A Wychwood Edwardian gets a $900,000 makeover
Reno cost: $900,000
Designer: M House Inc.
Shirley Meisels, M House Inc.’s founder and principal designer, had worked with this client on a prior reno, but as she explains, this 3,000-square-foot detached postwar residence marked a significant step forward for the homeowner—in both scope and aesthetic. Whereas the previous space was an Edwardian with classic features, the client had a graphic, modern vision for her new home. That meant blowing out the back wall to create a bank of windows and relocating the staircase, replacing the staid, traditional wooden risers, rails and banister with a sleek, gloriously airy glass-walled structure. Shifting the stairs divided the space into two proto-wings, with the family and laundry rooms tucked away from the more guest-friendly sitting and dining spaces. Hiccups are inevitable when undertaking such a major project, but in this case the challenges yielded some surprisingly cool features. Reconfiguring the ground floor, for instance, allowed for the addition of a self-contained workspace, and, rather than removing (at great cost) a load-bearing beam, Meisels created a partial division between rooms that multi-tasks as a reading nook, bookshelf, media centre and broom closet.
The graphic pattern of the quartzite stone counters and backsplash was meant to inject a bit of life into the otherwise austere kitchen:
After moving the staircase, Meisels carved out this office nook off the family room, providing a convenient station for homework and household paper-shuffling:
This reading nook was created to mask an inconveniently low-hanging beam. It also separates the kitchen and family room:
Here it is from the kitchen side:
The dropped ceiling in the master bedroom marks the division between the original house and the extension. Meisels used diagonal blocks of black and white paint to highlight the split and makes it seem like an intentional graphic element:
She moved the stairs at the client’s request, so they wouldn’t be the first thing you see upon entering the house:
Here’s the exterior:
And here’s a sampling of what the interior looked like before Meisels did her thing: