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.

  • I love the white drawer unit in her office space, and I’m curious to know if it is a faux front filing cabinet of some sort? Not sure of what to search for to find something similar. Any suggestions would be great, thanks!

  • I have to admit, I do love cooking in my kitchen! Can’t complain much about it at all 🙂

  • Lovely home. I normally don’t comment…but, just had to say I noticed the Desiring God book…excellent read. 🙂

  • Your home is beautiful and fresh! I esp love your kitchen, I want to prepare something lovely in it! 🙂

  • Hi Nadine..Great guess…close.. The Junction! Although Roncy is an incredible neighbourhood.. I love the West end!!

  • This is probably my favorite home from this series! I love all the white with pops of color!

  • A fellow Torontonian?!? How wonderful! I was trying to figure out the neighbourhood, I’m thinking Roncesvalles?

  • Thanks so much Eva and Stacey. The island is really special to us and I appreciate your kind comments about it!

  • Hi Maria.. I like your name!! 🙂 Thanks so much for your kind comments. You know something our kitchen island is great for? Making perogies! We make about 400 at one time and freeze them. I’ve lived in Canada since I was 5, but still have my Ukrainian heritage. 🙂
    Є великі вихідні!

  • I used to live in Germany (Garmisch-Parkenkirchen)!! Thanks so much and all the best.

  • Thank you!! I’m just learning photography and really appreciate the comment about the photos! 🙂

  • Thank you, Rosie!! To make it we just bought an old wooden tray at a thrift store & chalkboard paint. We painted it white with house paint (we have lots of that still from our reno!) and painted the chalkboard paint on. It was our 4-year anniversary special project! We always do a little project together on our anniversary 🙂

  • Thanks Maggie!! It’s a bit of a task to keep it uncluttered.. especially with all the ‘stuff’ that tends to accumulate with babies.. but it’s worth the effort to have a nice relaxed, uncluttered space to live in!

  • Thank you, Ginnie! The office space is exactly what I wanted to do for years and was happy to find a home to implement it in. It’s so great having the office in the same area as the kitchen & living area instead off in it’s own ‘dark corner’ of the house. 🙂

  • Oh thank you so much Leah!! I kept an inspirational binder for years with ideas and was so happy to finally see them come to life!

  • Toronto is such a great city, isn’t it? Thanks so much for your sweet comment about the island. It’s very special to us!

  • Thank you so much for your kind comments, everyone!! Have a wonderful weekend. xo

  • Beautiful home! I love the little bits of red in the kitchen and that wonderful island with such a nice story behind it.

    Nice to see a Toronto home featured. It makes me miss it so much though!

  • What a beautiful home, gorgeous pictures!

  • They are all flawless !! Great shot, great colors.. Thanks girls.


  • That puppy screensaver is too sweet!!

  • this looks pretty much exactly like how I have pictured my future home! I absolutely love it!
    Leah Faye
    a clover and a bee

  • Such a beautiful space, I am so glad you are sharing so many reader homes! Makes me so happy!

    xo, Juliette Laura

  • Wow, this house is stunning! Love the brightness of the space.

  • Love this place! So simple and uncluttered but with character and style.


  • I love this bright and airy home. The simple office is perfect. I need office inspiration and I hope you guys do more office posts as you work on your own studio.

  • it is so wonderful to see an old friend featured on such a lovely blog—congrats! Maria, your home and family are gorgeous. your home captures the same warmth & spirit i remember you having when we were teenagers… i love how inviting and family oriented it is, with all the right touches. simply beautiful, my friend. lots of love to you and yours. xo

  • it is so wonderful to see an old friend featured on such a lovely blog—congrats! Maria, your home and family are gorgeous. your home captures the same warmth & spirit i remember you having when we were teenagers… i love how inviting and family oriented it is, with all the right touches. simply beautiful, my friend. lots of love to you & yours. xo

  • What a beautiful home! Love the white walls. So fresh and pretty.

  • so nice to see a fellow canadian on here! her kitchen is gorgeous – love the pops of red!

  • What a beautiful home! So nice to see a fellow Canadian featured on your lovely blog!

  • Beautiful photos!!! 🙂
    I love this ^^

  • How very beautiful!!! I adore the kitchen! This is what my inner cook would kill for:-)

    Love from Germany and have a wonderful weekend:


  • Such a lovely kitchen! I wish I wasn’t a renter and had a kitchen like that! But your post about renter-friendly ideas was great!!

  • i’m in the middle of a diy kitchen reno, so it was nice to see some end-game inspiration. what a great space.

  • Так приятно видеть истории про земляков на моем любимом блоге! 🙂
    It’s so nice to see ukrainian girls here on the ABM! 🙂 Thanks for sharing your home with us!

  • pretty, pretty house!! love the wall art and kitchen 🙂
    *** New post on my bloggy! visit me 🙂 ***

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