In Toronto, three top designers joyfully join forces to create a forever home that suits this young family in every way.
You know the old saying: Two is better than one. In Toronto, a pair of top design firms have proven that to be true. For this home renovation in Midtown, Sarah Birnie Interiors, helmed by Sarah, collaborated with Kelly Lynn Armstrong and Laura Collins of LC & Kel Interiors. A young family—first-time homeowners expecting their first baby—wanted to infuse their home with fresh energy and joyful details, along with ample space to accommodate their large extended family.
The house was built by a developer in the early aughts. “The original layout consisted of various smaller spaces with restricted natural light and a less than ideal flow,” Sarah shares. “They really needed their home to make more sense for them functionally as well as suit their aesthetic taste.” She lists their clients’ must-haves: space for large family events, a hardworking and beautiful kitchen, and a sense of openness connecting each room that would also usher in more natural light.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t smooth sailing—as renovations rarely are. “The contractor was a big challenge,” Kelly Lynn admits. “We realized all too late that this guy was going to be trouble. He was a ‘yes man,’ which usually is nice to hear. However, when it came to finishing the job to a certain standard, we ran into issues. We felt so sad for these lovely homeowners, and we all did our best to finish the job in the most efficient, amicable fashion possible.”
Luckily, construction woes are a blip in the long-term story of what the family hopes will be their forever home. And at the end of this project, the design trio hit all the right style notes. “Our respective firms’ design aesthetics are generally somewhat different,” Sarah admits. “But we collaborated well on decisions and had fun bouncing ideas off each other.”
While Sarah tends to take a neutral approach, LC & Kel is known for a British-inspired methodology. Walking through the home, it’s easy to see key elements from both. “Even though it’s new and modern, it doesn’t feel cold or sterile,” Kelly Lynn says. “It’s not too fussy but also really beautiful at the heart of it.”
The designers share more in the slideshow.