Fashion photographer Chris Nicholls and model and photo retoucher Lorca Moore travel the globe for work, often to locations with breathtaking architecture and high-design interiors. They had been living in a roughly 14-foot-wide semidetached house in Toronto’s Beach neighborhood for over a decade, and, though it had provided years of good use, it was no longer exciting. They pondered moving. However, the house and its location, just a stone’s throw from the shores of Lake Ontario, were too difficult to leave behind—so they decided to renovate. “Chris and Lorca referred to the house as an old member of the family that was down on its luck,” says architect Drew Mandel. “They felt they owed it to the house to reinvest."
Mandel recast the structure both inside and out. He added a zinc-framed, double-height window and protected porch to the facade, which he rebuilt using salvaged yellow bricks. “The modern things that we do work better when juxtaposed with the gritty original fabric,” says Mandel. He removed interior walls to make the space feel more expansive and added warm woods, like the custom walnut millwork, to soften the look. “They liked the idea of a cozy home where the family had to scrunch up on the sofa to be together,” says Mandel. “They wanted that magic, cool space that felt stylish and interesting, but they didn’t want it to lose that sense of ‘home.’” Now, the revamped 2,140-square-foot abode is just that.