Toronto Life Profiles Zn House
Shades of Grey
How two boutique owners and the Drake's designer transformed a ramshakle home into a minimalist retreat
by Jean Grant
George and Sofia Moumouris, the owners of the Queen West clothing boutique Due West, started house hunting in 2010, when Sofia became pregnant with their second child. What they found was an eccentric Victorian near Broadview and Danforth that was in desperate need of a facelift. "The interior layout was so confusing it was like a puzzle," says Sofia. But George had grown up a few streets over, and they liked that the house was close to both Riverdale and Withrow parks. They hired John Tong for the project. He'd done renovations and interior design at Due West, and helped dream up the quirky-cool aesthetic of the Drake Hotel and its country counterpart, the Drake Devonshire. He warned the Moumourises that it would take a lot of time and a lot of money, but they didn't balk. Over the next three years, while the family lived in a rented townhouse nearby, Tong and his team gutted the new place, tearing down almost every wall, ripping out the floorboards and digging out the basement, leaving only part of the original brick-walled frame in place. George, the de facto project manager, visited the site every day. The challenge was to create a contemporary space that reflected George and Sofia's clean, modern taste but still blended in with the quaint older homes in the neighbourhood on the outside. In August 2014, with their two rambunctious young boys, Athanasios and Demetrios, in tow, the family finally moved into their dream home, which had become a bright three-bedroom that feels much larger than its 3,400 square feet. After all that hard work, George, a self-described perfectionist, says it's getting there: "It's about 98.5 per cent finished."