Timeless In Toronto

A Historic Townhome Gets a Modern Face-Lift

WRITTEN BY BLAKE MILLER  

PHOTOGRAPHY BY LISA PETROLE

It was a blank canvas for designers Ashley Tracey and Laura McLellan. The design principals behind the wildly successful firm The Design Co., which specializes in blending old with new, were tasked with designing the interiors of a three-story, circa-1910 historic townhome. Located in the Casa Loma neighborhood of Toronto, the property did not have a buyer but the duo had one in mind when they imagined just how everything would come together. “The buyers would be Toronto professionals who were rather design savvy, well-traveled, and looking to downsize to a luxury town house such as this,” explains Tracey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Working side by side with developers allowed the designers to have input in the layout of each floor from the beginning of the project. “We started with a super functional and open floor plan,” explains Tracey. “One that would be amazing for entertaining guests. Each room is connected such that guests can flow between rooms without breaking up a party or gathering when entertaining.” Once that was in place, the designers began to address the finishes of the home, which, they say, “needed to ooze luxury.” Rich, walnut hardwood floors run throughout the home and are complemented by sleek Calacatta marble featured in the first-floor living spaces on the floors and counters. “It was very important to Laura and I that the home had good flow and consistency,” says Tracey. “We don’t want rooms to feel choppy and mismatched.”

Because of the home’s original facade—the only part that remains from the 1910 structure—Tracey and McLellan wanted to reference that classical, Georgian-style architecture on the interiors while still bringing a fresh, modern feel to the space, which was all new. “This is why we included many classical design features such as carved marble fireplace surrounds, wood floors, detailed crown molding and baseboard, a classical kitchen design, and more,” says Tracey. “But we also made this place feel new and fresh with furniture and finishes, and modern technologies in the form of appliances [and] speaker systems.”

The fairly neutral color palette would mimic that sleek, classic-yet-modern feel the designers created with the hard finishes and architectural elements. The designers layered various textures—tweeds, cowhide, fur, wood, metal—to help break up the neutral hues but still keep the flow consistent from room to room.

One of the biggest draws of the home, though, is its hidden rooftop terrace and outdoor living space. On the former, the home boasts spectacular views of downtown Toronto and CN Tower, not to mention breathtaking sunsets. While downstairs, black garden doors run across the entire backside of the house and lead out to an open flagstone courtyard. “It was important that in the summer months, which are decidedly short here in Toronto, homeowners could open up these garden doors and extend their entertaining space into the courtyard,” says Tracey.

Though the resulting design was so impressive that the home sold fully furnished by the exact buyers the designers envisioned for the home, it was still a challenge for Tracey and McLellan. “You are trying to create a stylish, exciting home but you don’t necessarily know who is going to buy this house and what their style is,” says Tracey. “So when we are designing a home like this, we try to appeal to those who appreciate good design, a functional home, and we make sure that there are touches of luxury throughout—because who doesn’t like a bit of luxury? We definitely try to get into the heads of potential buyers and think about how they live and what they would appreciate in a home.” Challenge accepted and fulfilled.

Tips For Meshing Historic with Modern

Designer Ashley Tracey of The Design Co. offers these tips on designing with old and new.

Keep Finishes Classic

“The hard finishes such as hardwood floors, molding and trim, countertops, [and] kitchen cabinets in a home should be timeless, because you cannot easily change them out without a major expense,” says Tracey. “When designing a home we try to pick hard finishes that are rooted in tradition and will not go out of style in a few years.”

Think Neutral for Your Soft Goods

Invest in furniture that’s neutral and timeless and change it up by layering accessories and textures via pillows and throws. “We recommend choosing classics for the main furniture pieces, the ‘investment-pieces’ such as a sofa, bed, dining table,” says Tracey.

Use Trends in Small Doses

“The element of ‘new,’ contemporary, or ‘trendy’ should come in the form of side tables, art, and accessories,” advises Tracey. “These decor items are easy to switch out if you tire of them or they need a refresh without a substantial cost.”


Ready to find your perfect home? Contact Sue Heddle Homes.

When you list with us, staging is FREE!

Phone: 905.845.9180  Fax: 905.845.7674 

Cell: 416.906.7998  Email: sue.heddle@century21.ca


Thinking Of Downsizing?

Have you been wondering if it’s time to consider downsizing your home? Whether you’ve recently become an empty nester or your current spacious home no longer meets your needs, downsizing may be the right option for you. 

Downsizing your home can help you:

  • Reduce expenses like property taxes and utility bills
  • Reduce costs for required home maintenance
  • Simplify your life as you pare down furniture and related household items

Work With The Right Real Estate Agent To Support Your Downsizing Plan

Moving from a home that has been part of the family for a long time can be very emotional and overwhelming, so be sure to work with a local real estate agent that understands your situation. Sue Heddle Homes has been supporting clients in Oakville, Burlington, Milton and Mississauga for the last ten years and works hard to not only get clients top dollar for the sale of their home but also takes pride in making sure to find the perfect new home too. 

Once the decision has been made to downsize, home owners should begin prepping their home to be sold at least three months in advance.  One of the biggest tasks to tackle will be going through the contents of your home and deciding what to sell, what to donate and what to keep. 

When the clutter has been removed, staging your home for sale will not only make it more appealing to buyers, but will also increase the sale price you can expect.  Sue Heddle Homes offers FREE home staging for all clients – an excellent added bonus for those looking to sell their home.

Where To Move After You Downsize

Lots of attention is placed on selling the larger home, but what about deciding on where you are going to move to?  While the obvious intention is to move to a smaller space, there are still many details to consider.

  • Do you want to stay in the same city or town?
  • Do you want to move into a condo that takes care of property maintenance for you?
  • Are you looking for a home that has everything you need on the main floor?
  • Do you want a home that can be made accessible later on if required?

A financial gain is a nice bi-product of downsizing but is not always the main reason for the move.  As the Canadian population continues to age, many baby boomers are moving to smaller homes that aren’t necessarily cheaper, but that will meet their needs better as they continue to age. 

Ready To Get Started?

The team at Sue Heddle Homes is ready to help.  Contact Sue today to find out more about selling your current home as well as finding your next home that will meet your changing needs.  We’ve helped hundreds of clients feel at ease during the buying and selling process and look forward to doing the same for you.


How To Get Your Home Ready To Sell This Fall

The market may have cooled off over the summer but the fall real estate market is always a hot season. Summer vacations are over, kids go back to school and everyday life routine settle back in. It’s a great time to sell a home.

If you have been thinking of selling your Oakville, Burlington, Milton or Mississauga home and hope to have a for sale sign up this Fall, now is the time to prepare your home to attract buyers.

Find The Right Real Estate Agent

Sue Heddle Homes has been supporting clients in the Halton and Toronto area for ten years and proudly offers free home staging to all of her clients.  Sue will meet with you personally and find out more about why you are selling your home and how her team can make the process easy and successful for you. If you want to sell your home this Fall, contact Sue to get started!

Sue Heddle Homes 8 Tips For Attracting Home Buyers This Fall

Sue Heddle Oakville Real Estate

1. Clean Up The Yard

Cut away summer shrubs and cut down dead flowers. Rake up any dead leaves and twigs in your lawn. Any overgrown vegetation that blocks windows or pathways should be cleared away so that you can showcase the exterior of your home. Make sure that there are no bushes or tree limbs blocking windows so that the sunlight can stream inside as much as possible.

2. Create Seasonal Curb Appeal

Did you know that the most popular autumn flowers are chrysanthemums?  A top second choice are marigolds. Both of these flowers are available in yellow (a top home selling color) as well as oranges and reds – perfect Fall accents. Place potted flowers on the front steps or along the walkway and accent with pumpkins, squash or other Fall harvest items.

3. Clean The Windows

The summer months are busy – lots of people going in and out of their homes, hosting parties and enjoying more outside time.  This usually results in dusty and streaked windows by the time September rolls around. When you want to sell your home, your windows need to sparkle. Wash your windows inside and out in addition to removing screens and spraying them down.

4. Have The HVAC Serviced

You want the air inside your home to smell fresh. When was the last time you changed your furnace filter? It is a good idea to have the HVAC system checked before you need to turn on the heat. Discovering problems with your furnace before your home goes on the market means that you can fix them and avoid issues showing up during a home inspection.

5. Make The Fireplace Work For You

A wood-burning fireplace can be a real attraction point for home buyers. But if it is filled with cobwebs and dust because you haven’t used it in months, it makes it harder for prospective buyers to picture themselves happily cozied up in front of a crackling fire in their new home.  Be sure to vacuum it out and wash it down, and arrange wood logs or candles inside. If you have a gas fireplace, light it when buyers come through, but make sure the glass is clean!

6. Utilize Autumn Tastes And Smells

Simmer hot apple cider on the stove and put a tray of cinnamon sticks on the counter. Leave a freshly baked apple or pumpkin pie in the kitchen. Fill a bowl with seasonal apples.

7. Dress Your Home For Fall

Accessorize furniture with bright red, orange or golden yellow tones – think throw pillows, rugs and towels. Toss a quilt or autumn-colored throw over a chair. After you've cleared away all the clutter and depersonalized each room, bring autumn hues into each room. Create an autumn centerpiece for the dining and kitchen table using things like pine cones, candles or leaves. A home stager can really help you increase the appeal to buyers and sell your home quickly.

8. Turn on the Lights Everywhere

In the Fall, the days get shorter and the sun casts wider shadows. Pull up the blinds, open the shutters and push back the drapes on every window. Turn on every light in the house, including appliance lights and closet lights.


It is tough out there for Halton home buyers

I recently wrote the Premier to stand up for my buyers & neighbours who are seeing crazy bidding wars with over 14 offers and homes going 100’s of thousands of dollars over asking. Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne says she won't follow British Columbia's lead and tax foreign buyers of residential real estate in the Toronto area. This is big problem for Halton residents looking to get into the market or move up.

The Globe and Mail says, “What is happening in the Toronto housing market currently is almost a mirror image of how things played out in Vancouver, minus the citizen outrage. (Strangely.) You have: A real estate industry insisting there is no problem; a government holding that it doesn’t want to use policy tools that would hurt the equity in people’s homes; the same politicians contending they need more conclusive data before making any kind of move; foreign buyers moving in to park their money in real estate and many of those same purchasers leaving vacant houses behind.”

Oakville prices up over 30% year over year

This surge in demand and dollars points to foreign investors, including family money given to local family members to invest. This money is being brought in from countries like China, Jordan and Dubai. On top of what can be measured in terms of foreign investment, there is a lot more in the way foreign dollars being invested than being reported on paper. Oakville has become a prime location for foreign investors for many reasons including ample new developments, great schools, amazing communities etc. Toronto-area real estate agents say investors have grown to make up 25 per cent of their client base, according to a recent survey by Ben Myers, who researches trends in residential real estate. The Toronto Star recently reported that the average detached house in Toronto is about $1.3 million and about $1 million in surrounding communities like Oakville.

You can’t ignore supply & demand issues

Along with the increase in the investment dollars flowing through, the issue boils down to low supply and high demand. People from Toronto are migrating West in search of more affordable housing and can afford more options in Oakville & surrounding area. Cities like Hamilton, Grimsby & Niagara have seen major changes in their real estate markets as well.

It’s a different kind of market that it was even 2 years ago. Both buyers and sellers are faced with new challenges. Let me know if you would like to connect to discuss further, I would be happy to help!


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