Toronto’s Dart Studio is known for thoughtful renovations that beautifully blend form and function, in large thanks to principal designer Olivia Botrie’s ability to see beyond funky layouts or dated finishes and focus on instead on the potential. When you add in a great client with a personal connection, design magic happens. 

“The clients, Christie and Kate, are my longtime friends,” she tells us. “Christie and I met in high school, and she is an incredible midwife who delivered both of my children. Needless to say, we have a close relationship! Plus, the contractor on the project was Christie’s dad so it was really a family affair.”

The home is in the east end of Toronto, in a charming residential neighborhood filled with lots of families. “There is a big golf course so there are lots of old trees and greenery. Many of the homes are originally bungalows that have been renovated as more families have moved to the area,” Olivia says. “Christie and Kate were looking for increased square footage and most of all increased functionality. The old kitchen was really small so a big kitchen to congregate in was necessary along with space for entertaining.”

To maximize the footprint, they built a two-story, fifteen-foot addition on the back of the house, adding 300 square feet to the basement, main, and second floors. On the main floor, they created an open-concept space. “The 14-foot-long island serves as an amazing baking station and serving space. They are also huge coffee fans, so the coffee bar was a fun addition,” Olivia explains. “The idea is that there are three separate spaces in the one area that can all be used together or separately for eating, working, and socializing.” A dining banquette was added for function but brought a lot of beauty. “The amazing art by Laura Wood brings the whole space together and Christie has since told me it’s become the heart of their home,” the designer says.

The second floor has a principal bedroom and ensuite, with blush tiles and a wood vanity offering a warm, feminine vibe. Here, custom art by Quinn Rockcliff finishes off the space. And in the basement, a rec room was added for the kids. “The old basement had really low ceilings so gaining this full height space really improved the usability of the basement,” Olivia explains.

Even with a close team working on the renovation, there were still a few speedbumps. “This construction process is always challenging for clients,” Olivia admits. “Wouldn’t it be great if we could snap our fingers and have the project done? It’s hard to be living in a rental but luckily our clients were able to rent the house next door! We also did the construction during COVID so we dealt with supply chain issues and things taking longer than we would have liked, but in the end, it was worth it!”

Take a tour in the slideshow.