City Homes

May 14, 2024

A Toronto Victorian Gets Dusted Off And Fully Reimagined By TOM Design Studio

In a neighborhood lined with leafy trees and stately heritage houses, it’s rare to find an interior that hasn’t been completely modernized behind the ornate brick façade. “It’s so special when the original fireplaces, some of the original staircase and all of the plasterwork are still intact,” says Tommy Smythe, co-founder of TOM Design Studio. He first set eyes on this 125-year-old diamond in the rough in 2021, during the malaise of the pandemic. Tommy was helping his longtime clients, a family of five, find a place with more space and lots of design potential.

The 4,420 square-foot Toronto Victorian had more than a few rough edges. Because of a leak, the main-floor ceiling was covered in gaudy red plastic, and the kitchen was tiny and had no flooring. “Our plan was to bring this grand old dame back to life,” says one of Tommy’s clients. “We wanted to keep all the best architectural bits — like the arches and crown moldings — but create an open kitchen and family room at the back of the house, and expand the principal suite.” Tommy envisioned comfortable rooms for modern living that still respected the home’s origins. “I wanted the place to look as though it had been passed down through the same family, and that each generation had kept the best elements, then added their own character and personality.”

To get the collected-over-time layers just right, Tommy worked with Toronto’s Era Architects, a top studio specializing in historical preservation and renovation. The idea was less about making radical changes and more about “surgical tweaks,” as Tommy calls them. “We kept asking ourselves: What would the original architects do to make this space better?” he says.

Scroll down to get a look inside this reimagined Victorian-style heritage house!