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Canadian Real Estate Housing & Home’s Top 5 Posts Of 2020

Dearest readers: welcome to 2021! May it be a vast improvement on 2020!

We always like to start a New Year by reflecting on the last. As the purveyor of, a proud Canadian, a realtor in Toronto, and a guy with a healthy obsession on all aspects of shelter, I am delighted this website – now entering its ninth year – continues to offer a unique point of view showcasing Canadian Architecture, Landscape, Design, Products and Real Estate – along with the homegrown talent who create it. After all, although the number of internet sites dedicated to shelter is substantial, those which are specific to Canada are not.  So, while may be niche, I believe it has relevance showcasing the vernacular of Canadians shelter and its contents.

The stories below were researched and written by current or recent graduates of studies related to the shelter disciplines. I’d like to express my heartfelt thanks to to each of the writers who have crafted content for the site; you are what makes this site especially rewarding for me! Thank you for bringing your fresh and engaging ideas to the site while showcasing some pretty terrific Canadiana I might have otherwise missed.

With gratitude, here are their Top 5 most popular 2020 contributions.




#1 Drake’s Multimillion-Dollar Mansion By Ferris Rafauli In Toronto, Ontario

Researched and written by Guhar Ullah, BA Architectural Studies at the University of Toronto’s John H Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design.

In partnership with Ontario-based luxury interior and architectural designer Ferris Rafauli, who creates opulent homes for an elite global clientele, Drake recently completed the construction of his new home in Toronto, which originally broke ground in 2016. The ultra-luxe mansion – dubbed “The Embassy” – is situated in The Bridle Path neighbourhood, also known as “Millionaire’s Row.” Read this post for a partial tour of the mansion and more photos!



#2  The Fascinating Tale of Toronto’s Cube House

Researched and written Veruschka Mungroo who comes from a journalism background and writes about architecture and design.

Built-in 1996 by Ottawa designer architect Ben Kutner and his partner Jeff Brown, the iconic three giant green cubes, perched on an access column was inspired by Piet Blom’s 1970s complex of Cubic Houses in the Dutch city of Rotterdam. Initially, the designers were optimistic that the concept will grow into a larger set of equally spectacular homes called UniTri, like the prototype in Rotterdam, but the trend did not catch on in Canada. 20 years later, it remains the only Cube House in the country, standing along near Toronto’s Gardiner Expressway.



#3 Hanover, Ontario-based Designer Heather Smillie On Tradition And Trend

Researched and written by Theresa Kowall-Shipp, who is a TV producer, director, and writer with a focus in design programming.

As a designer who works all over Southwestern Ontario, designer Heather Smillie – the owner of House Rules Design Shop in Hanover, Ontario – works on a wide range of properties and domestic spaces that include lakeside vacation or year-round properties, subdivision homes, ski chalets, condos, bungalows and (borderline) mansions. But it turns out that no matter what home is for them, many clients look to Heather for the answer to one big question: “Heather, what do you think my style is?” A formally trained designer, Heather can list architectural and interior design styles like an academic, but she says that sticking strictly to one school of design thought is almost unheard of on her projects. She is all about creating a comfortable, impressive-yet-liveable fusion, often starting with a base of what she calls classic design.



#4  The Reach Guesthouse By Jonathan Kearns In Ontario’s Prince Edward County

Researched and written by Theresa Kowall-Shipp, who is a TV producer, director, and writer with a focus in design programming.

Theresa had the privilege of meeting architect Jonathan Kearns (of Kearns Mancini Architects) and his partner, Corrine Speigel, and of visiting The Reach Guesthouse, a Kearns-Speigal pet project in Ontario’s picturesque Prince Edward County! The first thought that came to mind? This house is inside out! At the time I knew very little about the term ‘passive house’.  In case your knowledge base is about where mine was, here is my passive house primer: A passive house is one built to standards that make sure it’s super-insulated, positioned to take advantage of the sun, fitted with triple glazed windows, and with no breaks in the ‘envelope’, and no ‘thermal bridges’. Learn more in this great piece!



#5 Mix and Match: Design And Career Philosophy For Toronto-Based Kat Rose

Researched and written by Theresa Kowall-Shipp, who is a TV producer, director, and writer with a focus in design programming.

For the last 12 years, you have been looking at the work of designer Kat Rose – even if you didn’t know it! Kat is the unicorn of design professionals; she is a designer’s designer. When design shows are cranking out episodes, the truth is that the on-camera designer (the star) simply cannot do it all. Productions seek out a very special breed of designer – one with the abilities of a chameleon. They look for a ‘Kat Rose’ to do much of the design work behind the scenes!



Since 2013, I’ve invited Canadian Students or recent graduates from coast to coast who have pursued further education in the fields of Architecture, Landscape, Interior Design, Industrial Design, or Canadian History of Art & Architecture (and other disciplines which include a focus on Housing and Home and/or Journalism) to join the Houseporn Paid Internship Program. As part of this program, contributors are given the opportunity to research and write stories about our country’s shelter industry, while I provide support, constructive criticism, and guidance throughout the process. I can’t tell you how rewarding it is to watch writers hone their craft while building a portfolio of written work that reflects both their passion for Canadian housing and their ability to be wordsmiths!

I continue to be inspired daily by the voracious minds that share my love of, many of who will undoubtedly contribute to a new generation of Canada’s vernacular!


~ Posted by Steven Fudge, the purveyor of and proprietor of, a division of Bosley Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage.

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