Photography: Stacey Brandford | Design: Stacy McLennan | Styling: Ann Marie Favot
Can a one-story house in suburbia resemble a New York City loft? This Etobicoke, Ont., abode does one better.
Helen and Leo Romano frequently travel for their IT consultant jobs, so they often find themselves in chic hotel rooms across North America. “I’m very lucky,” says Helen, adding that her favourite places to stay are the loft-like suites in Manhattan. So it’s no surprise that in 2015, when the couple decided to take the plunge and renovate their 2,200-square-foot Etobicoke, Ont., bungalow, the banks of the Hudson River were top of mind.
“Her inspiration was a Tribeca neighbourhood loft with floor-to-ceiling windows,” says Stacy McLennan, the interior designer Helen called upon to execute her vision. To create the light-filled airy look she desired, the first item on the agenda became removing the walls that separated the kitchen, dining and living space. New windows were a close second. “I knew exactly what I wanted,” says Helen, who collaborated with Fieldstone Windows & Doors Ltd. to replicate the thin black window frames she’d seen in her travels. “With their horizontal mullions, the windows instantly changed the space, making it look more linear and contemporary,” says Stacy.
But Helen and Leo didn’t want to just drag and drop the metropolitan feel into their circa-1955 abode. They hoped to pay homage to their home’s past while giving it a look befitting the present – and beyond. Stacy answered with a timeless transitional aesthetic. In the white-on-white kitchen, that meant introducing traditional Shaker-style cabinetry augmented by edgy black accessories. In the living room, cozy-yet-streamlined furniture layered with textural elements offers interest to a muted palette. And in the dining room, the clients’ own upholstered chairs and square table feel current in updated surrounds.
Best of all, far from hustle and bustle, those big city-esque windows overlook a peaceful suburban scene. “I didn’t even put up any drapes,” says Helen, noting that this area of the house offers garden views. “I feel very relaxed in my house, in every room.” It’s clear that for these frequent flyers, there truly is no place like home.
Home-owner Helen Romano planned to put up drapery throughout, but once the new minimalist windows were installed, she thought, “I love them so much I don’t want anything decorative.” In the dining room, they frame verdant views, creating a modern backdrop for furniture she already owned.
“I wanted a light and airy kitchen,” says helen . “I thought white was the best way to get it.” To that end, interior designer Stacy McLennan used white shaker-style cabinetry, a subway tile backsplash and quartz countertops. Black accents tie in the windows.
Finished on site, the slim-plank flooring is in keeping with the vintage of the bungalow. “The mix gives this space longevity,” says Stacy.
“We used texture rather than accent colours,” says Stacy of the subdued living room layered with a sisal rug and velvet toss cushions.
Of the original limestone fireplace surround, she says: “Its weathered, worn finish isn’t something you’d expect in this modern space. The juxtaposition makes it work.”