Inside the modern home of a vintage-loving lawyer // Going in house

Janice Dubiansky's home
It turns out, design and decor don’t have to match

By Lisa Coxon

On Monday December 5th, 2016

Janice Dubiansky's home

Family first: When Mom’s a lawyer and Dad’s in financial services, family time is precious. This light-filled livingroom nook is a perfect place for Casagrande and Dubiansky to hang out with their two kids.

Janice Dubiansky got her dream house in an unusual way: by knocking on the door. When she and her husband made an offer on their home in November 2015, it wasn’t for sale. Earlier that year, they’d seen it listed online on for one week before the post was taken down. But Dubiansky, a trusts and estates lawyer at Robinsons Law, couldn’t forget about it.

The house, just east of the Beaches and built in 1949, struck Dubiansky as a perfect Cape Cod-style home: symmetrical exterior, a steep roof and multi-panelled windows. The two-storey house was also covered in windows and skylights. “After living in a narrow row house in Cabbagetown for so long,” says Dubiansky, “we loved the idea of having natural light.” It would also afford plenty of space for their two little kids, Luca, 4, and Ivy, 19 months.

Months after the listing vanished, Dubiansky kept daydreaming about what could have been. One day, she drove by the house with her husband, Jason Casagrande, who works in financial services, and they just had to know. “We knocked on the door and asked the owner if he was still interested in selling,” says Dubiansky. It took some negotiating, but he was. They officially moved into the house in March.

On day one, they faced a big design challenge. The house came furnished with contemporary items, but Dubiansky and Casagrande are long-time second-hand-furniture addicts. “We’ve always bought stuff off of Kijiji and refinished it,” says Dubiansky. The couple didn’t want to throw out their old furniture, or the new stuff. So they made an unusual decision: they mixed all of it together.

That means the interior design is half modern and half vintage-antique. But it works — mostly because they buy tasteful antiques (like their brass bar cart and their son’s spindle bed frame) that are brimming with personality.

When Dubiansky looks around, she has to pinch herself from time to time. “I remember seeing the listing photos and telling Jason, ‘This is my dream house.’ I can’t believe we live in it now.”

Janice Dubiansky's home

From trash to treasure: This scissor print, by Toronto artist Alanna Cavanagh, is actually a defect — Cavanagh accidentally spilled blue paint on it. “In that sense,” says Dubiansky, “it’s original.” The table it sits on is made from an old barnboard that her husband, Jason Casagrande, found at a wood-reclamation store. His father then welded metal legs onto the board.

Janice Dubiansky's home

Dinner for four: The house has a roomy, open-concept kitchen that includes an area for a kitchen table. “We never really appreciated how wonderful an eat-in kitchen was until we had kids!” says Dubiansky.

Janice Dubiansky's home

Work from home: Dubiansky’s home office is built into a floor-to-ceiling shelving unit that spans an entire wall in the living room. To give it a pop of colour, she added a bright red chair.

Janice Dubiansky's home

Unique finds: The Angus beef chart sign, made out of old tobacco slats, is from an art show in Parry Sound. And they got the frame next to it from St. Lawrence Market and placed a mirror inside.

Janice Dubiansky's home

Sweet dreams: Luca hits the hay on an antique Jenny Lind spindle bed Dubiansky found on Kijiji. This type of spindle bed frame is named after Lind, a Swedish opera singer from the 1900s.

Janice Dubiansky's home

Let there be light: Inspired by a visit to Russian painter Ilya Repin’s skylight-laden home, the previous owner installed a ton of skylights, like these ones in the walk-in closet. The home has 21 in all, and most are placed strategically, based on either the angle of the sun at a certain time of day or the moon at a certain time of night.

Janice Dubiansky's home

Welcome home: Little Ivy stands in the entranceway. She travels in style with her unicorn backpack, hanging on the designer coat rack on the wall.

















































































This story is from our Winter 2016 issue.




Photography by Nancy Tong