At Home With Maria

Love how clean and bright this kitchen is!We are happy to welcome Maria to the blog today to share her lovely home with us!
I love old wallpaper so muchLovely succulents in a kitchen window“Hi! My husband, Jonathan, baby boy, Yuri, and dachshund, Milla, live in our 1940s brick house in Toronto, Ontario. After penny-pinching savings for a down payment for several years (houses in our city aren’t cheap!), we were so happy to buy our home in a tree-lined, vibrant and artsy Toronto neighbourhood.

When we purchased the house 2.5 years ago, it was dark and gloomy. The same family had lived in it since 1981 and it was suffering from a lack of modernization. Although pride of ownership was evident (Hello lovely perennials!), the interior needed a major facelit, and modern updates were required.

To our relief, my husband and I discovered we make a great reno team: I have a vision, he likes to get his hands dirty, we both love DIY, and neither of us minded missing sleep to get our projects done! We both also work full time and aren’t tradespeople, so of course had to hire (and fire…) professionals along the way.”Bright white office nook Colorful books are always a good idea“Before unpacking our moving boxes, we tackled the main floor that’s featured in these photos. The reno included taking down a wall, reconfiguring the kitchen, updating the electrical wiring, and so much more. There isn’t an inch that was left untouched.

Fast forward a few months later, and we had a clean, bright, airy space ready to be filled with the furniture and things that make a house a home. I’ve been a William Morris fan since university, and his idea that a house should only contain what’s beautiful or useful has stuck with me. We’ve filled our space with items we cherish: photographs, artwork, memoirs from our travels, vintage finds and many homemade touches. It’s mismatched, imperfect, yet so peaceful, harmonious and cheery.”  “I feel that every corner of the space contains a favourite find; there are so many favourite objects & keepsakes scattered throughout! For example, the old mirror in the kitchen: my sister and I picked it up in a New York City flea market and brought it home to Toronto on a Greyhound bus. The chalkboard beneath it, where we write inspirational quotes, was an old serving tray that Jonathan and I repurposed together as a wedding anniversary project. The red bench beneath the chalkboard—it’s over a hundred years old and came with the turn-of-century house I grew up in.

Our kitchen island is particularly special to us. It might have to go on the exclusion list when we eventually sell our house! The maple top is made of wood from Jonathan’s grandfather’s hobby farm. His grandfather cut down the trees, planked them himself, and built the top according to the size our kitchen needed. We couldn’t find the right base for it, so I designed one and Jonathan built it.”  “Our space is meant to be lived in and fully enjoyed. In addition to the reno, there are many smaller projects I tackled throughout the last couple years, such as refinishing furniture, sewing roman blinds and cushions, and custom matting our photographs. We’ve really enjoyed working on our various projects and are so happy to see the end results in regular use.

We daily enjoy the space as a family, listening to the same music from the built-in speakers overhead while relaxing or completing various tasks—or giving little Yuri his evening bath in the sink! The space is also great for “entertaining”. It’s not really entertaining, because the version of hosting we enjoy best is so informal and happens regularly. You can often find us with friends or family gathered around the island, preparing a meal together or catching up over special drinks. We have many great memories around that island. Our home is meant to be shared.”  Thank you so much, Maria!  xo.

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