hello!neighbor - jenny

This is the tenth Hello! Neighbour post I have done and with each one I reach a little further out from my network of friends to discover new homes and places. I first learned about Jenny Francis from her blog which I came across when looking for a web designer (not only is she an architect but a graphic designer as well). She had a post about a Parkdale Victorian which immediately caught my eye. I loved the images of the exposed timber wood ceiling and cutout in the hallway and immediately started wondering if I could do the same thing to my Parkdale Victorian. Then a few months later, I was flipping through an issue of DesignLines magazine when I spotted not only the same beautiful ceiling but a long horizontal mirror that looked eerily familiar. I knew that mirror, it was a vintage find that got away! I was so upset about missing out on that mirror that I actually blogged about it here. I now knew not only who owned the beautiful Victorian house but the mirror as well, none other than Jenny Francis, herself. So, I reached out and sent her an email and asked her if we could tour her house. Of course, she said yes. Enjoy the tour!


Jenny Francis, principal and owner of Jenny Francis Design



How long have you lived in your home?

5 years

Any animals, kids?

2 charcoal grey cats

What is your favorite room?

The ground floor living/dining room. We have had fantastic dinner parties at this long table. It feels good to be in it.

What is your favorite object/thing/moment in your home?

The custom pieces that I have designed are special to me, such as the cocktail tables and the walnut dresser in the bedroom.

What are your future plans for the home?

Additional renovations are planned, for the exterior of the house, the upstairs (new bathroom, new custom closets) and we are considering turning the laneway garage into a little studio.

Anything you would change?

Yes certainly - the house is small and so every design move must be considered very carefully - we haven't touched certain areas yet but refinements are definitely planned.

Best thing about living in Parkdale?

It's a vibrant neighborhood, with a wonderful mix of cultures. It feels as though it's constantly changing and improving, which generates an energy that is exciting to be a part of.

What original feature(s) of your home will you never get rid of?

One of the nice things about the house is that none of the original interior partitions or finishes were precious, and so we could strip things back to a crisp, clean new space. The house is solid and well proportioned, but other than that, there is little we would hesitate to change. We would never get rid of the amazing douglas fir joists that we have exposed in the ceiling though - the wood is beautiful.

Thanks Jenny for letting us inside your home! I'm happy the mirror went to a good home. It looks absolutely perfect above your dresser. It was obviously meant to be.

All photographs by Kristin Sjaarda for The Marion House Book.


Image 1
- Wicker couch: InAbstracto
- Brass edged cocktail table: Custom designed by Jenny Francis for Hotel Le Germain
- Ottoman: 3rd Uncle for the Drake Hotel
Image 2
- Coat hook: Eames Hang-It-All
- Scarf: Virginia Johnson
Image 3
- Baskets: Hollace Cluny
- Jielde Lamp: Inside Modern Living
- Framed photo: framing by Soho Framing
Image 4
- Rolling bar cart: vintage stand, custom corian top
- Stool: Tolix
- Chair: vintage, reupholstered by The Big Stuff
- Mirror: from Chatelet
- Blanket: from Istanbul textiles market
- Pillow: from Fluf
Image 5
- Stools: Tolix
- Chairs: Caban
Image 6
- Brass edged cafe table: Custom designed by Jenny Francis for Hotel Le Germain
Image 7
- Mirror: vintage from Queen West Antiques
- Walnut dresser: custom, designed by Jenny Francis
- Side chair: vintage, from Machine Age Modern
- Pillows: Assorted, from Fluf, Caban, Dwell Studio
- Basket: West Elm
Image 8
- Framed prints: Top by George Taxali, bottom - lino cut bookplates
- Lamp, stool, case: all vintage
- Bedspread: from Istanbul textiles market
Image 9
- Mirror and framed photo: framed by Soho Framing
- Light: combination of vintage parts
- Dresser: vintage from Bungalow
Image 10
- Rolling table: vintage stand, custom solid walnut top

knock, knock

Does this ever happen to you (and I'm speaking mainly to the other bloggers out there but I'm sure it happens in other situations as well)? You find something that is really great and truly inspiring and you can't wait to blog about it and then right before you're about to write your post you realize that 10 other blogs have already written about the same topic - months ago, no less! Ugh! So frustrating! I mean there is nothing wrong with repeating content but if we all go around just talking about the same stuff then it gets a bit boring.

Well, I hate to say it but it's Friday morning and it's been a long, busy week and I was really excited by these images when I saw them yesterday so I'm going to go ahead with the post anyways. If you want to see more on the topic you can visit Desire to Inspire, Apartment Therapy, Emma's Design Blogg, or The Studio Blog (I wasn't kidding when I said that EVERYONE had already posted about it!) Oh and I'd just like to thank my friend, Alex for introducing me to the site.

Freunde von Freunden is a German site (with big, bold, beautiful photographs) that translates as Friend of a Friend. It seems to be compared to The Selby an awful lot but I don't know if that is really a fair analogy. Of course, the first time I looked at the pictures I couldn't help but be reminded of my own Hello! Neighbour posts (a bit self-centered, I know but hey, it's what I know best!) Of course, all of these house tours have common characteristics and strive for the same thing which is a little peek inside someone else's life.

What I really loved about this German site (beside the size of the photographs) was the inclusion of lots of images of the homeowners in their native habitat. This is something I have never down with my Hello! Neighbour tours. Is this something you would like to see or do you prefer unpeopled interiors? Of course, I don't know if I could convince my neighbours to have their photo taken, many like the anonymity. I also like the longer more in depth interviews. I was thinking in the New Year that I would change up the questions I ask the homeowners of my Hello! Neighbour posts. If you think of any good ones, let me know. By the way, December's installment of Hello! Neighbour will be up next week. We're visiting two young architects who have transformed their own Victorian row house into something amazing.

All images Freunde von Freunden

giveaway and studio tour!

Honestly, one of the best things about starting this blog has been the amazing people I have met both online and in person. Take Breanna, for example. A former creative director at Aritzia, Bre, decided to move down to Mexico for a year to pursue a simpler and more balanced life and ended up creating her own line of bags and scarves she sells under the name Scout & Catalogue. The line is heavily influenced by the bohemian beach culture of Mexico and is beautifully made using scavenged and hand-died fabrics.

Awhile back, I got an email from her telling me about how she had recently moved to Toronto and more specifically into my neighbourhood of Parkdale. She wondered if I'd be interested in doing a giveaway with her since she makes and produces all of the products inside her Parkdale studio. Since I'm a bit of a snoop, I asked her if we (me and my lovely Hello! Neighbour photographer Kristin Sjaarda) could come by and shoot her studio. Lucky for us, she said yes.

Her place was so interesting, I am actually going to do a full Hello! Neighbour post on it in January. So consider this a taste of things to come.

Bre is offering one of my readers the chance to win one of her limited edition Pastel Navajo Makeup Bags. To enter just leave a comment on this post by December 13th,Midnight (EST) telling me what your favorite item is from Scout & Catalogue's store. I will announce the winner next Tuesday, December 14th.

I think Scout & Catalogue is one of those lines to keep your eyes on. She is slightly ahead of the curve in terms of what is happening. Thanks Bre for writing that email and introducing yourself. It was such a pleasure to meet you this week and visit your studio. Now go enter to win!

The giveaway is now closed. Congratulations Alyssa!

Studio photographs by Kristin Sjaarda.

hello neighbor! sheldon & ulrika

Hello everyone...officially, I'm back! My plane landed yesterday evening and I'm slowly sinking back into the rhythm of daily life. I have so many wonderful images and discoveries of France that I can't wait to share with you. But first, we need to wrap up October with a Hello! Neighbour house tour. Then on Monday, I have one final guest post for you from Brooke of Pure and Noble. After that, I'll be back full time with a whole slew of new inspiring ideas and projects. Once again, I'd like to say a big thank you to all of the talented women that contributed guest posts while I was gone. You really kept The Marion House humming along! And now for the Hello! Neighbour house tour. Sheldon's an architect and Ulrika is Swedish, need I say more! The result is a clean, white modern space that is punctuated with hits of bright colour and wonderful Scandinavian textiles. I really love this place it has me dreaming of knocking down all my walls, hiring an architect and having a modern space built inside my Victorian shell.



Ulrika and Sheldon Catarino



How long have you lived in your home?

3 years

Any animals, kids?

2 kids

What is your favorite room?

The living room.

What is your favorite object, thing or moment in your home?

The glass wall in front of our stair transformed the space.

What are your future plans for the home?

To convert the ground floor apartment into a living and dining space.

Anything you would change?


Best thing about living in Parkdale?

The people.

What original feature(s) of your home will you never get rid of?

They were all gone when we moved in!

Thanks Sheldon and Ulrika!

All images by Kristin Sjaarda  for The Marion House Book.