Homes - Interiors

Time, patience and an artful aesthetic turn the most derelict house on the block into a well-loved family home.

Victoria Mifsud-Teti can’t decide whether she’s sorry she doesn’t have before pictures of her house or whether she’s relieved. Sure, it’d be fun to show people the dramatic transformation. On the other hand, the state of the house was so bad when she and her husband, Tony Teti, bought it, she’d almost prefer to forget.

Built in 1922 in the west end of Toronto, the part-brick house had been in steady decline for more than 20 years when the Tetis moved in. And patch-ups by the previous owner, an absentee landlord, seemed only to have made things worse. But Victoria and Tony – newlyweds at the time and fresh from their parents’ nests – were drawn to the home’s architectural bones with stars in their eyes about the possibilities.

After a lengthy renovation, the home is now this family's dream house. That’s partly why Victoria advocates a slow, steady approach to renovation. “Let your house tell you what to change,” she says. “There’s no need to rush – a true family home takes time to get right.” For the couple, in renovation, as in relationships, life teaches you what you need.
Going-145.jpgA lengthy renovation
The original deck space now accommodates the kitchen extension with its tall windows. The 4' by 9' stained-oak island serves as a dining area as well as prep space and all-round hangout. To keep the millwork and island from making the kitchen too dark, homeowner Victoria Mifsud-Teti chose antiqued white cabinets, travertine floor tiles and a commercial-grade stove.

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