hello!neighbor-emily and norman

When I started this Hello! Neighbor series a couple of years ago I thought I would document a couple of homes in my neighborhood of Parkdale. I made a short list of friends and friends of friends and thought that would be it. I had no idea that 30 homes later I would still be doing this. Of course, the reason I continue to press on is primarily because I'm nosy! I love to see how people decorate their homes and I get a real pleasure out of meeting the homeowners and listening to their stories. Today, we're visiting another "dale" in Toronto. We're heading over to Riverdale which is on the East side of the city. (Parkdale the neighbourhood I generally cover is in the West End. There is one more "dale" in Toronto which is Rosedale located in the centre of the city.)

Emily Griffin a fellow interior designer has graciously invited us into her eclectic house.

Enjoy the tour!


Emily Griffin and Norman Howe


Emily - Interior Designer and Mother of Three!

Norman - President and CEO of Butterfield & Robinson (luxury biking and walking company)

Kids, pets?  3 kids:  Grace, Max and Oscar

Year Home was Built

I think it was built in the early 1900s -perhaps 1915ish

How long have you lived in your home?

Emily: Just over 6 years

What's your favorite room and why?

Our African front room.  I love the coziness of the room, all the interesting things to look at and the wall colour by Farrow and Ball is delicious.  The light in that room is also the best in the house so it is a treat to curl up and read the paper in the morning or in the afternoon.

How did you find your home?

When I got pregnant unexpectantly  with Oscar we knew we had to move out of our tall thin row house in Cabbagetown. We looked for about 3 months and lost a few other houses thanks to bidding wars which we thank our lucky stars we didn't get now that we are in this house. We absolutely love it and will be here for as long as the house will keep us.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

The house is a real mixture of Norman and my styles.  We both love colour, books and art but Norman would have way more art up on the walls if I wasn't around and every room in the house would be painted a crazy colour - he still longs for a dining room in "Burnt Carrot" a colour he saw in London when he lived there.  There are a lot of family items in the house - the dining room is filled with a lot of Norman's late father's Haida art and a number of antiques from both sets of grandparents on my mom and dad's side.  I would probably describe our house as eclectic if I had to use one adjective.

How did you end up living in Riverdale?

After Cabbagetown, which didn't have a ton of families, I wanted to live in a neighborhood with artistic people like Cabbagetown but one that had lots of kids on the streets - we got it in spades here.

What did your home look like when you first saw it? What work have you done on it to make it your own?

The previous owners maintained the house beautifully but it hadn't been touched since the 70's. We gutted the kitchen and put on an addition off the back of the house; painted everything, re-did the floors and gutted the third floor to make it into our master bedroom/bathroom retreat.

What would your dream house look like?


What was the last thing your purchased for your home?

Two Indian block print duvet covers in Jaipur over Christmas for the boys rooms.

Thanks Emily for having us over.

And don't forget to enter the Brave giveaway for a cork clutch on Monday's post!

Pillows in living room and bedroom from Constantine.

All photos by Natasha Nicholson for The Marion House Book.