This month we're back in Toronto and back to my neighbourhood of Parkdale. I first met Jenny when she invited me over to help her choose some paint colours for her home. However it was clear to me when I walked in that she didn't really need my advice! Her home already looked fantastic. I wasn't surprised when I heard that Jenny has an innovative renovation consulting company called Dwell Contracting. They provide unique services such as advising homeowners on whether they should fix up their current home or buy something new. If you're in the market for a home they will also accompany you to viewings and give you their unbiased opinion on the home's possible future issues or more importantly its design potential. It seems to me like they are filling an important gap in the home renovation market that is not serviced by either designers or contractors. Enjoy the tour!
Jenny Macdonald & Rob Harrison
Jenny: Renovation consultant. Principal and owner of Dwell contracting.
Rob: Director of Marketing at Alliance Films
3 boys: Wesley (nearly 5), and twins Emmett & Gillon (both 1-1/2)
Year Home was Built
How long have you lived in your home?
What’s your favorite room and why?
Jenny: I'd have to say our kids rooms. They have so many nice memories attached to them.
Rob: Our new master bedroom because it's nice and airy- great for reading.
How did you find your home?
Jenny: I had been actively looking for a house in this neighbourhood for a few months. I saw it first during an Open House. I really liked that it had a slightly different layout than the standard Victorian. We'd already lost several in bidding wars and I was determined to get this one.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Jenny: I've always loved everything to do with design and architecture, so I'm constantly reading blogs, books, magazines, poking around shops, walking the neighbourhood....I'm drawn to textiles, graphic prints, anything vintage, or hand-made, and, mid-century modern design in general.
How did you end up living in Parkdale?
Jenny: At the time it was one of the only affordable neighbourhood's in the west-end. That, and the proximity to High Park and family. We were looking for somewhere that we could feel at home raising a family. Now, I can't imagine living anywhere else. I feel so lucky to live here!
What did your home look like when you first saw it? What work have you done on it to make it your own?
Jenny: It looked very staged and not entirely lived-in, but it was still warm, and had something special about it. The previous owner had done a lot of work himself and was a complete perfectionist. Being in the renovation industry myself, this definitely appealed to me! We've done work in every room of the house, but the big things were finishing the basement, putting in a 2nd bathroom, and re-working the upstairs. It had 4 small bedrooms- 2 of which were really too small to be very useful, so we made one big master bedroom and extended the bathroom a little bit. A linen closet was a welcome addition too.
What would your dream house look like?
Jenny: Modern, open concept, floor to ceiling windows, south facing so it would be flooded with light, extensive use of natural materials. On a huge tree filled lot within walking distance of Roncesvalles. I know- keep dreaming!
Rob: I love ranch style bungalows. 70's look with a modern feel. Big yard, big trees.
What was the last thing your purchased for your home?
Jenny: The mirror in the front hallway from Mrs. Huizenga's on Roncesvalles.
Thanks Jenny and Rob for inviting us into your home. Please feel free to ask Jenny any questions you might have about the work they did on their place!
All photos by Kristin Sjaarda for The Marion House Book.