There are some real-estate unicorns still to be found in Riverdale, one of Toronto’s oldest downtown neighborhoods. A period Victorian house with its original architecture still intact would be one of them. For Erin Young and her husband, Jason Farrell, finding their unicorn proved to be elusive. They toured 20-plus listings over seven years, and made two failed offers. “We didn’t want to buy someone else’s renovation,” says Erin, an e-commerce and marketing executive. “We were determined to find an unspoiled house that we could renovate and make our own.”
So the couple could hardly hide their excitement when, in the fall of 2018, they finally found an elegant, three-storey, five-bedroom Victorian in the heart of Riverdale that had been in the same family for more than 50 years. Erin was so eager that she included a photo of their family with their offer to help her win the house. Sure, it had an outdated galley kitchen that was too small for a fridge, and the interior layout was a closed-off series of formal rooms not spacious enough for their family of five. But the house had good bones, a large backyard and still retained many of the original period features they were hoping for — think coved nine-foot ceilings, ornate plasterwork, stained glass windows and a grand foyer with its original staircase. Designer Samantha Sacks, who had worked on the renovation of the family’s previous house and was hired to reimagine this one.
Scroll down to see how she put a fresh spin on this Victorian home!