At the outset of 2019, Larissa and Brad Vermeersch, who had recently married, were looking to buy their first home. In Greektown, the couple found a perfect place: a 1,000-square-foot semi-detached house with three bedrooms, a modest backyard and room for an office. “The previous owners had lived there for 15 years and taken excellent care of it,” says Larissa. “It checked all of our boxes.” The newlyweds bought the house without hesitation.
The owners: Larissa and Brad Vermeersch
Larissa’s role: Partner at Lax O’Sullivan Lisus Gottlieb
Brad’s role: Partner at Lax O’Sullivan Lisus Gottlieb
Years of call: 2012 (Larissa) and 2013 (Brad)
Home profile: Three-bedroom semi-detached house, 1,000 square feet
Four years before that moment, Larissa and Brad had met as associates at Lax O’Sullivan Lisus Gottlieb. Ultimately, it was a collaboration on a particularly challenging case that brought them together. “I had always thought Brad was cute,” says Larissa. “But I realized how well we clicked by doing these really hard cases together. I didn’t think twice that it would work on a romantic level.” That intuition was, of course, correct.
Both of them have since made partner at the celebrated litigation boutique. And the pair continue, quite often, to team up on the same files. “When we tell people that we work at the same firm, they assume that we try to stay as far away from each other as possible,” says Brad. “But it’s quite the opposite.”
One year after moving into their new home, the couple decided to make a few small improvements to the kitchen. At least, that was the idea. That minor project soon expanded into a full-blown renovation of the main floor, which involved knocking down walls to create an open-concept living space. The new layout added a bright play area for the couple’s newborn, Teddy, and raised the main-floor ceiling by five inches. In the made-over kitchen, Brad, a passionate home cook, has perfected braised short ribs, handmade gnocchi and Nashville hot chicken.
Best of all, perhaps, the home is close to parks, ravines and the bustling Danforth. “We lived in a condo before, so that was a big change,” says Larissa. “There’s a ton of green space and 20 other moms on the street. It’s very homey.”
In Teddy’s room, kid-friendly art purchased on the couple’s South African honeymoon is displayed alongside crocheted blankets, pillows and stuffed animals, all handmade by Larissa and her mom. “I find it so calming,” says Larissa. “This is my favourite room in the house.”
Handmade in Russia a century ago, this antique clock belonged to Larissa’s great-grandmother. It’s a statement piece that injects an aura of history into the home.
In the backyard, the couple created a “living fence” out of lilac, raspberry and honeysuckle bushes. “We love our backyard,” says Larissa, “and we love our neighbours.”
The recent kitchen renovation combined IKEA cabinetry with a custom-made quartz-topped island and a farmhouse-style sink. “The whole design was about having parties and hosting,” says Brad. “We can’t wait to have friends and family over again.”
“It’s not a huge room, but we’ve made the most of it,” says Larissa of the home office. The standing desk, procured early in the pandemic, has proved its worth during remote trials. “It’s 1,000 times easier to cross-examine a witness,” says Brad, “when you can actually get up on your feet.”
This painting, titled “Bribery and Intimidation,” is an original piece by South African artist Lisette Forsyth. The couple bought the artwork on their safari honeymoon. “Brad saw this piece in a window in the Franschhoek Valley,” says Larissa. “We must have stood in that gallery for two hours debating whether we could afford to buy one.”
Hobby in a bottle
Brad is a passionate whisky collector. “I started collecting about six years ago,” he says. “It requires creativity and perseverance, but the payoff when I land a coveted bottle is always worth it.” His current stockpile leans heavily toward small-batch, rare Kentucky bourbon, and it includes about 150 bottles. Seventy-five unique finds are on display in the basement. (The rest are stored in the crawl space.)
Barrel of memories
Instead of a traditional wedding guestbook, the couple sourced a bourbon whisky barrel and had their initials and wedding date etched into the wood. The guests signed their names directly on the barrel to produce a one-of-a-kind memento.