Andrea Bertucci

When Life Moves You, I'm Here to Help.

If you love giving those time-worn furniture pieces a new life then maybe, just maybe you’ve heard of ‘chalk paint’. Chalk paint is easy to use and breathes new life into old furniture. That old dresser no one wanted becomes a canvas for creative expression. The results are breathtaking. Furniture is a unique medium that Jelena at Poppy Seed Creative Living Studio thrives on. Poppy Seed, is the newest shop in the St. Clair West - Wychwood neighbourhood. There you’ll find Jelena’s reimagined furniture painted with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint as well as unique artfacts from other local artisans. Jelena also sells Annie Sloan chalk paint. 

Annie Sloan is the British inventor and the Grand Dame of the Chalk Paint phenomenon. Recently, Jelena was selected to be an Annie Sloan’s Artist in Residence, a coveted designation within the Furniture-as-Art world. She has been working with the medium for over 5 years and is regarded as one of the best.  

Stop by, Say ‘Hello’ and gather your own inspiration for that next art project!

Jelena will soon be hosting intimate, hands-on workshops in her studio.

Learn more: 


Where to Find Poppy Seed Creative Living 

284 Rushton Road, Toronto 

(Across the street from Bar Ape) 

Chair as Art

Reimagined Dresser

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Last October, my husband and I, along with our long-time business partner did something we would never advise our clients to do. We bought a house, seeing it only once at night and without an inspection. It was a dated 1960’s bungalow on the shores of Wellers Bay in Prince Edward County. We fell into the trap of emotionally buying a house well before our ink hit the pages of the Agreement to Purchase. We were lured by the waterfront view and the idyllic road it was on. There was another buyer circling about, which added to the drama of the transaction. I am aware this story has played out all over Toronto over the last 5 years, with astonishing multiple offer scenarios.  Countless bleary-eyed Buyers paid extortionary prices for homes while waiving their right to inspection. I know it happens all the time, I didn’t think it would happen to us. My husband is a Real Estate Broker and renovator. This wasn’t our first rodeo.

The house was was clad in orange-brown brick and was ‘50 Shades of Ugly’.  Yet, we still believed we paid a decent price for a waterfront home. We had a few ‘cosmetic’ renovations planned, but it didn’t take long to uncover that parts of the house were structurally unsound.  The fireplace was crumbling. The subfloor and joists were rife with wood rot and there were leaks around the doors and windows. We steeled ourselves for what was to be a FULL renovation. NOT the original plan. With that, we took the house back to the bare studs, moved the kitchen, added two more bathrooms, re-configured the layout, HVAC, new doors and windows. We even stained brick to a glorious crisp white. 

Five months later, after countless two-hour trips from Toronto, endless discussions with our contractor over the layout, finishes and costs, we’re at the end of this long journey. There were many sleepless nights. It feels a bit like we’ve survived a battle at the front lines.

The lake house is now our sanctuary from the City. It’s modern and serene.

How did we make it through?

Fortunately, we had a continency budget and we worked diligently to find the ‘Deals and Steals’ to keep costs down wherever possible. Facebook Marketplace, garage sales and salvage shops were my go-to’s for many of the goods that went into the house. This also made it fun.

Can a renovation test the strength of a marriage and a business partnership? Absolutely. We avoided a mutiny through constant communication and the commitment to be teammates throughout the process.

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The lifeblood for any Real Estate agent is to meet new people, and there’s no better way than at Toronto’s Park and Bark Dog Show and Outdoor Market held last Saturday in the Yonge and Davisville neighbourhood. I invited Karen Weiler, Principal Photographer for Posh Pets Photography to join me for mini dog photoshoots.  Guests were given the chance to take a professional picture with their Pooch for a nominal cost of $10 per session.  All proceeds benefit the Toronto Humane Society.

The result was total doggy cute-fest. There were dozens of dogs walking about in their fashion finery with proud pet parents in tow.

Like many of us, I share a deep love for dogs and I am fortunate to experience their unconditional love every day. My dog Leo has become an irreplaceable member of our family. He is the loving protector of his human sisters Lauren and and Emma.

With so many Toronto households now sharing space with their beloved dogs, adding a dog wash station to your laundry, mudroom or garage is a fantastic way to add value and differentiate your property when listing it for sale.

Thinking of Buying or Selling?

It is one of the most important decisions you will ever make, and I hope that when you’re ready to buy a home or sell the one you have, you will let me join you on that journey.

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In June 2018, City Council adopted new Official Plan and Zoning By-law amendments permitting laneway suites throughout Toronto’s laneways on properties with an existing residential dwelling. Laneway housing or ‘laneway suites’ as they are commonly referred has been floated through City Council for roughly two decades. The goal is to create a new form of housing for downsizing seniors, extended families and young people. There is untapped potential to add rental income for Toronto homeowners.   

What is a laneway suite you ask? 

The official City definition - A laneway suite is a self-contained residential unit located on the same lot as an existing residential dwelling, and generally located in the rear yard next to a laneway. A laneway suite can be constructed as a second-level unit (above a carpark garage) or can be built as a single-storey or 2-storey dwelling. Laneway suites are generally smaller in scale and completely detached from the main house on the lot.

There are 227 kms of laneway in Toronto, that’s roughly the distance from Toronto to Prince Edward County!

Even if just 10% of this land is leveraged across Toronto’s 1907 laneways, the result would create neighbourhood extensionions with vibrant, livable laneway communities and desperately needed housing. We have already seen the legitimizing of laneways as community spaces. Many are named after significant events, themes and people. The ‘Art Lives Here’ lane in the St. Clair West neighbourhood offers passersby lively art murals on many of the garage doors. We’re in the midst of a movement toward transforming these utilitarian lanes into community spaces. This is the next frontier in addressing urban density growth and will inevitably bring light and vitality to Toronto's darkened laneways. 

Is Your Home Eligible? 

Not all homes that back onto a laneway are ideal for a laneway suite addition. There are several criteria that should be met for City permit approval. The distance from the primary dwelling, width of the public laneway, fire truck access and distance between adjacent houses are some of the considerations. The City also mandates that laneway suites must draw electrical power, water and other utilities from the main house. Laneway dwellings cannot be severed from the existing residence. Andrew Fishman, co-founder of Laneway Hiome Building Experts recommends that a Feasibility Study (about $500 cost) be done to best determine what is possible and how to avoid by-law zoning variances and possibly facing the Committee of Adjustments. 

If your current Toronto home backs onto a laneway, or you’re contemplating a home purchase on a laneway, you have the potential to grow your home investment by adding additional living space or an income-producing laneway suite.  

Care to learn more? 

Let’s connect. 


Call me: 416.271.7680

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If you're at all familiar with Toronto's aptly named Eglinton Crosstown transit project, you've likely experienced the gridlock and organized chaos that this massive construction project running along one of Toronto's busiest main roads creates. It's hard to imagine now that the new LRT (light rapid transit) rail system will one day ease congestion and speed transit times by up to 60%.   

While travelling on Eglinton Street might be the bane of our existence for a few years yet, buying real estate on Eglington now, ahead of completion of the transit project might prove to be a very worthwhile investment. 

The Upper East Village, Camrost Felcorp's master planned community on Eglinton and Brentcliff offers the charm of a thriving neighbourhood, robust with retail, dining experiences, cafés and every amenity on your wish list - All within walking distance. You'll rarely need to leave this community enclave. 

Need to go downtown? It’s just a short trip on TTC or a drive south on the Bayview Extension.  

For a VERY limited time, Camrost is offering FREE parking and locker with purchase price.

Discover the Upper East Village for yourself, connect with me for an appointment.

Townhomes from$1.12 million 

Condos from the low $600's

Learn more at

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I learned long ago that the best way to my Italian husband’s heart is through his stomach.

I was gifted this Tiramisu recipe from a trusted neighbour for my engagement. It calls me to craft this italian dessert with love and intention at every step. The recipe card bears the marks from 15 years of love and dedication.

Yes, there are easier, faster recipes out there. But, as with love and life, it’s best to skip the shortcuts.


-       5 egg yolks

-       10 Tablespoons of sugar

-       1 Tub of Marscarpone Cheese

-       1 cup of Whipping Cream (35%)

-       2 packages of Savoiardi cookies (Similar to ladyfinger cookies)

-       1 Teaspoon of Vanilla extract

-       3 Cups of brewed cold espresso coffee (make in advance)

-       Your choice of sweet liquors (Grand Marier, Kahlua, Vermouth)

-       Cocoa nibs to garnish


-       Stand or hand mixer

-       Spatula

-       Espresso maker. Ask an italian friend for a ‘cafetiera’  (pronounced Ca-fé-tia-ra), they usualy have at least 5.   

-       Deep dessert dish 

-       3 mixing bowls

Step 1: Cheese Mixture

Combine 5 egg yolks with 5 tablespoons of sugar and one tub of Marscapone cheese and beat together with either a hand or stand mixer until fully combined. Set aside.

Step 2: Whipping Cream Mixture

Combine 1 cup of whipping cream with another 5 tablespoons of sugar and  1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.

Step 3: The Fold

Gently fold-in both the cheese and whipping cream mixtures together with a spatula  

Step 4: The Assembly

Your first layer starts with the lady finger cookies. Dip each cookie quickly into the espresso coffee and lay down in the dish. Follow with a layer of the now combined cream mixture. Repeat until the dish is filled and cream layer is at the top. Garnish with cocoa nibs. Refrigerate for 30 minutes and then enjoy! 

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Prince Edward County has quickly become the ‘go-to’ destination for escaping BIG city life. It's the spot where you can enjoy a carefree weekend with friends and family. It’s a place for drop-top drives through the county-side, fine dining and winery hoping. There’s just something about big sky country and beautiful lake views that keeps people coming back. 

My love story with the County began in July 2017 with a week’s vacation booked at a cottage in Wellington. I was smitten. The charming towns, the beaches, endless corn fields and oh, wineries aplenty.

My husband, a self-proclaimed city-slicker also found that the County was a place he could truly relax. By summer’s end we had our very own country house. This surprised us both and has upended life for us – In a very good way.

 We christened the home Hudson House. It is a charming 5-bedroom Bed & Breakfast in the heart of Prince Edward County.

 We hope to see you there! 

 Learn More Link:

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Whether or not you’re in a committed relationship, it is so very important to be in charge of their building their personal wealth. Owning a home is the single most important investment you can make. It’s the cornerstone of a stable financial future.

Historically, Toronto housing prices have roughly doubled every 7 years. It's always a good time to get in the market and interest rates are still low enough to help compensate for inflated markets.  Despite this, it’s clear Toronto’s housing market is out of reach for many individual buyers. The cycle of paying rent can be a noxious one, especially when rent equals a mortgage payment. Imagine re-directing your monthly rent toward your own mortgage.

Get creative

You’re a resourceful gal, what you need are creative ways to get into the real estate market that doesn’t have to include a romantic partner. Think business partner instead. Your personal wealth could grow exponentially if you combine your resources with a partner to buy that first home or investment.

The concept of co-ownership and group buying has picked up momentum among female professionals. It’s an opportunity to own a proportionate share of a residence or building – as well as the mortgage, expenses and potential rental income.

Two recent clients purchased a triplex, a two-and-a-half storey home with main floor, upper level and basement units. The property boasted a private backyard in the heart of downtown Toronto, near iconic Trinity Bellwoods Park. This ‘fixer upper’ was purchased for $990,000 with the plan for the owners to renovate and each occupy the main and second floor units respectively. The basement unit is reserved for rental income and will go a long way towards covering your housing expenses. This is one of the most efficient ways to get yourself out of that rental unit and into something that is yours. It’s the classic ‘Think and Grow Rich’ plan and it’s happening all over Toronto.

Typical Financial Outlay: 

Purchase price: $1,030,000
Down payment: $69,300 or 7%.
Closing costs: $30,000
Total cash outlay: $99,300
Expenses (Utilities, Insurance, property taxes): $12,000
Monthly Mortgage Payment: $4,570
Potential rental income (basement apartment): $1,400
(*Numbers are approximate)

Buying partners must understand that being completely transparent with one another regarding their credit, debt load, etc. will ease the process and give their agent and mortgage broker a better understanding of budget and financial picture. Multiple buyers (family/friends/investors) in a real estate transaction can become quite overwhelming for each borrower, as many factors come into play when qualifying. Lenders look at everything from income, to debt load, to assets and security. The amount of rental income will be taken into consideration.

Build an Iron-clad business/shareholders agreement

Aside from securing a mortgage, a business contract is the most important part of the transaction. Like in any business partnership, a contract spells out the rules of engagement. It should cover important details such as whether or not you will cohabitate and proportionate share of ownership. It’s entirely possible that one partner may contribute a larger down payment, while the other may have better credit, higher income, etc.,all of which contribute to mortgage qualification. Other important details include how expenses are paid, household improvements and who is doing the work. A five-year plan is recommended.

Equally as important is the exit strategy, it’s best to work out well in advance what happens when a partner decides to cash in their share, or otherwise pull out equity. Typically, the existing partners get first right-of-refusal to buy out the exiting partner. Be sure to connect with a lawyer when drafting the agreement, particularly regarding how fees are calculated when a partner assumes full ownership.

Think co-owning a home might be a possibility? There’s lots to consider, but a lot to be gained, so it’s worth a conversation. Let’s get together over coffee and talk about how that all-important home purchase could be in your future.

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