Thanks to a combination of factors — a deep-rooted fear of debt, my poor choice of career paths and an over-inflated real estate market — It’s a foregone conclusion that I’ll never be able to afford a house in Toronto. And if I did buy, it would likely be a bachelor condo the size of a hamster cage on the fringes of civilization (heaven forbid, somewhere north of the 401). I’m picturing a life where I’m too poor to hang curtains or buy any furniture, yet too stressed by my massive mortgage payments and claustrophobic digs to even care. So while I can’t buy a house, I’ve decided to
torture myself with indulge in fantasy real estate — basically, from time to time, I’m going to be picking the places that I’d like to buy, and blogging about how I would decorate them to make them my own.
The Place: 15 Crocker Ave., a two-bedroom, $519,000 Victorian townhouse near Trinity Bellwoods. It’s around the corner from Nadège Patisserie, which means I would get happily fat eating too many butter croissants and gin-and-tonic marshmallows. Overall, I like the neighbourhood and think this would be a fun fixer project.
The Bones: The rooms all seem to be nicely proportioned, but most haven’t been updated since Elvis was alive — the mouldings seem a bit beaten up, the colours are drab and the wallpaper is peeling in the dining room.
I know it doesn’t come with the house, but what’s with the couch?
The dining room was either inspired by Oliver Twist or a Stephen King novel.
There isn’t a lot of counter space in the kitchen, but that can be remedied by moving the table into the dining room (where it belongs) and adding an island and some more counters.
The principal bedroom is almost 200 square feet. Dance party!
The Fix: I don’t think I would tamper too much with the overall architecture or layout of the house — no knocking down walls — but I would definitely focus on refining some key details.
In the living and dining rooms, for example, I would try and get rid of all the beaten up mouldings for a much cleaner look.
I would also paint the walls a crisp, architectural white — like maybe Benjamin Moore’s Simply White — for the same reason. I wouldn’t worry too much about the space feeling sterile, because the existing hardwood floor would add a lot of warmth, as would some well considered pieces of furniture and art. Here’s what I mean:
Emma Reddington, of Marion House Book fame, offsets the clean white walls in her living room with lovely, honey-hued floors. I also like her texture-rich area rug from Design Within Reach.
I’ve been infatuated with Shawn Place‘s rocking chair ever since I saw it in the window of Hollace Cluny a few years ago. It’s clean-lined and smart but still has a youthful, fun quality.
I wonder if the Hermitage would loan me Henri Matisse’s Harmony in Red? Either way I would definitely add a hit of red.
The kitchen needs a serious upgrade.
Here, designers Amy and Todd Hase have done something I would steal for sure: they’ve added a giant work space in the middle of the room. I like to cook, so I would make full use of that.
I would also want to warm up the space with wood flooring (and replace the existing tiles). I found this photo at Apartment Therapy.
The most obvious feature of the bedroom is the angled ceiling.
But Toronto’s AKB shows that angled ceilings can create architectural interest in a good way. Also, like the main floor (and the above photo), I would paint the space a crisp white and add furniture to create a sense of character.
I’m not sure why, but I’m pretty obsessed with this simple oak bed frame (available through Klaus).
I would get rid of the overhead light, but maybe add some edge with a Castor-designed desk lamp. I like the mix of materials, including the Carrara marble base which was salvaged from First Canadian Place.
What a great idea, to blog about houses you want and how you’d fix them up. I do that in my head all the time!!! Love the desk idea for the slanted ceilings and that rocking chair looks so comfy!
Thanks so much for your comment. I love that chair!