I have the pleasure of writing this testimonial having lived for 2 years now in the renovation that Wanda designed for our charming little house on St Clarens Ave. The house whose images have now been shared on literally thousands of idea books on Houzz (one image of our bathroom is the record-holder with over 45,000 idea books!). That has been published in Designlines and Chatelaine. None of which is important, other than a point of pride for me and well deserved recognition for her. But the thing that makes me happiest is how this house makes me feel when I come in the door. When the renovation was done, my wife and I would just stare at it all in the evenings, thinking to ourselves, “is this really ours?”, looking at all the little details that made it come together. The reliefs between vertical surfaces meeting horizontals. The subtle shifts of volumes and materials. The play of industrial and commercial finishes with cozy and comfortable furniture. Our expansive, hotel-like bathroom with a luxurious steam shower. The light bouncing from front to back of house where there was once just walls. The subtle honouring of the bones of the house that has stood for over 100 years, now wrapped in a new, colourful shell. This house takes us in and says welcome home. Wanda was amazing at interpreting our requests; avoid drywall, lean towards durable kid friendly and interesting textures, give us built-in concealed storage to contain all five of us and our stuff for years to come. Kid-friendly, but not kid-like. Modern, but not cold. The kitchen was to be the machine of the house, a no-nonsense workspace where everything has a place and there’s a place for everything. She had an amazing knack for pouring over hundreds of choices of tiles, fixtures, appliances and finishes, presenting me with the best option for approval, and then blazing ahead. Budget-wise, hiring an architect was a leap of faith; in the beginning hiring her was not the least expensive option we could have taken. Having been through the process right now, I believe we actually saved money, particularly when I think of the amount of time it would have taken for either our GC or us to fill her shoes and being distracted from the things that we do best. And we certainly would not have been able to replace her skill as an architect; without her I can imagine the job would still not be finished. It was a tremendous relief to have the job in her hands. Once past the concept stage and into execution, Wanda crafted a coherent building plan, contractors began, and she shifted hats into job manager. Wanda is fun to watch and great to work with. She handled stressful issues and unforeseen circumstances with grace and humour that kept us all on our toes, knew how to handle and motivate our contractors, and ultimately led to a well planned, on-budget and just on-time project. And now that the dust has long settled and been swept away, and living continues, her true skill as a designer and architect shines through. This is a house that I’m so proud to call mine. Thank you, Wanda!
We had a dream house imagined when we hired Wanda. Now that we have it, we are certain that there was no way we could have done it without Wanda. Considering how little we knew about what it takes, being first timers for a gut job of this scale, we were lucky to have been referred to Wanda.Wanda struck us from the start as having an artist’s sense for everything to do with a living space and how it’s experienced. But as soon as we started working with her on designs we discovered that she was also a great coach. She listened patiently and she and her staff recorded every idea or wish we expressed during these early conversations. She also asked a lot of good questions, some of which we never thought about but clearly made good sense. Gradually she started to show us ideas that got us excited. It was such a pleasure to work with Wanda during the design stage that we indulged ourselves to the point where she had to remind us that her time comes at a cost. I clearly remember realizing that the experience of designing one’s own home and doing it right is such a privilege that should be indulged. This is the part where budget should matter least. And indulge we did. We punched in as many windows on the south side as we could to flood the house with light, we got a beautiful nook in the kitchen for breakfast that I’ve always dreamed of, we grabbed views that span over 300 feet of green trees to the front and back, we have so much functional space there is hardly any dry walk. And the list goes on.But that was just the start. Wanda introduced us to a range of builders to give us options but also recommended one; M Square. They were an excellent recommendation but that is another review. She handled the city approvals, the budget discussions, the planning and then she managed the project every week wading into every aspect of it. Her attention to detail, diligence and hard work were really impressive. Her professional relationship with the builder was a great asset. There was no detail too small or unworthy of her attention. And there was a lot. Without her the task could have been stressful and likely impossible. With her it was really enjoyable.We recommend Wanda without hesitation.
We did a major renovation on our home that ended around April 2014. The work included 3 new bathrooms, new kitchen, new dugout basement, new extension on main floor and saw us essentially redo the third, main and basement of our detached victorian home from studs. The project took about 9 months to complete. Wanda acted as our designer, architect and project manager for the construction phase. We spent a lot of time trying to find the right person to lead us through this. We needed someone who understood our aesthetic (a mix between modern and mid-century) and someone with the time and patience to deal with two very busy people that just wanted it done and wanted it to be perfect without having to be too involved! Wanda nailed it. She spent a good amount of time focusing on our lifestyle and what we needed functionally in the home and really digging into how we live our lives and what things we like and don’t like. That time paid off as the first set of designs were amazing and hit basically all of our asks while completely capturing our aesthetic. After that Wanda would bring us new designs and finishes which we almost always simply agreed with. When we did push back she took it very seriously, spent time listening and getting her head around what we wanted, went back to the drawing board and came back with something even better than we were imagining. Her motivator seems to be making her clients happy and comfortable in their home, and nothing else. Wanda helped us choose the contractor and as project manager basically acted on our behalf in dealing with the day to day questions and decisions a contractor needs. She also thoroughly reviewed all of his bills and time spent. I am not sure we could have done this without Wanda in our corner. She is a tough and thorough negotiator, but somehow always friendly and easy to approach. Most importantly we were quite nervous about the disruption the reno would cause in our lives and Wanda managed that perfectly, dealing with our concerns in a way that made the whole thing so much less of a disruption than we were worried it would be. We didn’t know her before but our experience was so positive we are now thrilled to call her a friend and to recommend her work as a designer, architect and project consultant/manager without any hesitation whatsoever.
We hired Wanda to design and renovate our downtown home. What started as a basement reno quickly morphed into a partial 2nd floor/multiple bedroom reno along with furniture sourcing and design advice for our living and dining rooms.A talented and intuitive architect, Wanda was able to navigate the fine line of giving our home a much-needed modern update while upholding the integrity and heritage of our 1920s home. A great collaborator and advocate, Wanda worked exceptionally well with our contractor and sub-trades and eased us through the minutiae of detailed decision-making. Her work for us ran the gamut from overall architectural design, to ensuring quality control to sourcing furniture (including affordable custom pieces from local crafts people), drapes/blinds, carpets, paints, bathroom fixtures, etc. No request was too big and no detail was too small. We couldn’t be happier with the end result and have had tons of compliments from friends (a photo of our basement reno was even used in a Bay-Bloor Radio ad). And to top it all off, Wanda is a great person and excellent company - qualities I was definitely grateful for in someone who was temporarily such an important part of our lives. We would definitely use Wanda again and have already recommended her to friends.
It is a pleasure to write a review for Wanda Ely Architect (WEA). WEA was the architect for a project that involved a renovation and addition to a semi-detached house, originally built in 1883, located in the Little Italy district of Toronto. WEA offered architectural services as well as optional assistance with a number of other aspects of construction. In our case, this included assistance with permitting, vetting contractors, construction supervision and interior design. The team at WEA was consistently available, professional and lovely to work with. Our project was seamlessly organized and consequently the renovation and addition were on time, on budget and produced a final result that exceeded our expectations. We strongly recommend WEA as an architecture and design firm. It was undoubtedly the best decision that we made in the course of our project.
My wife and I spent two years working with Wanda on a custom design for our condo. A project that included combining two units in the pre-construction phase of the building. The project was completed in the spring of 2016. Wanda embraced our “open to all ideas” approach. She incorporated a series of beautiful designs throughout the unit while at the same time making great use of space. Her attention to detail particularly with respect to wallpaper and other wall finishes created a number of unique showpieces within our unit that command attention from anyone that enters it. As a couple that had no idea what we wanted but strong opinions about what we didn’t want, Wanda has the talent to bring to life ideas we would never have been able to articulate. Even after 9 months of living here, not a day goes by that I don’t marvel at the work of art she created, that is now our home.
Wanda and her team worked with us over the past two years on the renovation of the entire first floor our house in downtown Toronto. What can I say? It was a real pleasure working with Wanda and I wouldn’t hesitate to do so again. In addition to getting the big thing right - the design itself is (for us) really outstanding and reflects what we hoped the space could be - she got all the little things pretty much right as well (a much taller task). These were things like an iterative design process that authentically listened to our desires and constraints, great ideas for using the space efficiently, incredible availability and patience with our decision-making process and cadence.
We hired Wanda’s firm to do a complete renovation of the upper two floors of our Victorian town home. We envisioned something modern and fresh with an emphasis on an increase in natural light and storage. Wanda and her associate Fabian listened to our ideas and were able to use their technical skills to devise a final drawing that incorporated our ideas as well as some unique features to ensure that our needs were met. Wanda’s project management skills are impeccable. During the project Wanda and Fabian were in constant contact with our contractors to ensure that no detail was overlooked. Now that the project is complete we are ecstatic with the final product! We are impressed by Wanda’s professionalism, architectural knowledge and proficiency. We would highly recommend Wanda’s firm to anyone in search of a creative, innovative, and collaborative approach to design.
What first impressed me about Wanda was that she treated a very small bathroom renovation with the same interest and dedication that most others would have reserved for large projects. She paid careful attention to what I said and to the design of the rest of the house. She was able very quickly to interpret and integrate all the bits and pieces of information that came from me and from her professional knowledge and observations into a totally unexpected plan. Wanda helped us with our choice of contractor whose impeccable work translated all the impressive details and refinements of the plan that were not evident before construction.Wanda, as well as her associate Scott, were accessible and responded quickly to all suggestions, questions and concerns. The end result speaks for itself - a highly functional bathroom that is beautiful in its simplicity.
Wanda is an artist. She is respectful, honest and very talented. She is a strong negotiator and does an excellent job advocating for her ideas as well as ensuring that your vision is executed in exactly the right way. She seems to know what I want better than I do. She has an amazing knack for giving me exactly what I want and need even when it isn’t what I asked for. She is fair in her billing and worth every penny. My house will be the home of my dreams because of her. I am so thankful that she is my Architect.
We are living in the stunning renovations of our (recently purchased) Roncesvalles home designed by Wanda Ely Arcithect Inc. We can’t speak more highly of our experiences with Wanda and her team. It was our first experience with a renovation and we were on a steep learning curve. Wanda guided us expertly through the entire process. She was open and responsive to our ideas, but then created a design that both incorporated our vision and brought it to a new level. Her designs were thoughtful, creative, practical and beautiful. At the same time, her professionalism was exceptional: she is a first-rate communicator with excellent judgment and a tremendous amount of integrity. She kept us calm and confident even amidst the many challenges of home renovations. We are thrilled with our home and we are very thankful to Wanda and her team.
Mid-way through our renovation we became completely overwhelmed and hired Wanda to design some interior architectural elements and select finishings - all of which would pull the space together. We loved working with Wanda - she made the process collaborative, exciting and educational. She worked hard to help us nail down our own aesthetic and then proceeded to take it to the next level. At each step of the process she checked in to make sure we were happy with the direction we were heading. She liaised with our contractor and some of the sub-contractors to ensure everyone was on the same page and to advocate for us when required. She was extremely focused on function as well as design and made sure that we were taking practical considerations into account so the home would be liveable for our family. She provided incredible value and helped us to create a beautiful, unique and timeless home that reflects our personalities. Wanda is extraordinarily talented and a pleasure to work with - if we are ever in a position to renovate another home the only thing we will do differently is retain her from the very start.
We hired Wanda Ely for a renovation of our Victorian row house. Wanda took the time to listen to our ideas and understand our tastes and requirements and came back with options that we never have come up with ourselves but were entirely in line with our needs. From start to finish working with Wanda was a pleasure. The designs and finish options that she suggested were entirely in keeping with our tastes and design sense, and this made the decision making process quick and easy. She remained in close contact with the contractors throughout the process and gave us a complete sense of comfort that everything was under control. We were particularly impressed with both the focus on detail and understanding of the need to stay on schedule and budget demonstrated throughout the project. The final result was better than we could ever have dreamed and Wanda was a huge part in making that happen. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Wanda Ely Architect Inc. for your next project.
My husband and I are currently working with Wanda to update the kitchen of our Toronto century home. Wanda took time to hear our needs and wants and has been expert at helping us to clarify what those actually are. We had been stalled in the decision making stage for years, and within a few short weeks of working with Wanda, she had helped us to come up with a design that we are very happy with. It works for our esthetic and our budget and solved the design riddles that had plagued us. I had seen some other projects that Wanda worked on and whilst I really admired them, I knew my husband and I would be making very different style choices from those clients. I have been most impressed with Wanda’s ability to “get” and work with our eclectic and somewhat undefined tastes as well as our thrifty budget.
We are so happy with our main floor and master renovation by Wanda. Her design acumen and attention to detail resulted in spaces that are beautiful as well as functional. Maximizing our space and making it modern yet warm allowed us to stay in a neighbourhood that we love. We know we couldn’t have achieved this without Wanda - and will certainly work with her on future projects.