This historic home in Toronto is full of character

Sarah Rose Anderson Sarah Rose Anderson
Douglas Design Studio Вітальня Різнокольорові
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Let's wander into Cabbagetown to visit a  Victorian home that’s full of character. The interior designers at Douglas Design Studio did a complete renovation of this historic house in Toronto. They interpreted their client's lifestyle and made a home that reflects their individuality. By bringing creativity and energy to this project, the studio created a design that feels like a real home, not just a sterile staged interior.

We’ll see a consistent style in each room with mid-century-inspired furniture, sculptural light fixtures, and timeless high-contrast black and white. Let's start our tour now!

Classic simplicity

Classic elements come together in this living room to bring together style and livability. Bright white walls topped with an ornate crown moulding remind us of the ingrained heritage design. Strong yet elegant black accents help to frame the room. Built-in shelves serve an important storage function. The room feels full of personality rather than cluttered with belongings. 

From the previous renovation, the only thing preserved was the original zero-clearance, wood-burning fireplace. A custom-designed mantle was hand-carved with solid stone and finished with a beaver motif. The openings in the cabinetry housing the firewood are made of durable Caesarstone, eliminating scuffing, while matching the painted finish of the surrounding cabinets. The custom-designed sofa provides seating around an original Noguchi coffee table. Family heirlooms and treasured accessories add a personal touch.

Daring kitchen

The kitchen is the opposite of the bright and white living room. Black tones are punctuated with natural wood touches. Light comes in through the patio doors and a sculptural light fixture above the slim kitchen island. This is a great solution for a smaller kitchen where you want the counter space and functionality of an island but don't want to sacrifice floor space. A mirror finish on the stove hood brings modernity into the kitchen. It also helps reflect light in the dark space. This is a bold and unique kitchen space that adds to the charm of the home.

Chic breakfast nook

At one end of the kitchen is this incredibly chic breakfast nook. A cozy bench is joined by a couple of midcentury-inspired chairs with lime green seats. On the wall, we can see another example of high contrast black and white. It’s a classic look that won’t go out of style and will always create a bold impression. This glass table looks like the one we saw in the living room. By reiterating style like this, you can create a cohesive look for your home.

Elegant dining space

What makes this small dining space have a big impact is the mix of shapes and materials at play. The glossy table contrasts with the natural wood plank floors. The angular chairs go with the stacked prints on the wall. Round and oval shapes from the light fixture contrast the angular lines. This Victorian home was blessed with high ceilings. This created the opportunity for such a full and ornate chandelier in this dining space. We love the autumnal tones that it brings to the room!

Blending modern with Victorian

We’re taking a close look at the bar area now to appreciate the natural grey stone backsplash and countertops. Their ornate appearance fits well with the Victorian design touches we’ve seen in the home. It invokes the masculinity we expect from a London gentlemen’s club in the late 19th century. The glass panelled cabinets show off a collection of glasses and stemware for any manner of drink. For those who love to entertain, a bar like this is a great investment in your home.


We love this beautiful white and glass entryway. It almost looks like an English payphone booth, only white instead of bright red. Although the entryway is simple and compact, it creates a great first impression. It grounds the home design in its original Victorian charm. Having an enclosed entryway is perfect for our Canadian homes. You won’t feel a chill every time someone comes home!


We’ll take a quick peek at the bathroom now to show you this incredible cantilevered bathtub. It appears to balance perfectly on a ledge! In this bathroom, we see the familiar high contrast look. Simple and charming crown moulding pairs with natural wood plank floors. The bathroom's style matches with the rest of the home beautifully.


Check out the elaborate mosaic in this vanity space! The powder room tends to get overlooked when most home designs.  We love it when homeowners take a chance and do something bold with this small but functional space.


Our last stop on our tour is to check out the bedroom. It’s full of character and surprises! A pullout storage solution for shoes means that you’ll have all your favourite looks nearby but out of sight. Look up and you’ll see the bright white ceiling sloping softly and showing off the original architecture of the home. The wood storage and bedside table unit that brings warmth and vigour to the room. Grey carpets blend with the headboard and bed linens. This is a bedroom perfect for the modern gentleman. 

Too much character for one home? Check out our feature on an awesome all-white home for a crash course in minimalist design.

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