hello!neighbor - ana & christian

As your scrolling through the images of this month's Hello! Neighbor tour take some time to stop at look at the photos of the kitchen. One of the things that drew Ana and Christian to this house was the original 1950s cabinetry yet every contractor they spoke to insisted they tear it out and start again. Instead this couple chose to add in a black and white checked floor, a farmhouse style sink and butcher block countertops essentially making it their own. One of my favourite things about doing these house tours is stories like these where homeowners stick to their guns to fulfill their own vision of what home is. Enjoy the tour!

Names: Christian Friis + Ana Yuristy

Occupations: Biologist with Canadian Wildlife Service and Director of Hotel Operations for the Drake Hotel

Do you have any kids or pets? Our daughter Sabine (5 months old) + our dog Toby (an English Setter)  Year Home was Built: 1901

How long have you lived in your home?

Since November 2008 (4 years)

What’s your favorite room?

The kitchen--it gets lots of light, has plenty of space, and its where all the action is whenever we have a gathering of friends and family.

How did you find your home?

We spent a long time looking for a place in the East end (our old apartment was at Danforth + Broadview). We finally expanded our search West and with the help of our good friend and real estate agent extraordinaire Avryll McNair we landed a great deal on our place just before the economic meltdown of 2008.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

I would describe our aesthetic as preference for the worn, loved, and  vintage. Especially when it comes to fabric and furniture--if the design looks 'new' we don't tend to dig it.

How did you end up living in Parkdale?

We absolutely lucked into an incredibly family friendly neigbourhood and street. Close to work (for Ana) and close to the subway (for Christian). Plus with High Park (for Toby) and the shops on Roncesvalles only a short walk away it is an ideal location for us in every way.

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

The layout of the house was pretty typical but we fell in love with the size and layout of the kitchen in particular right away. When we first moved in we had a tough time finding a contractor who was willing to work with the existing 1950s kitchen cabinetry which we loved. At first, everyone we met insisted we rip it out and start fresh with brand new cabinets and granite countertops which is not really our style. Our vision was to match + extend the existing cabinetry along the South wall, and tie it all together with a butcher block counter, simple checkerboard floor tiles, and a farmhouse sink. We think it turned out great! We also designed a bench which doubles as a shelf for shoes and a storage box for outdoor gear since we would need to tear down the mudroom in order to have space for the bi-level cedar deck built in our backyard. Our backyard is pretty shady so we finally learned our lesson that tomatoes and herbs won't work, but our next big project is to landscape with a rock garden and lots of ferns. We also had our bathroom professionally redone after an initial try at doing the re-tiling ourselves. In the living room we built an entire wall of shelving to accommodate a gorgeous old cast iron fireplace front we found on Craigslist.

What would your dream house look like?

Flooded with sunlight on a sugar maple farm in the country.

What was the last thing your purchased for your home?

Fresh flowers--our home's favourite accessory, especially in the middle of the grey winter months.

Thanks Ana and Christian for inviting us into your home.

What's your favourite feature of their home?

All photographs by Kristin Sjaarda for The Marion House Book.