House Tours

Peek inside a charming heritage house in trendy Roncesvalles

A stunning contemporary addition transforms an old house into a vibrant, light-filled family home.
By Christy Wright
Peek inside a charming heritage house in trendy Roncesvalles

Photo, Roberto Caruso.

Heritage home Pride of place

Pride of place

A dynamic globe-trotting couple, Pheona and Tim had their hearts set on this handsome 1930s heritage house in Toronto’s trendy Roncesvalles neighbourhood. “We’d been living just around the corner for three years and had always admired it,” says Pheona. Its handsome brick frontage, front portico, third-storey dormer and original wood paned windows exuded an English charm. The couple purchased it in 2011 and set about making it their own.

The three-bedroom house was in good shape, but the cramped kitchen and boxy floor plan weren’t conducive to modern entertaining. Pheona and her husband, Tim, a filmmaker, added a two-level, 500-square-foot extension to the back of the house. Although they chose a contemporary look, the couple were careful to preserve the heritage home’s character. “We wanted to retain the beauty of the front portion of the home,” says Pheona. “We didn’t take the decision to knock down the wall between the kitchen and dining room lightly — but I love to cook and entertain and don’t want to be stuck behind a wall when friends are in the house.”

The couple’s wish list for the new addition included a bright main floor living room, a home office on the second floor and an additional bedroom. They spoiled themselves by using the entire third floor of the original house as their master bedroom, with an ensuite bathroom and spacious deck over the extension.

Tim collected bits and pieces of modern decor when he lived in New York and L.A., and Pheona added in furniture she sourced locally. The result is an interior that’s a lively fusion of their combined tastes, with an array of mismatched mid-century furniture, contemporary Italian lighting and personal treasures. Yet even with all of these international elements, there is something undeniably Canadian about the family’s style. “Travelling greatly influences our esthetic, but Canada represents home to us; it’s where our roots are.”

Backyard deck wood-paned contemporary heritage house in Toronto RoncesvallesPhoto, Roberto Caruso.

Cozy nook

Turn a corner into a reading nook with custom bookshelves. The fresh pop of apple green on a classic chair anchors the room and makes an inviting place to sit. “In the winter, I love to curl up here by the fire and read,” says Pheona.

Chair, Smash. Mirror, Mrs. Huizenga. Felt polar bear, Little 'm' Inventions. Table, Atomic.

Living room reading nook fireplace green leather chair coffee table bookshelf gilted mirrorPhoto, Roberto Caruso.

Add drama with a dark wall

A striking army-green wall contrasts beautifully with the navy-blue sectional, layered-wood table and Beni Ourain rug. It also provides the perfect backdrop for Pheona’s eclectic collection of folk art and pottery (including a blue bowl made by Adam Silverman, a friend of the Beastie Boys).

Sectional, Quasi Modo. Coffee table, Pendant light, Magazin Flair, 416-537-6888. Paint, Artichoke, Benjamin Moore. Detailed velvet pillow, Mjolk.

Living room blue sectional pendant light army green wall Beni Ourain rug Toronto heritage housePhoto, Roberto Caruso.

Go graphic

An abstract acrylic painting by New York–based artist Stephan Jay Rayon is the focal point of the room.“I wanted the look and feel of the master bedroom to be simple and clutter free,” says Pheona, “so I opted for a custom-made oak bed with integrated storage.”

Pillow, Mjolk. Lights, Magazin Flair, 416-537-6888. Bedding, Hollace Cluny. Architect, Paul Austerberry. Contractor, Canfield Contracting.

White neutral bedroom Stephan Jay Rayon painting Toronto heritage homePhoto, Roberto Caruso.

Build shelves that double as decor

Open shelves on the island are a perfect place to showcase cookbooks and crockery. “I like the airy look, and that guests are able to see where glasses are so they can help themselves,” says Pheona. An avid foodie, she swears by her six-burner Dacor range.

Range, Dacor. Faucet, Gingers. Light, Magazin Flair, 416-537-6888.

Kitchen island lower storage shelfs Toronto heritage housePhoto, Roberto Caruso.

Easy storage

Weck and Mason jars filled with cooking staples line the shelves around the range.

Tableware, Filipa Ceramics.

Peek inside a charming heritage house in trendy RoncesvallesPhoto, Roberto Caruso.

Kids' corner

A vintage Eames chair, chunky pottery lamp and wooden toys make a colourful vignette in a child’s room.

Kid's room wooden toys vintage Eames chair Toronto heritage housePhoto, Roberto Caruso.

A cozy spot

A wood-burning fireplace and comfortable leather chair make the new addition a cozy place to hang out. The slate floors are ganged together with no grout.

Den living room wood-burning fireplace Toronto heritage housePhoto, Roberto Caruso.

Mood lighting

Tom Dixon black punched-metal wall sconces cast a warm glow in the master ensuite.

Copper oil lamp and bowl, Mjolk.

Bathroom master ensuite Tom Dixon wall sconces Toronto heritage housePhoto, Roberto Caruso.

Outdoor lighting

A collection of bottles corralled in a wood crate become perfect makeshift candleholders outside on the main deck.

wood crate candlesticks in bottles outdoor patio deck Toronto heritage housePhoto, Roberto Caruso.

Up above

The top deck, off the master bedroom, provides a private place to lounge among the treetops. An open-weave sofa and canvas butterfly chair covered with a fur throw complete the look.

Reindeer pelt, Mjolk.

Rooftop deck patio open-weave sofa Toronto heritage housePhoto, Roberto Caruso.


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