Toronto’s Victorian vernacular is particular. Stripped of most of the architectural style’s typical ornamentation, the two-story 1800s red brick rowhouses focus solely on the largest elements, the curved bay window, usually spanning both levels but sometimes only the first, and the gabled roof. Terraced and semi-detached bay-and-gable homes went up row by row from the 1860s to the 1890s in the Canadian city’s oldest neighborhoods and are so beloved that 20th and 21st century versions emerged in the suburbs centuries later.
Parkdale was one of Toronto’s original Victorian enclaves, and its leafy streets are still lined with the abodes. For a couple and their dog who recently immigrated from the northern Italian region of Veneto, the historic bones and large back garden of one such 1,500-square-foot, red-doored house was an appeal. However, it needed a few changes to fit their lifestyle—the new owners are nature enthusiasts, regular yogis, and often host family members for long-term stays. In 2019, the homeowner, Eva—herself an urban planner—called on an old McGill University School of Architecture classmate to realize the new design.
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