On decluttering, downsizing and surviving a green renovation

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Front of house photo
credit: Lloyd Alter

For thirty years we raised our family in the middle house in this photo, in what was a streetcar suburb built after the St. Clair line opened at the edge of Toronto in 1913. Although it is on a smallish 30 foot by 90 foot lot, it was a big house, with three stories, six bedrooms and one bathroom. Because it was on a hill, the previous owners were able to drill a garage into the basement in the 70s, something that was made illegal shortly thereafter because it was so seriously ugly.

More on my neighborhood: Streetcars save cities: A look at 100 years of a Toronto streetcar line

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