The Vintage Dream: Waverly House, Mile End

For a young professional, this was a spectacular opportunity to create a dreamy first home. An art collector, avid fan of vintage furniture, and leaning towards British and Scandinavian eclecticism, the concept was entirely based on her exceptional style.

Photographer: Ronan Méziere

Renovated by Sandra Signe Design, the transformation included expanding the  openings toward the back garden, a new kitchen, and an adapted layout for the first floor, joining the principal suite with a larger bathroom and new walk-in, with second and third bedrooms for guests and an office.  

The client had chosen this century-old house in Mile End as much for the neighborhood as for the possibility of maintaining the maximum of the original details possible. Throughout the renovation, meticulous work was done to restore the original doors and moldings to maintain the historical aspects the client loved. When the upstairs hardwood floors were found to be unsalvageable, we opted for a new herringbone pattern in light oak as a replacement, a lovely occasion to insert more motifs into the design of the house. 

The entire main floor is much brighter thanks to a raised supporting wall opening in the main hall and a large new sliding door leading straight out to the garden. The prior renter’s kitchen is opened-up to be a chef’s dream, plenty of counter space and a striking 6-burner Bertazzoni sun yellow gas range. The bright yellow accent follows through in the metal peninsula bar, and also pops up elsewhere in the house.

The smooth white quartz countertops and pale cherry cabinetry are contrasted by the textured handmade tile installed along the whole of the back wall. Just for fun, some extra personality was added via the large polka dot floor tiles. A favorite sweet detail is in the kick space under the window, where we included shallow touch-latch drawers to keep the cat and dog food bowls separate and easily hidden.

Over the dining room table is a stunning example of upcycling; an unexpected lamp made from discarded vertical blinds. The floating feathery shape is accentuated by  the deep blue wall, with artwork which appears to mimic the same movement. The furniture is fresh and timeless with a classic oval Saarinen Pedestal table surrounded by custom wood dining chairs. 

Upstairs, the main bathroom is much larger and, style-wise, brings us back to the era of the home’s original construction (vs the ‘80s renovation that lacked character and space). It features a new linear skylight, aligned perfectly with the bathtub for a long sky view, exaggerated by the gypsum framing finished on an angle, augmenting the amount of natural light even further. 

The starting point for the concept of the bathroom design was the wallpaper. Handmade in Sweden at Svenskt Tenn, with Josef Frank’s SAGOTRÄDET motif, the soft foliage and flowers represent the tree of life. The rest of the finishes follow direction from the wallpaper; watery blue irregular tiles in the shower lend a sense of peace next to a classic hexagonal black and white floor tile. The eclectic mix of texture and pattern was purposeful and reminds us of a comfortable old home.  

Adjacent to the bathroom is a new walk-in closet, accessible by a pocket door. This new access borrows some space from our usable square feet in the room but the fluid circulation between the related spaces is worth it.  

The design choices in this home have all been carefully blended to create an artful and youthful space for a young professional. The original wooden central staircase was left as is, as a nod to the home’s past. The old bones of the home carry its warmth through time, a welcome constant underneath all this fresh modernity.