Design editor and first-time home buyer Lauren Petroff shares a look at her stunning Toronto semi.
There’s no denying that Toronto’s real estate market is extremely hot. The demand to live in one of Canada’s most metropolitan cities is high, but with supply so low, the limited inventory is creating quite the frenzy for buyers. Ready to transition from an apartment to a house, we recently found ourselves among the mass of hopeful house-hunters. With seemingly no end in sight to the rising home prices, we felt the impulse to dive right in, because if not now, when?
As someone who sees countless homes as part of my job, I was looking for something special, and with the help of our amazing real estate agent at
Trilogy Agents, a subsidiary of Sotheby’s Realty, we found a home that exceeded our expectations. Click through to take a virtual tour and discover what design elements helped set this house apart.
Before settling on this house, we toured seven homes. Some of them really tested our threshold for the amount of work we were willing to undertake. Sure, putting in a new kitchen sounded like an exciting project, but if the whole house required rewiring the electrical, updating the plumbing and removing the hidden asbestos before walking in the front door (most did), a reno that scale felt nearly impossible. That’s why when we set foot in this house it was the clear winner, and, after an all-too-common bidding war, it became our future home. It really is a fantastic blank slate — next step, decorating!
The whole main floor has a great flow and feels instantly welcoming thanks to the natural light that pours in from three sides of the house. The previous owners opened up the layout, updated the windows and invested in new floors and rehabilitating the staircase. Aside from the aesthetics, it’s clear the work that was done went beyond the surface. This century-old home is sturdy and there is not a creek to be heard when walking around. Also, thanks to the pre-sale inspection report, we were assured that the ‘guts’ of the home were on-point as well.
I love that the living room, dining room and kitchen open onto one another. After living in an apartment that was quite closed off, this open-concept layout is a very welcome change. I look forward to being able to actually speak to someone in the living room while being in the kitchen.
Our only challenge here will be creating a natural and cohesive look with the decor, while not compromising on function and comfort. In touring the staged house, it was important to try to envision a realistic living situation with probably double the amount of furniture and decor. I’m hoping to spruce up a few pieces from my current place, like the dining set and drapes, mix those in with investment items like a new sectional, and add some vintage storage pieces to create a simple eclectic look.
The kitchen was recently renovated and is move-in ready. Another “thank you” to the previous owners for going an extra mile with the appliances — gas range? Yes, please! Since the whole kitchen is visible when walking in the front door, it’s great that the cabinets are simple, white slab-front doors that seamlessly meld into the space. Eventually, I’m hoping to tile the back wall up to the ceiling and replace the floating cabinet with open shelves.
There are three bedrooms on the second floor. Since there will only be two of us living here, we’re going to maximize their functionality and make one room into an office. Aside from a great big desk, it would be a dream to panel the walls and paint them in a deeper tone to give it a stately appeal — I have my eye on a grey-blue, which I think will complement the exposed brick.
In the master bedroom, I’m hoping to keep the white walls and minimize the furniture to create a more serene feeling. An interesting feature in the master is the skylight. I love how it lets so much natural light into the room, but we’ll have to invest in a motorized blind for those mornings when we want to get a few extra hours of sleep.
There are two full bathrooms in the house — one on the second floor and one in the basement. They each have their own appealing style and don’t need much in the way of decor — just some fresh linens, accessories and art.
Finally, the finished basement feels like a bonus, and is another testament to the investment that the previous owners made. They dug out the bottom and reinforced the underside of the main floor, adding stability and a livable ceiling height. There is also cold-room storage and a walkout to the backyard. For now, this will be great “overflow” space. Our initial plan is to install wardrobes for concealed storage with a small living area since we hope to do most of our living and TV watching upstairs.
Here’s a look at the home’s floor plan. We can’t wait to move in!