Garden Suite of the Week: A converted Deer Park garage with a gas fireplace and custom barn doors
Piece: deer park
Renovation cost: $38,000
This former garage-turned-gazebo is tucked away in the back yard of an Arts and Crafts heritage home in Deer Park, just north of Yonge and St. Clair. Its owners, a wife and husband who have both worked in media in North America and Asia, bought the three-bedroom, three-bathroom property in 2005 when their two daughters were toddlers. Built in 1923, the house came with a collapsing 450 square foot garage – a rotting roof, dilapidated doors, lots of rust and wood falling from its frame. There were also leaks and moisture everywhere.
The owners dreamed of transforming the garage into living space, but it was not until the summer of 2018 that they realized it. The mom of the house wanted a fun and cozy place she could use as an office during the day as well as a party room for her now teenage daughters.
The couple budgeted around $33,000 for the restoration, not including furniture and decor. Construction began in the spring of 2019 and was completed this fall, with a final cost of $38,000. Despite the extra expense, the owners and their daughters are thrilled with the dating center.
Guests invited to the suite are sliding glass doors that have been carved into the west wall of the building. Inside, there is an antique Chinese elm side table, originally from Shaanxi province, which the couple purchased from a Beijing-based dealer. And, while the owners had amassed many Asian antiques during their many years abroad, their daughters also wanted the room to have a contemporary feel. One of the girls installed this mirror on the left for selfies.
The suite’s barn doors, custom-made the old-fashioned way, cost nearly $8,000. The surrounding brick had to be both removed and reinforced to make the doors fit. Light fixtures inspired by the Arts and Crafts design movement, along with the new skylight, bathe the room in a comforting glow, no matter the season. The suite’s herringbone brick patio and driveway, which connects the back yard to the front, were laid with leftover material from the owners’ recently paved driveway. The original wood for the roof remained except for three beams which had to be replaced for the support.
The family wanted a four-season suit, so they added a gas line, which cost $2,000, and a new gas fireplace for $5,000. The two side tables in the center of the space are made of Armenian ceramics purchased from the Sandrouni Armenian Art Center in Jerusalem.
The structure’s original brick was whitewashed and new brown brick was reused from previous renovations to the main house. Matching the green barn doors is a freshly painted fence along the property line.
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