Don’t Let the Sign Fool You, This Old Storefront is a Home

A creative couple transforms an old Toronto storefront in Dundas West into a home and studio.

If the sign out in front of this aging Toronto facade is any indication—it reads "Star Sheet Metal"—you’d think that it’s just another industrial storefront. But when the blinds are up, you’ll see the couple who lives there making art, designing buildings, or, just as often, making dinner. The century-old structure is the home and workplace of architect Tamira Sawatzky and her wife and collaborator, artist and filmmaker Elle Flanders. In 2011, they were on the hunt for a building big enough to house themselves, their joint art practice, and individual businesses, plus an apartment for a tenant. What they found on busy Dundas Street West offered all of that—and also a chance to try a novel way of living in Canada’s biggest city.

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