How a TV show kick-started a long, loving east-end renovation
When Danielle and Greg Bryk bought their three-storey Edwardian near Queen and Woodbine nine years ago, it was dilapidated, with drug paraphernalia littering the floor and cracks in the ceiling. But they loved the neighbourhood for its schools, and the fact that Danielle’s parents live nearby. After they closed on the property, they agreed to be on a home renovation TV show on the W network. Danielle, who was originally a stay-at-home mom, has since hosted her own shows on HGTV and recently worked on a documentary for the Cottage Life channel.
Initially, Danielle and Greg’s goal was just to make the house livable for themselves and their three kids. Getting the wood-burning fireplace in the living room up to code was a challenge, but well worth it: the family has a fire going nearly every day in the winter. Upstairs, Danielle transformed a spare bedroom into a giant master bathroom. A few years later, they took down all the main-floor walls to open up the kitchen and dining area, and ditched a back pantry to make space for a light-filled mudroom. They also rejigged the kitchen layout to accommodate a massive family-style dining table, which can seat 14 guests for dinner parties.
The kitchen’s raw look was meant to be temporary, but they discovered they loved the edgy, mismatched style. Danielle appreciates having everything on display. “I’ve found that if I can’t see something, it goes to waste,” she says. A minimalist philosophy keeps all the countertops clear. When it comes to art and plants, though, she believes more is more. “They’re my two weaknesses,” she admits.
Danielle found these “lion” letters at a salvage shop. She installed them to surprise Greg, who’s a Leo and obsessed with lions. “It’s fitting because it’s usually a bit of a zoo in here,” she says:
The circular painting behind the dining room table reminds Danielle of her grandmother. They found it in a tiny gallery in Paris and instantly fell in love with it. Although they didn’t buy it at the time, after spending four years thinking about it, they tracked down the gallery on Facebook and placed the order:
Danielle loved the original strip flooring in the front of the house, so she mimicked it in the kitchen. The mismatched appliances, countertops and shelving complete the look:
Danielle is obsessed with kimonos, so she hung a vintage one above their fireplace. “I love simple, minimalist architecture but I also love the lushness and richness of something like this as a contrast,” she says:
The claw-foot tub was originally in the kids’ bathroom, but they moved it during their first renovation. “It was so cramped in there we opted to just make a shower and steal the tub for ourselves,” Danielle says:
The piece above their bed, by an Ivorian artist, reminds Danielle of their kids. “They’re my three monsters,” she says: