Building history: how a new Toronto home got its Georgian look

23 Lytton Boulevard, Toronto. A Georgian-style new-build conceived to have an 'always-been-there' aesthetic.

By 2022, interior designer Rebecca Muha had been living in her Lytton Park, Toronto home with her husband and three children for nearly a decade. They decided to tear down the original 1920s property, with its cramped layout, and rebuild from scratch with the goal of creating a new Georgian-style home. “I wanted it to look like a grand home that may have always been there,” Muha explains. “People in the trades who came to work on the interior finishes would often ask: ‘Is this a reno’?”

23 Lytton Park Boulevard, Toronto – exterior and porch

The Georgian period of architecture spans roughly a century, from 1714-1830, hallmarked by symmetry and classical references — much like this new-build home, completed in 2023.

To achieve that ‘always-been-there’ effect, Muha sourced antique materials and fixtures that infuse the home with a historic look and feel. “I love finding vintage things,” she says. “I’m constantly looking for items for clients, and then I fall in love with something and I have to have it myself.” She frequents online marketplaces, vintage shops and antiques markets to source her finds.  

The family’s new house was completed in the summer of 2023. But since then, Muha’s adult children have moved out. Time to downsize and seek new owners to continue the story of the 6-bedroom, 6,300-square-foot (585-square-meter) house. Here, Muha reveals how she acquired some of the property’s most memorable finishing details.


Lighting the way
“I got these front entrance lamps from an antique dealer in the east end of Toronto that was going out of business. They’re solid brass and used to be gas at some point, but have since been made into these beautiful, properly wired sconces. I paired them with solid-brass rosette handles on the front doors, and they just look like they were meant to be together. I think I have the prettiest front doors in the neighborhood. 

An external porch at the entrance to a Toronto home.

Columns add scale and grandeur (and, importantly, shade) to the entrance at 23 Lytton Park Boulevard, Toronto.

The antiques dealer who sold these to me said she initially intended to use these lamps – from an old Eaton family estate* – herself. But she was happy to hear that these lamps would be used and loved again. The nice thing about buying things from people who love them is that you get to hear the story behind the items.”

*The Eatons were one of Canada’s most prominent families and founders of the Eaton’s chain of department stores, which closed in 1999.


Forged in history
“We were in the middle of renovations when my husband and I went to the Aberfoyle Antique Market in Puslinch, Ontario and I saw this set of iron panels for sale. The gentleman selling them believed that they were either from upstate New York or England. I loved the four-leaf clover design – stunning. I knew I had to have them, but I wasn’t sure how I’d use them. I did some research and found out that the four-leaf clover motif was prevalent in Christianity, so they may have come from a church. 

The symmetrical exterior of a Georgian-style home in Lytton Park, Toronto

Antique and upcycled finds such as this decorative iron fencing add authenticity to the property’s heritage aesthetic.

They originally came as 22 individual panels that were about 24 inches wide. I decided to put them in the front yard, so I worked with an iron supplier and fabricator to create a fence that could be supported in the ground. Since I installed them, I planted some English Ivy around them and it’s just started to grow up and around the legs. I still have five of the panels left over, so I’m going to hold onto them. I’m sure I can find a place for them in our new home.”


On the road again
I found these pavers on Facebook Marketplace. A family in Bloor West Village had bought a beautiful old home from a man who was a hoarder. He had been collecting these pavers in his backyard for years – there must have been 8,000 of them. We had to go through them individually because so many were damaged. I went back to the house for three weekends in a row with my sons and husband to sort through them. We ended up taking 5,000 of the pavers and rented a truck to haul them back to our place over 30 or 40 trips back and forth. They weigh 10 pounds each!

Antique pavers form a patterned driveway at 23 Lytton Park Boulevard, Toronto

Well-researched external details, like these antique pavers, enhance first impressions.

These pavers have some lines and striations on them. I learned that this style was used back in the day on roads that had an incline so that horses’ hooves could grab onto them more easily. At the time I bought these, I was driving through nearby Forest Hill and saw these same stable pavers on the road. Almost daily, I get people walking by going: “Omigod, these are so amazing!”. Again, it adds to the ‘was this house always here?’ aesthetic.”


The value of vintage
While we were doing the renovations, I came across this warehouse north of Toronto that was selling off all their inventory from the last 40 or 50 years. They were getting rid of paint, big fabrication machines and a whole lot of tiles. I was up on the scaffolding, surveying all the different types of tile on offer and these vintage terracotta ones caught my eye.

Reclaimed tiles laid on a landing inside a new-build Toronto house.

Designer Rebecca Muha liked these indoor-outdoor antique tiles so much she bought all the available stock.

They’re a design that can be used indoors or outdoors. I fell for them, so I bought up all the stock they had. At the time, I didn’t know where I’d use them, but as the house was starting to take shape, I got a sense of what square footage I had to work with and what patterns might look good. The side entrance seemed a perfect spot for these tiles. I combined them with some new tiles to create a herringbone pattern with a border around it, so it looks a bit like a carpet when you walk in the side entrance.”


Location, location, location
The Lytton Park neighborhood has become one of Toronto’s most desirable locales for its quiet streets, prestigious homes on large lots and great commuter connectivity to the financial district and proximity to the shops and restaurants along Yonge Street and Eglinton Avenue. The area is also home to the esteemed private women’s school Havergal College.

Lytton Park is one of Toronto’s most desirable neighborhoods, with excellent access to the city’s shops and restaurants of Yonge and Eglinton. (Elijah Lovkoff/Shutterstock)


23 Lytton Boulevard is on the market with Forbes Global Properties’ Toronto brokerage Barry Cohen Homes.


Andrea Yu’s journalism on real estate markets and home design often features in the Toronto Star and The Globe and Mail.

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