Today I have an beautiful, colourful loft for you to feast your eyes on! I was going to say it was a first for the Hello! Neighbor series when I remembered that I have in fact ran one other loft space. There are actually quite a few original raw industrial spaces in the neighbourhood of Parkdale. Many of these have now been made into converted living spaces. And you can see why! With their soaring ceilings, expansive windows and original brick walls they make pretty impressive homes. Enjoy the tour!
Name - Avryll McNair
Occupation - Realtor
Coltrane (amazing hound dog – 4yrs), Blue (cat – 10yrs), Martha (cat 21 yrs)
Year Place was Built
Registered as a condo corporation in fall 2007
How long have you lived in your home?
I moved in January 2008 after some initial renovation.
What’s your favorite room and why?
Only 3 rooms and it’s a tie! The bedroom because, I love the brick, the incredible closet space & that it’s cozy like a fox den. The living/dining/kitchen, because there’s a strong sense of the industrial heritage of the building, and it’s a spectacular showcase for the artwork I’ve collected over the years.
How did you find your home?
It was a spontaneous purchase. I had a great space previously where I lived for 11 years, I was willing to move only if/when I found an authentic loft with parking, a separate office & outdoor space. I wasn’t really looking for myself but I stumbled across the plans for this while researching for a client (who was not interested in this space). I think this unit had been sold then came available when someone backed out due to construction delays on the building..... the plans resonated with me, I knew this would be the right next step for me.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I studied industrial design at OCAD and I’ve always drawn inspiration from various places: travel, fashion (not necessarily trends), design magazines, products, homes I visit while working, my friends & their homes. I’m passionate about highly functional small spaces and in my mind, I constantly redesign places I visit for optimal efficiency. My clients can attest to how passionate I am about clever storage solutions!
How did you end up living in Parkdale?
I consider myself a Parkdale pioneer! I moved to this neighbourhood in 1992 when I came to Toronto for school, it was very different them but still had a wonderful sense of community. I was 1 of 3 girls planning to live together who must have looked lost while heading to view an apartment in the east end (now a very desirable neighbourhood). 2 bicycle police stopped us to offer directions, when we told them we were looking for an apartment they grabbed our map and circled a few neighbourhoods where they “would let their sisters live”...... one of them lived in Roncesvalles and gave it a great review so we concentrated our search in this area. 2 years ago the house we rented came up for sale and our old apartment looked almost exactly the same 19 years later!
What did your home look like when you first saw it? What work have you done on it to make it your own?
It’s been an evolution, although it was a new condo when I bought, I treated it as raw space knowing I would want to upgrade the builder’s finishes and change things to improve function for the way I live (read a minimalist in denial of hoarding tendencies + pet enthusiast). Over the years I have chipped away at various projects: I polished the concrete floors which are now smooth as silk and so easy to keep clean with all these animals! I renovated the kitchen to improve scale, function & aesthetic, added storage in the bedroom, the custom built-in that doubles as closet + office in the den, renovated everything but the tub & shower in the bathroom.
What would your dream house look like?
Which dream house? The farm house, the cottage, the industrial conversion or the classic downtown Victorian..... with an art background, I’m always dreaming! I’m working on the next house now, it has some Scandinavian influence with great light, open concept, durable & natural finishes, a bit softer overall.
What was the last thing you purchased for your home?
All photos by Kristin Sjaarda for The Marion House Book.