Great friends and colleagues are worth their weight in gold. In 2016, it was Veronica Martin’s design partner, Carrie Stinson, who found this house in Toronto for Veronica and her husband, Dave. The couple trusted Carrie so much that they bought the place sight unseen while they were still living in Ottawa. “It had good bones, and I knew Veronica would like the tall ceilings,” says Carrie of the house. Located in Toronto’s Roncesvalles area, it checked many boxes: the three-storey, 2,000-square-foot Victorian was detached, had a garage, a big yard and some distance from the neighbors. For three years, the house was especially busy. Veronica, Dave, their daughters, Lily and Ava, and their rescue pup, Nash, kept life humming, plus Veronica and Carrie’s design firm, Two Fold Interiors, was being run from the attic. On work days, clients would clomp up and down several flights of stairs for consultations, the kitchen doubled as a staff canteen and design meetings were often held at the dining room table.
Eventually, the design firm outgrew the space and Veronica and Carrie relocated their business. It was time to give the entire house a makeover. They considered a costly addition, but Veronica and Dave decided to keep the original footprint. “We saved about $500,000,” says Veronica. Besides, the idea was to design a home where the couple could age in place — so smaller was actually better. The year-long project entailed a full gut by construction firm Cliff and Evans. “One big goal was to have the kitchen open to the rest of the main floor for entertaining,” says Veronica. The showpiece kitchen was plunked into the centre of the house, and the dining room was moved up front, near the foyer. The designers splashed out on an expansive lounge at the back of the house that overlooks the leafy backyard — it’s the family’s most-used room.
This Victorian now lives firmly in the present. There’s nothing fussy and overly complicated here, despite the house’s heritage. “I’m modern and more tailored,” says Veronica. “I certainly love classic architectural details, but I also love layering in modern elements.” New windows with drywall returns blend in with original baseboards, ceiling medallions and mouldings, and the original staircase has also been left intact.