hello!neighbor-murray & sian

This month’s edition of Hello! Neighbour brings us into the home of Murray and Sian. I have to say that one of the lovely benefits of doing this post is that I am getting to know the people in my neighbourhood! There is something about being in someone’s home that tells you so much about them. Murray and Sian’s place is no exception. Their home is like a book waiting to be unravelled. I found myself wanting to know the story behind every object, book and artwork in their home. Sian kindly obliged me and by the end of the tour (a few hours later!) I really felt like I knew her a little bit better.

Enjoy the tour!



Journalist & Photographer

How long have you lived in your home?

2 1/2 years

Any animals, kids?

1 child, another one arriving in a few weeks.

What is your favorite room?

The den/family room

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

The lovely light from our southern exposure; the huge old cherry tree in the back yard; the vintage photo of a Peruvian giant from Sian’s uncle in South America.

Martin Chamby

What are your future plans for the home?

To move into the whole thing. Right now we live in the top two floors and have a tenant on the first.

Anything you would change?

I’m not sure we would have used marble in the bathroom. It’s beautiful and we love it, but it’s high maintenance.

Best thing about living in Parkdale?

Our location. We love what Roncesvalles has to offer for day to day, family living….but it’s nice to not be too far removed from something a bit more urban on the Queen West/Parkdale strip.

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

There wasn’t much left when we moved in — it had been gutted and made into 2 apartments decades before. So when it came time to do the porch — which, when we moved in, was an enclosed box of nasty brown aluminum and glass — we asked an architect friend to sketch whatever came to mind. It was very non-traditional, but we thought it worked with the building’s disjointed history, so we went with it. Inside, we reconditioned the upper 3-bedroom apartment for our own use, and will do the same downstairs at some point. We embraced the fact that it wasn’t at all precious — no fussy Victorian details here; it was a big brick box — so it was a blank slate to create our own blend of old and new.

All photographs by Kristin Sjaarda for The Marion House book.

Thanks Murray and Sian!

Filed under hello! neighbor


  1. Posted September 30, 2010 at 9:19 AM | Permalink

    Oh my, another gorgeous home in your neighbourhood. This is such a perfect example of what I would love my home to look like – simple, personal, classy and sophisticated. Love it from top to bottom.

  2. Posted September 30, 2010 at 9:37 AM | Permalink

    You were right, it’s wonderful. So natural and organic with beautiful personal touches. I still can not get over this mecca of creativity in which you live. What an amazing neighborhood!

  3. Posted September 30, 2010 at 9:46 AM | Permalink

    Another great house tour. I definitely could not tell this used to be a big brick box – it has so much personality and a great mix of old and new. I like how it is child-friendly (no obvious hazards) but not overtly so. And the list of child names on the chalkboard, I’m guessing, is cute.

  4. Posted September 30, 2010 at 9:52 AM | Permalink

    Wow, I could definitely feel at home there.

  5. Posted September 30, 2010 at 10:25 AM | Permalink

    It is just crazy how stylish you & your neighbors are! I love it! :) This home is so chic & warm…I love so many of the details…the blackboard wall, the repurposed old drawer in the kitchen, the simple & chic bathroom( sorry about the marble but, it is gorgeous isn’t it? ) I love this series & it makes me want to move into your neighborhood a little…;)

  6. Posted September 30, 2010 at 10:40 AM | Permalink

    Very nice, but I’m starting to suspect your ‘Hello Neighbor’ series is a ploy by the Canadian government to make all other nations feel that our quality of life sucks in comparison. How can there be such an endless supply of perfectly designed, well styled houses owned by creative types, in just one neighborhood? I have lots of creative friends, but not one has such a well put together house. Impressive! (It does make me feel better to see that at least I have the same kitchen faucet, thanks to the great equalizer, Ikea).

  7. Posted September 30, 2010 at 11:01 AM | Permalink

    I think “Hello Neighbour” is one of my all-time favourite features of any blog.

    I really love how they’ve mixed in vintage pieces into every single room. The old filing cabinet drawer to organize bottles in the kitchen is pure genius! Once again, another beautiful home.

  8. Posted September 30, 2010 at 3:55 PM | Permalink

    Wow, I love that bathroom and kitchen. Marble is a pain, but so pretty!

    Your neighbors are really stylish. I am a bit jealous. I should ask around my block, I bet the crazy cat hoarder and the family with four sofas on the porch have spectacular places.

  9. Murray
    Posted September 30, 2010 at 4:42 PM | Permalink

    Hi all — Thanks for the lovely comments! Y’all are welcome on over for tea …
    Anyway, Sasha, there’s a TON of “equalizers” all over our place, but the trick is to make them invisible with as many more interesting things around them as possible.
    That kitchen of ours is IKEA straight out of the box — practically peel and stick! — but we managed to offset it with eclectic character pieces (like the file drawer and the reclaimed raw mahogany shelf) so that it just kind of disappears. Unless you’re a billionaire (and we really are NOT) this is just plain old necessity.
    Anyway, someday that kitchen will undergo a redux as a walk-in closet and laundry room (the sink and cabinets become laundry sink and storage), attached to the eventual master BR, which is now the dining room … someday. Ah, someday.
    Anyway, thanks for all the comments — it’s been fun. And thanks to Emma for turning our house inside out and making us look good! Cheers, MW

  10. Posted September 30, 2010 at 5:02 PM | Permalink

    great place, it has got a wonderful atmosphere…

  11. Posted September 30, 2010 at 6:38 PM | Permalink

    What a nice balance of masculine and feminine, historic and modern, light and heavy. I really love this series of yours. How come everyone on your street is married to a photographer?

  12. Posted September 30, 2010 at 9:30 PM | Permalink

    Hi Natalie – I know – seriously they are all photographers! We were just laughing about that the other day. I guess they all love the neighbourhood and I happen to know a few of them.

  13. Posted October 1, 2010 at 2:25 AM | Permalink

    Emma, what a great series this is — and you sure are surrounded by some very fun and design savvy people!

    I love so many things in Murray and Sian’s home. Their home is just the perfect mix between eclectic, interesting and happy! And if they want to swap bath rooms — I am all in. (I don’t care about the maintenance if it looks that good!)

    And wishbone chairs… I keep wishing & dreaming. One of these days….

    Happy weekend to you Emma and your talented neighbors!

    ox, Mon

  14. Posted October 1, 2010 at 9:01 AM | Permalink

    Wow! I would love neighbours like yours…i’m pretty certain that none on my neighbours have this kind of style…the little ceramic bunnies on the lawn are a dead giveaway. great post.

  15. Posted October 3, 2010 at 11:03 PM | Permalink

    Oh my goodness. So wonderful. I love every inch of this home, but mostly the kitchen and all of their shelving. Love. xo

  16. Posted March 12, 2011 at 9:18 PM | Permalink

    that is just perfect, love their style. would happily move straight in and not change a thing. jx

  17. Priyanka
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 11:59 PM | Permalink

    OMG, I LOVE everything about this home! So beautiful, real and authentic. Can you please, please, please find out for me – where did they get their dining room chairs? They are amazeballs!

3 Trackbacks

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  3. By Apartment Envy | How I Waste Time on February 12, 2012 at 11:09 PM

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