House Tours

House tour: Rustic and refined home

House tour: Rustic and refined home

Modern-meets-rustic living room. Author: Lisa Petrole

House Tours

House tour: Rustic and refined home

Designer Paula Velez's 112-year-old home gets a modern-rustic makeover, in which cherished keepsakes and new-found favourites happily coexist.

On a quaint, leafy street in midtown Toronto, a vibrant orange front door on a charming whitewashed brick home is the only clue to the study in contrasts that lies within.

Designer Paula Velez purchased the place two years ago, after combing the neighbourhood for its oldest homes. Built in 1903, the narrow, 2,800-square-foot three-floor house was cramped, dark and outdated. But Paula – who moved to Toronto from Colombia 14 years ago – saw its potential as an airy space that blended the building’s history with a modern-rustic vibe.

During a nine-month home renovation, the walls separating her kitchen, living room and dining room came down, creating one large open area flooded with light - a move that left the electricians scratching their heads over where to relocate the light switches and plugs. 

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House tour: Rustic and refined home

Before the home renovation

Perhaps the biggest change was to the top floor, which was gutted to make way for a spacious master bedroom – and a dream ensuite bath – where new and expanded windows take full advantage of the outdoor scenery.

Image by: Style at Home By: Wendy Helfenbaum Source: Lisa Petrole

House tour: Rustic and refined home

Vaulted ceiling family room

After falling in love with a pair of handmade woven stools she found in New York City, Paula brought them home to use together as a DIY coffee table in the family room, her most-used space in the house.

Image by: Style at Home By: Wendy Helfenbaum Source: Lisa Petrole

House tour: Rustic and refined home

Steel tiled living room

The white painted living room's wood-burning fireplace features a dramatic Italian steel tile surround and is complimented by the sculptural triangular coffee table. "I love the modern triangular shape - it's organic and classic," says Paula, who topped it with antique shoe moulds for contrast.

Image by: Style at Home By: Wendy Helfenbaum Source: Lisa Petrole

House tour: Rustic and refined home

Large dining room

Paula saw that something was missing in her dining room: The painted white walls were too stark. "I happened to have three giant coffee bags I'd bought back from Colombia, so I framed them," she says.

Image by: Style at Home By: Wendy Helfenbaum Source: Lisa Petrole

House tour: Rustic and refined home

Before: Kitchen

Before Paula's rustic kitchen renovation.

Image by: Style at Home By: Wendy Helfenbaum Source: Lisa Petrole

House tour: Rustic and refined home

Upgraded kitchen

The new rustic kitchen features dark grey lower kitchen cabinetry and floating metal shelves that showcase favourite pottery decor and collectibles from Paula's travels. The adjustable stools can be used at the kitchen island for quick breakfasts or lowered to serve as extra seating around the dining table.

Image by: Style at Home By: Wendy Helfenbaum Source: Lisa Petrole

House tour: Rustic and refined home

Honeycomb backsplash

The white honeycomb tiled kitchen backsplash stretches up to the ceiling, lending height to the room.

Image by: Style at Home By: Wendy Helfenbaum Source: Lisa Petrole

House tour: Rustic and refined home

Updated home office decor

Paula updated a tired wooden chair in her new home office with cheerful yellow paint. "You don't have to spend millions of dollars for great design," she says. "Be creative, use what you have and love your pieces." The artwork made by her aunt in Colombia is another favourite.

Image by: Style at Home By: Wendy Helfenbaum Source: Lisa Petrole

House tour: Rustic and refined home

Distressed wood bedroom door

In the master bedroom, a sliding barn door crafted from distressed wood is offset by the eclectic antler chandelier in the stairwell, which homeowner and designer Paula Velez spray-painted with five coats of splashy orange for a modern lodge look.

Image by: Style at Home By: Wendy Helfenbaum Source: Lisa Petrole

House tour: Rustic and refined home

Sun-drenched master bedroom

In the sun-drenched master bedroom, Paula positioned the new white windows to take full advantage of the wooded view beyond, which she echoed in the birch tree wallpaper.

Image by: Style at Home By: Wendy Helfenbaum Source: Lisa Petrole

House tour: Rustic and refined home

1940s chairs

Paula calls this antique 1940s chair and its matching companion (not shown). "The Survivors" after they endured nine months surrounded by plaster dust and power tools. "I bought them from the previous owners, but I had nowhere to store them. Every time I checked on the house, these chairs were in a different place - I thought they'd get destroyed, but they made it," she says. "They're now in my master bedroom."

Image by: Style at Home By: Wendy Helfenbaum Source: Lisa Petrole

House tour: Rustic and refined home

Rustic concrete sink

A rustic industrial-style grey concrete  sink ("it looks like something cows drink from on a farm," says Paula) is juxtaposed with a sculptural antique-look bathtub ("I love that it's traditional and romantic") to create the ultimate retreat in her master bath.

Image by: Style at Home By: Wendy Helfenbaum Source: Lisa Petrole

House tour: Rustic and refined home

Antler towel hooks

Antlers used as DIY towel hooks reference the others throughout the home.

Image by: Style at Home By: Wendy Helfenbaum Source: Lisa Petrole

House tour: Rustic and refined home

5 reno take-aways

For someone about to renovate: Count on the project taking longer than you'd expect. Things never go as smoothly as you think they will. Most worthwhile investment: The wireless ceiling speaker makes my home a beautiful jewellery box with music. Best out-of-the-box idea: Pairing an industrial concrete sink with a traditional clawfoot tub in her master bath. Favourite budget find: The reclaimed barn beams scored at a farm outside Toronto add character to the family room's vaulted ceiling. Biggest regret: Not making my bedroom closet bigger! It always seems larger before you move in.

Image by: Style at Home By: Wendy Helfenbaum Source: Lisa Petrole

 

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House Tours

House tour: Rustic and refined home