let me introduce myself, I am Kristen. I have an awesome husband named El Granto, a crazy vizsla puppy Odin, and we all live in a 100 year old Storefront Conversion in downtown Toronto.

Wedding shot of Kristen and El Granto
We’re so cute 🙂

This will be a place for our adventures in home ownership, raising a puppy, living and working in an urban environment and renovating the storefront. Our Storefront Life!

Our home was recently renovated when we purchased it, but just after we moved in we ran into BIG PROBLEMS. Thankfully our house was fixed, but we still had a long way to go into making it a home. Problem was, we didn’t have the budget to go out and furnish/decorate the whole house. So room by room we are DIY’ing, budgeting and designing our home together. We have eccentric tastes (I’m more classic, and El Granto’s more steampunk.) We love challenges, and we are a bit of perfectionists. Hopefully some of our trials, errors, and successes can help you with your home.

storefront exterior


About Kristen:

Kristen in her hipster nerd glasses.
Kristen in her hipster nerd glasses.

Kristen grew up in a household of DIY’ers. Mom was a baker, sewer and general crafter. She had Kristen sewing her own clothes as a teenager, and ensured she could cook to feed an army. Kristen’s stepfather had her out in the shop wrenching on cars, woodworking & helping with renovations and projects around the house. As a kid, this work wasn’t her favorite activity, but as an adult shes realized that her parents give her a lot of skills to set her up for the future. Kristen met El Granto at art school. Kristen was working at the on campus photography gear rental, and spent many a night chatting with El Granto over cameras and film. After graduation they moved to Toronto where Kristen started work at a photography agency. By day she licenses photography for commercial use, and by night she wields power tools and makes one hell of a risotto.

About El Granto:

El Granto hard at work as usual
El Granto hard at work as usual

El Granto was born in sunny South Africa to British parents with the name Grant. Wonder how he got the El Granto moniker? Read about it here. As a kid, his family pond jumped over to Canada. His love of British things however, has not abated. You will find him riding his Triumph Thruxton motorcycle when there’s dry pavement and weather above freezing. El Granto was raised with an Engineer for a Dad and a crafty Mum. This certainly had an impact on his love for gears and building things. Before meeting Kristen at art school, he got a diploma in photojournalism. He’s the Storefront Life editor who reins in Kristens run on sentences and poor grammar. After graduation El Granto strayed from the photography industry, and taught himself html. He grew that into a day job, and you can now find him building large corporate websites as a web developer. He also keeps this site up and running, and away from Kristen’s inept hands.

Together Kristen & El Granto are a great team, if by great team, you mean one that includes two incredibly stubborn, know-it-all parties, who can often be found arguing about how best to accomplish a task. Through many years of DIYing together, they have certainly found their strengths and stride. El Granto handles most large heavy items and tools, else Kristen would hurt herself. Kristen is anal retentive, and as such, should be given tasks that require precision and that can keep her occupied and out of the way. Kristen is the mess maker, and El Granto does not like a messy workshop. They both push each other to do things better, and through blood, sweat and tears (mostly from Kristen) they make some badass projects.


If you have any questions about any of our projects or just want to say hi, please email us! We love to hear from you.



P.S. Check out some of the places we have been featured!

HOSS Magazine


Apartment Therapy   Apartment Therapy V2   Apartment Therapy V3

Style at Home

Ikea Hackers