Before and After: How a reno transformed a drab Wychwood craftsman into a glittering home
Goodbye, cavernous rooms, dusty shutters and cluttered cabinets. Hello, floral lounges, fabric curtains and one stunning wine cellar
A four-bedroom, four-bathroom detached craftsman home in Wychwood.
The current owners—a University of Toronto professor and the founder of a law firm—purchased this property in 1999 to raise their young children. In 2019, with the kids grown and moved out, they reached out to designer Megan Crosbie to give the place a facelift. This would be a new project for a new chapter in their lives. At first, the couple were just going to renovate their kitchen and basement. Then it snowballed to encompass every room in the house.
The goal was to honour the heritage of the home by keeping its gumwood walls and retaining the main level’s closed layout. Crosbie also enhanced the earthy colour palette with floral prints. “I tried to straddle the line between old world and new, so the end result doesn’t feel like a total jump,” she says.
With the kitchen’s layout set, Crosbie’s job was to update the design features. First, she replaced the old wall cabinets with a new, more contemporary set as well as open shelving in the corner. “It makes the room feel bigger and guides your eyes upward to the ceiling,” Crosbie says. She then installed a camouflaging appliance garage for the microwave, toaster and coffee maker.
The kitchen bar was rejigged slightly by moving the sink to the left for more counter space and shifting the wine fridge to the right. There are also new counters and a porcelain-tiled backsplash. That saloon-style door on the right is another traditional element the owners wanted to keep.
Crosbie appreciated the dining room’s gumwood walls but thought they were too dark and heavy for the space. So she brightened it by vanquishing the popcorn ceiling (the texture creates more shadows and makes the room feel smaller) and adding cream-coloured print wallpaper by William Morris. She then re-finished the table with a walnut stain and installed a light fixture from Montreal’s Lambert & Fils.
This used to be a crusty garage for storage. Now it’s a screened-in three-season room with a lounge, a dining area, a sink and a gas grill. All the furniture here is made for the outdoors. The counters are polished concrete, and the floor is flagstone. Shiplap panelling evokes a cottage feel. “My clients spend a lot of time in this space,” Crosbie says. “It makes you feel like you’re on vacation.”
In the powder room, Crosbie repainted the vanity and mirror in a light-grey hue, pairing the pieces with floral wallpaper, this time from Lewis and Wood. But she nixed the shutters. “I have a personal vendetta against California shutters,” she says. “They’re dated and dusty, and they block all the light.” So she replaced them with drapery to soften the vibe.
The guest-room bed used to lie under the window, making the room feel cramped. Crosbie turned it sideways and added wall-mounted plug-in sconces on both sides.
“My clients are in love with the blue crackle tiles in the secondary bathroom,” Crosbie says. Along with revamping the shower, the designer commissioned a custom dresser-style vanity and added a wall-mounted faucet and oversized honeycomb tiles.
For the new main bathroom: round penny-tile flooring and vertical subway tiles in the walk-in shower. There’s also a new medicine cabinet and a soaker tub.
Down in the basement, Crosbie removed the built-in shelving. The family loves video games, so the new storage is ideal for concealing equipment. The 1970s-style spindle shelves are a nice touch.
The old basement had an open wine rack. Now there’s a proper temperature-controlled pegboard-style cellar in its place. “We really wanted a show-stopping feature,” says Crosbie. “It’s the first thing you see when you walk downstairs.”
The once-sad laundry room now pops, with Caesarstone quartz counters and a sink. There’s even a raised dog shower, which continues the new tiled motif.
Finally, the backyard, where Crosbie incorporated a firepit with stone seating, a water fountain and a bird feeder.
Stoked about your staging? Recently finished a renovation? Send your story to [email protected].