A Toronto pe­riod house gets an old-meets-new up­date to suit a fam­ily re­turn­ing from the U.K.

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A Toronto pe­riod house gets an old- meets- new up­date for a fam­ily re­turn­ing from the U. K.

“I was hes­i­tant to choose up­hol­stered din­ing chairs,” says one of the home­own­ers, who found great caned bent­wood al­ter­na­tives. She did in­dulge her love of mar­ble here: “We weren’t brave enough to do mar­ble kitchen coun­ters, but this table­top felt less risky.” DE­SIGN, Croma De­sign, cro­made­sign.com; AR­CHI­TEC­TURE, Jen­nifer Turner Ar­chi­tect; Dec­o­ra­tor’s White CC-20 WALL PAINT (ex­cept in mas­ter suite), Ben­jamin Moore; DIN­ING CHAIRS, De­sign Within Reach; SIDE­BOARD, RUG, om­bré BOWLS, Elte; CHAN­DE­LIER, Bren­dan Raven­hill Stu­dio; CANDLESTICKS, CB2.

Be­sides its gor­geous bones, it was the his­tory that en­deared this gra­cious house to its cur­rent own­ers. “The same fam­ily had lived here for 40 or 50 years, and we pic­tured our­selves do­ing the same,” one of them ex­plains. “We knew it was our for­ever home.”

The home­own­ers, who now have three chil­dren, aged six, eight and 10, were liv­ing over­seas in Lon­don when they pur­chased this stun­ning 4,000-square-foot Ed­war­dianstyle house in an es­tab­lished mid­town Toronto neigh­bour­hood. “When this house came on the mar­ket, we bought it know­ing that we wanted to move back to Toronto at some point,” she says. “We just didn’t know ex­actly when.”

Built in 1929, the home was ar­chi­tec­turally stun­ning and teem­ing with po­ten­tial, but ren­o­va­tions over the years had left it dark, dowdy and dated. So af­ter rent­ing it out for a year and a half, the cou­ple de­cided to spruce it up be­fore mov­ing in. This meant im­bu­ing its tra­di­tional en­ve­lope with the con­tem­po­rary aes­thetic they love. “We were in­spired by Lon­don, where beau­ti­ful old build­ings are up­dated with mod­ern el­e­ments to amaz­ing ef­fect,” says the owner.

They en­listed Ryan Martin and Amy Kent of Croma De­sign in 2013 – at first col­lab­o­rat­ing via latenight phone calls from across the pond – to strike the per­fect jux­ta­po­si­tion of old and new in a space suit­able for their busy young fam­ily. Top pri­or­i­ties in­cluded bright­en­ing the in­te­rior, en­hanc­ing flow and mak­ing it feel more con­nected to the ex­te­rior.

Key to ef­fect­ing the de­sired changes was putting on an ad­di­tion at the back of the home. “The old garage that was there blocked the view of the beau­ti­ful back gar­den,” says Ryan. “So re­plac­ing it with a fam­ily room that in­cludes a wall of win­dows and slid­ing doors helped bring the out­doors in.” In ad­di­tion, it flooded the space with light and al­lowed for a large open-con­cept kitchen.

In the rest of the house, orig­i­nal ar­chi­tec­tural el­e­ments like wain­scot­ting, hard­wood floor­ing, lead­ed­glass win­dows and a stone fire­place were re­stored to un­der­score the home’s char­ac­ter and charm. “Then we struck a bal­ance by bring­ing in fur­nish­ings that have a bit more of a mod­ern look but still work with those his­toric lines,” says Ryan. The


Dom­i­nated by stained wood pan­elling, the din­ing room was dark and un­invit­ing.

ABOVE Mould­ings ac­cen­tu­ate the liv­ing room’s orig­i­nal Tu­dor Re­vival-style stone fire­place, while leaded glass win­dows (which the pre­vi­ous own­ers had dry­walled over) lend charm. Sleek fur­ni­ture tem­pers his­tor­i­cal el­e­ments for a cur­rent look. ARM­CHAIRS, TASK LAMP, Elte; cus­tom COF­FEE TA­BLE, Com­mute De­sign; SIDE­BOARD, RH; SIDE TA­BLE, EQ3; SCONCES, Ridgely Stu­dio Works; RUG, Crate and Bar­rel; Con­is­ton Wa­ter ART­WORK by Bar­bara Macfar­lane, Re­becca Hos­sack Art Gallery; black BOWL, CB2.

ABOVE The new ad­di­tion al­lowed de­sign­ers Ryan Martin and Amy Kent to ex­pand and re­con­fig­ure the kitchen. “The own­ers were torn be­tween wood and white cab­i­netry, so we in­cluded both,” says Ryan of the mixed stained oak and lac­quered cab­i­nets, which boast in­te­grated re­cessed pulls for a clean look. Cus­tom CAB­I­NETRY, Gib­son Green­wood; COUN­TER­TOPS, Cae­sar­stone Canada; BACKSPLASH TILES, Ciot; STOOLS, Kiosk De­sign; FAUCET, Ro­man Bath Cen­tre.

RIGHT With the old vestibule en­clo­sure re­moved, the front en­try feels airy. Con­tem­po­rary pieces, such as the con­sole, let the his­toric ar­chi­tec­ture shine. CON­SOLE, CB2; RUG, Elte; PRINT, Ron Eady.

Plen­ti­ful yet dys­func­tional cab­i­netry gave the kitchen a closed-in feel.

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