Sandra Morris and her husband Gary Torgis recently retired into the home they had designed to share with Torgis's aging parents, Marion and Lawrence – Rye Park Manor. The 5,000 sq. ft. house had a main-floor master suite for Marion and Lawrence, and the older couple lived here for five years until Lawrence passed away and Marion moved to a retirement residence nearby. Upstairs it had a master for Torgis and Morris, and two guest rooms with a Jack-and-Jill bathroom.
“We wanted this to be our forever home,” Morris says. “We envision staying here until we can’t. So, everything we designed was not with a view to sell. We designed it with all the elements that we liked and made us comfortable.”
However, three years ago when Morris left her career as a law librarian, she wasn’t ready to quietly settle into retirement. She opted instead to turn Rye Park Manor into a bed and breakfast.
The renovations started with the transformation of the Jack-and-Jill into two en suite bathrooms, creating three separate guest areas upstairs. Morris and Torgis now use the main floor master suite as their private retreat and the laundry room was given a significant makeover, growing to four times its original size to accommodate the B & B.
Next came the addition of a conservatory at the back of the house, designed by Homes of Elegance by Gatta Homes and constructed by Joseph Mulholland of Mulholland Designs Ltd. The conservatory adds 500 square feet to the living and dining area of the house, and a sun deck above.
Morris’s love of traditional styling has been complemented with modern additions through her collaboration with designer Elizabeth Loomis Taliano from Simply White Interiors. Private spaces and guest areas exist harmoniously, with as much love and attention to detail dedicated to both. “We have successfully transformed a grand home into an oasis for both the proprietors and patrons of Rye Park Manor simultaneously," says Loomis Taliano.
The grand, open-concept living area has double-height walls painted in Benjamin Moore Decorator’s White with vintage hickory flooring from Aristocrat Floors of the World. Cladding around the fireplace from Stamford Fireplaces is eye-catching black velvet brocade wallpaper that stretches two storeys high.
As you’d expect from a former librarian, there’s an extensive collection of books, many of them leather-bound first editions collected over 30 years, stacked throughout the space in black wooden built-in bookshelves. Radunsky Construction gets credit for the functional yet beautiful wall unit.
Upstairs in the guest area, touches like the Carrara-look tiles from Aristocrat in the bathrooms give a sophisticated spa vibe while traditional styling in the bedrooms keeps it feeling cosy and comfortable. They have been outfitted with state-of-the-art electronics and televisions from Gibbys Electronic Supermarket.
Two guest rooms lead onto the new deck via a custom wrought-iron spiral staircase by Architectural Ironworks. Beyond is the back courtyard, landscaped by Sykes Landscaping, backing onto the tree-lined Rye Heritage Park.