In the summer, I had the privilege of meeting Anna and Felipe. They live in a beautiful, sprawling Victorian house in South Parkdale. We shot the house for Hello! Neighbor when a local magazine, Toronto Life contacted me about doing another house tour for them. (You might remember I did a previous one for them here.) I showed them the photos of this house and they decided it would be a good fit for the magazine. The story ran in the December issue of the magazine (an online version is available here). Below are the original photos we took along with the interview. Anna and Felipe met in Barcelona, Spain and I think the warmth and colourful nature of that culture can be seen in their home.
Enjoy the tour!
Anna and Felipe
Lawyer/writer and Spanish teacher/writer
No, but we do dog sit.
Year Home was Built
How long have you lived in your home?
What’s your favorite room and why?
Anna: The dining room because I love its spaciousness and the light in the afternoon. It has the advantage of two views: our backyard, which feels almost like the country, and the street, which is distinctly more urban.
Felipe: I can’t pick a single room. We’ve put so much work into the house and I’ve spent so much time in every corner that every room has its value for me.
How did you find your home?
We had been looking for a place in the West end for 8 months. By the time we found this house, we had lost 2 bidding wars, and had walked away from a third property because of an unscrupulous real estate agent (not ours).
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Anna: I think Felipe and I often inspire and play off of each other. If I had to describe our dynamic, I’d say he’s the artist and I’m the curator/editor. What I love about that is that we’re both intensely interested in our space and how we can make it beautiful, useful and reflective of us. Sometimes our process involves heated arguments over seemingly ridiculous things like whether a tile should be beveled or flat, but we always get to a place we both love.
Felipe: It’s really random. Sometimes I’m just walking or experimenting with something and an idea comes to me.
How did you end up living in Parkdale?
Anna: When Felipe and I came back to Canada from Spain two years ago, we decided to settle in the West end, which we were both drawn to whenever we visited Toronto. We found a great apartment in Parkdale and fell in love with the community and how dynamic the neighbourhood was, so we focused our home search here when we started looking.
What did your home look like when you first saw it? What work have you done on it to make it your own?
Anna: Many parts of the home were well taken care of, but dated. In addition to painting every part of it and plastering over some unattractive wall finish, we gutted both bathrooms, put in a second floor laundry and updated the kitchen. I think it’s brought the house to life. We’re now concentrating on remaking the amazing backyard, which had been overrun by weeds when we moved in, and which we’ve now partly converted into a very productive vegetable garden.
Felipe: The house felt like being inside a giant carrot cupcake when we first moved in. The walls were a browny yellow with a really rough texture. That was the first thing we changed.
What would your dream house look like?
Anna: I don’t have a single set of criteria for a dream house. Every home we’ve had has offered us the opportunity to create a space that is special to us and unique to the house itself. This is my dream house, and I hope that, if there’s a next house, it will be my dream house too. In terms of what dreams we have for this particular house, we’ve come to the end of our initial renovation phase and now have to finish furnishing it. Once that’s done, we may turn to phase two renos, which include a larger kitchen that opens directly to the backyard, perhaps with floor to ceiling glass along the back wall, but that’s a very distant and optimistically prosperous future.
Felipe: This house is one of my dream houses. I’m sure that every house we have will be a dream house for us.
What was the last thing you purchased for your home?
A piece of art – Nice Eis by Julie Jenkinson (at InAbstracto).
Thanks for inviting is into your lovely home Anna and Felipe!
Living Room – pink and yellow chairs upholstered by Tina Morgan
Bathroom Vanity – built by Jeremy Kehoe – The Carroll Street Woodworkers
All photos by Kristin Sjaarda for The Marion House Book.