June 14, 2024

Architectural Design Kingdom

Home is where the heart is

A thoughtful renovation of a Beaches home

5 min read
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The home of Christy and Riley Keast, in Toronto’s Beaches neighbourhood.Birdhouse Media

A luxurious home filled with pets and the laughter of kids.

That is what the Keast family had imagined when they began renovating their heritage home in 2020.

Christy Keast, an interior designer, wanted the house to feel warm, inviting and well-loved.

Four years after they moved into 28 Bracken Ave. in Toronto’s Beaches neighbourhood, she and her husband, Riley Keast, decided to renovate the house to be the home they imagined for themselves, their three boys and their dog.

“We had time to live in the house and let some ideas percolate and see how our family operated,” Ms. Keast said.

When they bought the house in 2016 for $2-million, it was locally known as the “Moose House” to the neighbourhood because of a moose head that a previous owner had mounted on the front door.

The house was built around 1913 and had undergone multiple renovations by previous owners. This resulted in “some funny kind of quirks,” Mr. Keast said.

“The back of the house was kind of funny. It jetted out in the back in two different spots, but not the entire back,” he said.

  • Home of Christy and Riley Keast, 28 Bracken Ave. in Toronto’s Beaches neighbourhood.Birdhouse Media

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Neither the pandemic nor the difficulties of restoring a heritage home deterred the couple or Brett Vukets, Ms. Keast’s brother and an architectural designer and builder whose company, BCMR Group Ltd., was responsible for the renovations.

During the pandemic, while the renovations were continuing, the Keast family spent six months in Majorca, Spain. Inspired by the houses there, they transported materials from across Europe to their home in the Beaches.

“They [Europeans] build with these luxurious materials that can withstand the test of time,” Ms. Keast said. They used reclaimed limestone from France and terracotta from Spain for the floors.

Ms. Keast also wanted to incorporate the outdoors and reflect the relaxed lifestyle of the Beaches neighbourhood.

Ms. Keast said they used an earthy colour palette for the house; soft and muted greens, blues and beiges and textured artful wallpapers, some with green plant designs that blend perfectly into the stone wall.

“The idea was to remain neutral and objectively appealing to the human eye, but not by way of a white canvas; by using colour in a natural and harmonious way,” she said.

Mr. Vukets said the structural goal was to maintain the craftsman style of the architecture while replacing the rotting wood, fixing existing water damage and giving the house a more modern look.

“We were able to marry the existing with the new addition in a way that was very intentional and seamless both on the inside and out,” he said. “I’m actually most proud of looking at the house from the exterior and the way the addition ties in with the existing roof lines.”

A hoarding was erected around the house to secure the site during construction. Mr. Vukets and his team commissioned a mural for the hoarding, with paintings of the iconic moose head and illustrations of local landmarks.

“We had this really cool mural, signifying the house and the surrounding context in a fun way,” he said.

At 15 by 30 feet, the kitchen takes up the entire west wing of the house and is the focal point of the main floor.

Ms. Keast wanted the kitchen to be the heart of the house, a place for her and the rest of the family to host parties.

The space, outfitted with high-end appliances, is finished with custom millwork, and a backsplash of brick veneer, which Ms. Keast said echoes the original exposed brick. The cabinetry is a soft sage green.

Part of the new addition, the primary bedroom has high ceilings and skylights. Like the rest of the house, it is painted in calm, earthy tones: beige and blue.

On the lower level, a spa bathroom incorporates an onyx backlit steam room, a sauna, a quartzite stone vanity and reclaimed limestone flooring.

Heated floors in the house add an extra level of comfort. The heating extends outdoors to the walkways, which eliminates the need for a snow shovel in winter.

Ms. Keast says the thoughtful renovation has resulted in a luxurious family home.

“Even though the house is freshly renovated, when you’re in the space, it feels like you’ve been in the space for years and years,” she said.

The home is currently on the market with an asking price of $6-million.

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