use him because he’s exemplary in a business with a reputation for otherwise. He didn’t persue the show because he was busy. Taking on this extra project would compromise his current projects. Case in point!
Pick up a copy of Toronto Life’s Real Estate Guide 2010 to check out the full article. It’s on news stands now.