When Bev Hisey and Dan MacKenzie bought their 1,400-square-foot Trinity Bellwoods row house, they had a long to-do list. They’d been renting that same house for 12 years before their landlord offered them a chance to buy. “By most people’s standards, it was a hovel,” says Hisey, a textile designer. It had a kitchen that hadn’t been touched in 70 years, worn-out floors and no insulation. So Hisey and MacKenzie went all out. When their 19-year-old daughter, Edmond, left home for a job as a cherry harvester, they moved out for six months and gutted the place, designing a new interior together. MacKenzie, an architect, sketched out the blueprints, and Hisey did the interiors. Their focus was on opening up what had been a cramped and darkish space. They busted down the mudroom and replaced it with a deck, fronted by a giant wall of windows that makes the all-new, all-white kitchen bright all the time. Upstairs, they knocked down the wall between the master bedroom and their daughter’s old room (she sleeps in the guest bedroom when she visits) to make a big, airy master suite. The house now feels entirely different—the only reminder of the original building is a photo, taken by the couple’s friend Donna Griffith, of a rusted drainage pipe, which hangs, full-size, in the living room, in exactly the place it used to be.
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