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Purchased in 2009 in a sad state of disrepair, the High Park home of Ginger Sorbara has been thoroughly renovated. The 400-sq. ft. rear addition has a floor-to-ceiling glass wall.

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The music room at 53 Indian Grove. Ms. Sorbara met the original owners - the Mills brothers , in 2004 and offered to buy the then dilapidated 1911 property that had been in the family for over seven decades. Paint peeled everywhere, walls were filthy and water-damaged, tentacles of ivy reached through broken windows.

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Ms. Sorbara and her architect partner, Douglas Birkenshaw, a principal at B+H Architects, began renovating in 2009.

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The kitchen features custom millwork by Ms. Sorbara’s uncle’s company, Barlow Cabinet Works built to Ms. Sorbara’s and Mr. Birkenshaw’s plans, a bench in the bay window, and a long Eramosa limestone island

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“I like that sense of progression in houses – the old thing, then the new thing,” says Ms. Sorbara.

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A tiny powder room near the dining area is so small, the corner of the wall swings open to reveal it. “Houses should have a little bit of surprise and humour,” says Ms. Sorbara.

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A massive, angled fireplace dominates one wall of the 400 sq. ft. addition. When the fireplace first arrived, explains Ms. Sorbara, it was placed against the wall of the “big and beautiful” new living room, where it stuck out like a sore thumb…or pimple. So, she and Mr. Birkenshaw “drew it and drew it and drew it” until they arrived at a plan: a false wall. “All of the space in here,” she says, touching the drywall over the firebox, “is air, and it’s really gut-wrenching to give up space, but space is not a huge problem in this house.”

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Ginger Sorbara in the kitchen.

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Ms. Sorbara has left some of the small holes left in the walls by the previous untouched. ‘A part of me thinks of it as patina, and part of me like an art project,” she explains, adding she might ‘fill’ the holes with Mills family photos left in the basement and then cover the ‘repair’ with lacquer.

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One wall of Ms. Sorbara’s second floor office resembles geological strata, as new chalkboard paint covers part of the old plaster, which has crumbled away around the edges to expose some amazing old brick.

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Just outside the music room, in the foyer, the original plaster light fixture hangs, illuminating the wonderful original staircase.

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The large, new master bedroom features an upper window with a treetop view. ‘You are in the trees,’ says Ms. Sorbara. The ‘poetic and gestural’ movement of the branches makes this ‘the most beautiful place I’ve ever slept.’

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To make the third floor more usable, the roof pitch was reconfigured for more ceiling height. Now, what was a cramped space has become an open, airy place for Ms. Sorbara and an assistant to work at her design business.

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To make the third floor more usable, the roof pitch was reconfigured for more ceiling height. Now, what was a cramped space has become an open, airy place for Ms. Sorbara and an assistant to work at her design business.

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Although landscaping is still a year in the future, Ms. Sorbara’s worry about the matter is as nonexistent as the front porch, still in the planning stages. “We’re going to be slow,” she says, matter-of-factly.

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