By Nicole Laidler // Photography by Jason Hartog
Natalie French is quick to confess that her downtown home didn’t make the best first impression. “I didn’t like the bones of this house,” she says.
The Grosvenor Street property, built in 1930, had a small old-fashioned kitchen, dark oak panelling throughout and stippled living room walls. It also lacked air conditioning and needed new wiring, plumbing and windows.
But Natalie and her husband Chris immediately fell in love with the home’s large private backyard. Besides, she and Chris had grown up in the Old North neighbourhood and felt comfortable there. The home’s location in the Central Secondary School catchment area sealed the deal. “We moved so our kids could go to Central,” says Natalie, whose four daughters range in age from 14 to 29.
The couple purchased the three-story property in August 2005 and moved in the following spring. Today – thanks to extensive renovations both inside and out – it has been transformed into Natalie’s vision of an elegant British townhouse.
“I wanted a very traditional looking home with a marble entryway and clean crown moulding,” she says. Imagination, creativity, craftsmanship and a great deal of patience were all part of the renovation process – a lengthy process overseen by John A. MacDonald.