House Tour

Hi & welcome to our house. The story of our house begins in May 2007 when we purchased it three months before our wedding. We live in a typical red brick, two-story, semi-detached house in midtown Toronto. We loved the traditional character of the house but when we purchased it, it was  covered in sea of pink carpet (even in the bathroom), cat hair, and floral wallpaper - a real fixer-upper. We started tearing out the carpet the day we got the keys and have have been slowly renovating it room by room ever since.

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Eager to try out the power tools we got as wedding gifts (yup, we had a table saw, a nail gun, and a router on our registry!), we started with the simplest room in our house - the dining room.


Down came the wallpaper and out went the pink carpet. HandyMan figured out the layout for the wainscot which we built out of MDF, hardboard, and a pine chair rail. New plantation shutters and wallpaper brought the room to life. We built the first of our radiator covers and added some drapery and lighting to create a stylish space to enjoy our meals.

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Stuck indoors because of the abundant snowstorms of winter 2007, we spontaneously decided to give our home office a facelift. 


A quick coat of paint added instant cheeriness to the space then the real work started. Some MacGyver-ing of IKEA countertops and bookcases created a functional office for two.  To soften the hard lines of the cabinetry, we added an art gallery wall, drapery, and an inspiration board. The office was a great place to work and create.

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After hosting a few family get-togethers over the holidays, we quickly realized our 1950's kitchen was not going to cut it. With a stove that couldn't even fit a cookie sheet and a serious lack of counterspace, the kitchen needed an overhaul from top to bottom.


Starting in the spring of 2008, we demolished the room, framed out the walls, and repaired the floor joist. We had the pros come in to do the drywall and electrical work, then we painted and laid the floor tile. After figuring out the cabinet layout and selecting appliances, the cabinets, countertop, and backsplash were installed. Small details like window trim, brushed hardware, and reproduction lighting added to the bistro look we were going for. We DIY'd a chalkboard and installed a TV, transforming the kitchen into a marriage of style and function.

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Soon after we finished the kitchen, we found out were expecting a baby! Nothing motivates you to get home projects done faster than a new baby on the way. So in full nesting mode, we decided to undertake two renovations at the same time - the main bathroom and the nursery.

The bathroom was the scariest room in the house. I'm not even joking. Not only was it small and cramped, but it had carpet on the floor (ewwww!) and a floor to ceiling hand painted mural of Monet's Waterlilies


HandyMan busted out his architect drawing skills and we came up with plans for the bathroom layout and floor tile design. With two rooms on the go, we brought in the professionals to do the demolition, the drywall, installation of the tub, and the gorgeous floor tile. Going for a Parisian bath look, we picked some sleek fixtures and a mix of simple white tiles. HandyMan installed all the wall tiles himself. New window coverings, artwork, and a frosted door finished off the space, giving us the blissful bathroom we craved.

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The nursery was a space that had to be multi-functional. We knew our baby would be staying in our room for a while and grandma would also be staying over and needing a place to sleep so we designed it as a guest bedroom with nursery touches.


The room lacked any personality and storage space. By adding built-in wardrobes and a window seat over the radiator, we added storage and created a real focal point in the room. To keep things soft and sweet, we added plush carpeting, DIY heirloom artwork, and bunting. We decorated with whimsical accessories, creating a room for all of us to enjoy.

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With all these renovations ongoing, you would think our master bedroom would be a refuge from all of the dust and debris. Umm, not really. For three years, we lived a bedroom with dingy yellow walls, a floral border, and ugly blue curtains, all courtesy of the previous owner.


After the baby arrived, we decided it was time to focus on the bedroom. We framed out the wall around the bumpout, leaving a flat wall that would allow for better furniture layout and creation of a dramatic panelled wall. The vintage vibe was enhanced by the custom floral curtains, artwork and lighting. Now its our favourite room in the house!

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By 2011, we decided it was finally time to renovate the first room you see when  you enter our house - the living room.


The 1980's wallpaper was removed and we figured out the furniture layout. HandyMan then built the fireplace frame and we spent agonizing weeks trying to decide on fireplace tile, finally creating something both modern and classic. The perfect grey paint was put on the walls, supersized art was hung, and we found and repainted a hutch and dresser to add some vintage charm. Everything came together to create a room full of colour and pattern.

In early 2012, Erin McLaughlin, Editor In Chief of Style At Home magazine, conducted a tour of our living room and dining room for CityLine. See the video below:


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In 2012, we embarked upon our biggest renovation yet: our 700 sq ft basement

The formerly dingy stairwell became a stylish mini-mudroom with the addition of custom trimwork. The charming original milk door turned mailbox was retained but received a needed update with bright aqua paint and new hardware.


Our second bathroom, the Van Gogh sunflower bathroom (yes, another floor to ceiling mural!), was transformed into a modern vintage stunner. Beadboard wainscot paired with modern graphic wallpaper for an appealing mix. We added storage with open shelving and decorated with vintage touches.


The large laundry room was functional but severely lacking in storage, counterspace, and style. We came up with a new galley-style layout that maximized use of the space while a glass tile backsplash, Ikea cabinetry, in-floor heating, and stainless steel countertops that we installed ourselves really created the ultimate laundry room.


And in the main area, the closed off kitchenette and playroom became a large open space that incorporated both a craft area...




home office...

and hidden playhouse under the stairs.

While work was going on inside, a bit of work was happening outside too. 



We built this bench for our back deck, added some lighting and accessories to make it a comfortable outdoor space. To keep the little one safe, we added some posts and a handrail. Eventually, we'll give everything a new coat of paint to really make this the perfect place for a summertime nap.

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The garage is another area that has been organized and prettified. Adding pegboard and storage nooks in the rafters and between the wall studs has kept our collection of tools and scrap wood organized. HandyMan also added plastic sheets around the perimeter which can be dropped to create an impromptu paint booth for our painting projects.

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The front entry of our house has had a bit of a makeover too. Small changes like adding the modern house numbers and removing the storm door helped clean up the look. But it was not until we got a new front door and installed a new overhead light that our house really started to shine, all year long.



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As it turns out, we've been in our house long enough for some rooms to get a second makeover. That home office? It has since been transformed into our daughter's big girl room. Work still continues on this room!

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So what's left to do in our house, other than enjoy our handiwork? Well, we haven't touched the front yard, the backyard is a jungle, and there a million decorating projects we have on the list. I hope you join us as we continue on this journey.
 

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