See What Happens When An Architect Transforms A Dated B&B!
As you approach architect and interior designer Darcie Watson’s house in downtown Toronto, you can immediately see why she had to have it. The 1905 home is grand, gorgeous, and on an enviable tree-lined street — a timeless beauty. When she found the Edwardian house 10 years ago, it was a nine-bedroom bed-and-breakfast that looked worse for wear, but Darcie knew she could save it. “I honestly walked in here and felt that this house needed someone to help it,” she says. Having worked with acclaimed architect and designer S. Russell Groves in New York on luxury residences and retail shops, Darcie has the eye for detail needed for such a major overhaul. She now works with Toronto architect-artist Philip Beesley and runs her own design firm, Areacode.
Darcie divided the building into three sizable units: rental apartments on the basement and main levels, and her own home on the second and third floors. “The hardest part was how to integrate the traditional and modern in a way that didn’t look garish or contrived,” she says. Click through to see the result of her painstaking transformation.
The wood panelling and staircase are complemented by timeless Fior di Bosco marble flooring. A sculptural hot-pink vintage chair is the exclamation point.
Steel shelves wrap around a corner between the kitchen and dining area. They extend from the balcony’s factory-inspired door, which was on Darcie’s must-have list.
Velvet-covered chairs offer a plush perch in the living room.
The dark walls in the office capture the mood of a traditional library. Darcie Watson used millwork that mimics the foyer to frame off the jewel-box room.
Darcie chose to paint the millwork a handsome charcoal for drama.
Darcie in the second-floor kitchen that overlooks the garden. Black dropdown
ceiling lights balance the steel mullions and shelving.
Guests love to sit around the kitchen’s 4′-square island, which is made of salvaged American chestnut and coldrolled steel. The back-painted glass wall and white glass doors of the upper cabinets bounce light around the room.
Deep lower cabinets make the kitchen highly functional, while the upper doors flip up to allow easy access to dishes and stemware.
Interchangeable inserts, including a dish rack, knife storage and movable electrical
sockets give the kitchen flexibility. “When I first saw the Valcucine system at the Interior Design Show in Toronto, I stopped in my tracks and thought, ‘Wow, what a smart way to think of a kitchen,’” says Darcie.
A pot filler with a pullout nozzle has a drain underneath to catch spills — one of the many smart customized features in the kitchen.
Darcie wanted the second-floor bathroom to be unexpected and special. The floors
and walls are clad in circa-1905 encaustic tiles
Select pieces of furniture create zones in the open-concept bedroom and ensuite, including a vintage rope-and-leather chair by Brazilian designer Jean Gillon.
Tour this bedroom on H&H TV.
“Lying in the tub with the 11′-wide window open feels particularly luxurious when you can hear the night sounds outside and feel the breeze,” says Darcie. The doorway beyond leads to a spacious dressing room brightened by skylights.
Darcie wanted to create an intimate area for lounging, so she set up a casual reading nook with thick floor cushions in a corner of the principal bedroom. “Lowering your level to the floor allows you to experience the room from another angle,” she says.
Tour this home on H&H TV.