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before and after

Before & After: The Merchandise Building Loft

by Annie Werbler

Sometimes the smallest details can have the greatest impact. In this downtown Toronto loft reimagined for clients by Ryan Martin and Amy Kent of Croma Design Inc., the catalyst for the renovation was, of all things, a broken-down dishwasher. It had been installed in such a way that getting a replacement meant tearing up the existing hardwood floors, which led to an all-out refresh of the home’s late 90s color palette. The young family with two small children owned two adjacent units for several years, and decided the time had come to combine them into one 3,200-square-foot flat. The renovation provided distinct spaces in which the adults can entertain, and other areas for hanging out with kids. Respecting the historic nature of the loft in The Merchandise Building was a top priority, which had been converted in the late 1990s from its original 1910 purpose as a manufactory for Simpson’s Delivery business.

While all the worn finishes needed updating, the homeowners wished to maintain to the suite’s industrial loft character and warehouse history. Unnecessary soffits were removed to expose functional ductwork and highlight the soaring 12-foot ceilings. Lots of creative storage solutions were devised for an ever-increasing book collection. The designers selected Benjamin Moore Decorator’s White wallcolor and engineered brushed oak Kalispell by Kentwood Floors to provide a consistent, clean, and modern aesthetic throughout, while allowing the architectural features of the place to command all the attention. —Annie

“After” photography by Donna Griffith, except where noted. Styling by Christine Hanlon.

Before & After: The Merchandise Building Loft, on Design*Sponge
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The living room fireplace of this downtown Toronto loft was reconfigured to show off the suite’s tall ceiling heights. The fireplace surround is done in hot-rolled steel with oak veneer side panels. Without even being told, the kids know not to bring their toys and markers into this room!
Before & After: The Merchandise Building Loft, on Design*Sponge
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The opening between the living and dining rooms was made taller to boost ceiling heights and open up the space. Built-in bookcases were added on either side, complete with a rolling ladder to maximize usable storage.
Before & After: The Merchandise Building Loft, on Design*Sponge
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The dining area is anchored by the Jason Miller Endless Straight - 3 Units chandelier in bronze from Roll & Hill. New built-ins make better use of the bar area niche.
Before & After: The Merchandise Building Loft, on Design*Sponge
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A custom metal-topped buffet and metal shelves were installed in the dining room, made of hot-rolled steel like the fireplace surround - a nod to the building's former industrial use.
Before & After: The Merchandise Building Loft, on Design*Sponge
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A Caesarstone kitchen countertop is easy to maintain in a home with two small children, with texture added in the natural stone slab backsplash in a leathered finish by Ciot.
Before & After: The Merchandise Building Loft, on Design*Sponge
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Custom cabinetry by Parallel General Contracting adds to the interesting grouping of natural textures in the kitchen.
Before & After: The Merchandise Building Loft, on Design*Sponge
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The kitchen's stone backsplash is revisited in the powder room wall tile.
Before & After: The Merchandise Building Loft, on Design*Sponge
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Crisp white paint brightens up the master bedroom. The color of a Room&Board Hudson Dresser bridges the darker hardwood floor tones and the stone tile in the adjacent bathroom. "After" photo by Croma Design Inc..
Before & After: The Merchandise Building Loft, on Design*Sponge
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Many of the existing doors were reused but refreshed with paint. A custom-built wardrobe ties into the finishes used elsewhere in the loft, and provides extra storage space. "After" photo by Croma Design Inc..
Before & After: The Merchandise Building Loft, on Design*Sponge
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The downtown Toronto loft's floorplan.

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