Interior: Eclectic and exotic glamour

Style at Home design editor Jessica Waks pulls out all the stops and transforms a diamond in the rough into her forever family home.

As a decorator searching for a fixer-upper to put my own stamp on, house hunting was a true exercise in imagination. Not everyone is able to visualize the hidden potential in a space that hasn’t been touched in more than 60 years, but I was convinced I had found my forever family home after stepping through the front door of this 1,900-square-foot red-brick charmer in midtown Toronto. One-and-a-half years and a major renovation later, my husband, David Goodman, and I moved in just in time to prepare for the arrival of our twin boys, Jack and Charlie.

The house had beautiful bones typical of the 1930s, but it needed a serious facelift and a complete overhaul of the plumbing, electrical and HVAC systems. I reconfigured the floor plan for optimal entertaining and family living, including a 1,000-square-foot two-storey addition to house an open-concept kitchen and family room on the main floor, and a master suite on the second. I also lengthened the dining room to accommodate a bigger crowd, added a main floor powder room, and opened up and extended the foyer for better flow. I put in closets wherever possible, too; coming from a family of five women, I know you can never have enough storage!


Accent chair

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Jessica found this chair on a Style at Home trip to the Brimfield Antique Show in Massachusetts. "I love its elaborate carvings and patina. It's like a sculpture that can hold its own in any room in the house."