A tech executive’s fanciful home with killer ravine views
Before her extensive renovations, the place felt like a dark, moody bordello
In 2013, Eliane Mainberger, a design exec at a tech company, was living in Romania with her three children when she got a call from friends in Toronto, her hometown. A grand old 1918 house on their street (which she loved) in Cedarvale had just gone up for sale. At the time, Eliane had been planning to move back to Toronto so her eldest daughter could attend UTS. When her friends showed Eliane the ravine views from the house via Skype, she was sold. She bought the place based on that Skype session and didn’t see it in person until moving day.
The home, with its dark wood details, was a big change from her ultra-modern 5,000-square-foot penthouse in Bucharest. “It felt like a bordello,” says Eliane. “I’d come in and expect to see women lounging and smoking in the living room.” She slowly started to modernize the structure, and a few years later embarked on a more extreme aesthetic revamp with her beau, Arjen van der Broek. The goal was to make it bright and airy, so they painted everything white and filled the walls with quirky, colourful pieces. Now, the house oozes warmth: on chilly winter evenings, Eliane and her family can be found playing games by the fire until the early hours of the morning.
The basement flooded earlier this year, and the family was forced to renovate. Their favourite change was converting an old cedar closet into a two-person sauna:
Eliane collects masks from all over the world, including ones from Panama, Indonesia, Morocco, the Himalayas and Switzerland. Her carpet collection was one of the few things that stayed after the multiple renovations:
Eliane’s family are Holocaust survivors, and she created a shrine to her heritage in the dining room. On the wall is a painting of her great-great-great-great-great-grandfather from Vienna. This chair was confiscated during the Second World War and returned to Eliane’s family afterwards:
Eliane’s mother, a textile artist, handmade this piece using dyed fabrics and imported gold leaf from Italy:
Eliane and Arjen on the back deck overlooking the ravine: