In 2006, Nick and Julia fell in love with a 2-storey brick house in the Roncesvalles neighbourhood. The century old building was charming and beautiful, but needed a major overhaul. The couple decided to save up until they could afford a major, top to bottom renovation. Five years of living in the house (and putting up with the home's drafty windows, leaky roof, and exorbitant gas bills), gave them time to analyze exactly what their needs were for their major renovation.

The house, originally built in 1911, underwent its fair share of renovation work throughout the years. Previous owners had converted the rickety front porch into living space, underpinned the foundation, removed the basement stair to create a separate apartment unit, and cosmetically updated the bathroom and kitchen. However, many elements from the original house still remained such as plaster and lathe, single-pane wood windows, fireplaces and knob-and-tube wiring. In 2011, on the house’s centennial year, Nick and Julia and their two young children moved out and the renovation process finally began.

Besides greatly improving the building’s energy efficiency, something common to all Solares projects, one of our clients’ most important goals was to create space to accommodate their growing family, without building an addition which would make the project cost prohibitive. The family had a long list of requirements for their dream renovation, all of which were reached: an eat-in kitchen, a formal living/dining room, a playroom, a study, 4 bedrooms (one with an en-suite) and 3 bathrooms.

The new design re-instates a stair connecting the ground floor to the basement, which includes a playroom, guest bedroom, guest bathroom, laundry room and a small mechanical room tucked under the stairs. On the ground floor, the foyer and stair hall are central, with an open concept living/dining room is located off to the east, and a kitchen with a breakfast bar and ample kitchen storage to the west, with a direct connection to the large back yard. Creative planning on the second floor allows for the 2 small children’s bedrooms and bathroom, an open study on the landing (which is designed to be easily converted to another bedroom if required) and a large master bedroom with a small “boutique hotel” style en-suite bathroom.

This renovation also included major structural repairs, efficient upgrades to all systems, a drastic increase of thermal performance, and fully updated interiors. Closed-cell water-based foam sprayed on the inside face of the load-bearing brick structure and roof makes the house air tight, more than quadrupling the pre-renovation structure’s insulation levels. A high-efficiency boiler provides heat for new compact radiators as well as domestic hot water.

The finishes in the house all fit within a clean and bright aesthetic, interspersed with accents such as the striped stairway carpet, the dark fireplace insert, and vibrant artwork on the walls. The white kitchen is accented with glossy grey cabinetry and makes use of both IKEA stock and custom units. Wood touches bring warmth in the form of a butcher block countertop and a finished plywood shelving insert, and the kitchen bar is topped with quartz.

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Modern home with Cabinet Storage Type, Light Hardwood Floor, Living Room, and Ceiling Lighting. Garden Avenue Renovation - Front Foyer Photo  of Garden Avenue Renovation

Garden Avenue Renovation - Front Foyer

Modern home with Kitchen, Light Hardwood Floor, Engineered Quartz Counter, White Cabinet, Ceiling Lighting, Accent Lighting, Pendant Lighting, Cooktops, Range, Undermount Sink, and Refrigerator. Garden Avenue Renovation - Kitchen Photo 2 of Garden Avenue Renovation

Garden Avenue Renovation - Kitchen

Modern home with Undermount Sink, Engineered Quartz Counter, Ceiling Lighting, Accent Lighting, Pendant Lighting, Living Room, Storage, and Bar. Garden Avenue Renovation - Kitchen Photo 3 of Garden Avenue Renovation

Garden Avenue Renovation - Kitchen

Modern home with Library Room Type, Storage, Chair, Light Hardwood Floor, Shelves, Study Room Type, Desk, Living Room, and Ceiling Lighting. Garden Avenue Renovation - Office Photo 4 of Garden Avenue Renovation

Garden Avenue Renovation - Office