There’s an old line about the cobbler’s kids going barefoot. The cobbler is too busy repairing customers’ shoes to make shoes for their own children. Lucky for Jim Caruk’s daughters, this was never the case. The homebuilder and star of HGTV’s Real Renos has always viewed his own house as a showcase. His own home epitomizes the high-quality design and craftsmanship he puts into his clients’ homes. Jim’s latest home is no exception. Take a tour of Jim Caruk’s dream home.

style takes centre stage in Jim Caruk’s Dream Home

The four-bedroom, 3,800-sq.-ft. home is located in Humber Valley in the west end of Toronto. His daughters are grown and have families of their own. Caruk’s known as “Papa Jim-Jim” to his four grandchildren. He is now free to indulge in some of the more masculine, industrial touches he favours. The exterior façade features a mix of red brick, limestone, and black-accent panelling. The lofty, industrial-looking windows bring in plenty of light. The Vicwest metal roof will withstand the elements for decades with its 50-year warranty.

Floor-to-ceiling wainscotting in the front foyer.

The maple and leather bench in the entrance foyer is from Toronto-based Objects & Ideas. All their pieces are designed and made in Toronto, using Canadian materials. The floor-to-ceiling wainscotting is typical of Caruk’s “tricked out” trim.

Living Room
Solid walnut living room chairs contrast with light leather cushions.

Inside, Toronto-based design company and retail outlet, 36 Knots, helped burnish and furnish the look. “We were going for a contemporary, masculine look,” says 36 Knots’ Yvonne Tristani. “We used solid pieces, such as the heavier-set walnut chairs with blackened steel panels in the living room, offset with light leather cushions and very neutral carpets.” The imposing piano converted into a coffee table in the living room is actually a double salvage. Caruk picked it up from a former client who was going to throw it out.


Jim Caruk’s favourite space in the home is the combined kitchen and dining room that span across the entire rear of the house, and leads to the covered back porch.

Covered rear porch provides three-season comfort.

Outdoor oasis

The porch is a cozy covered seating area that looks out over the surprisingly secluded, tree-shrouded yard. The tongue-and-groove ceiling features embedded pot lights and a ceiling fan over the dining table. The ceiling fan and a gas fireplace provide three-season comfort. Glass railings provide an unobstructed view of the 12-by-20-ft. in-ground pool. 

Next-level energy efficiency

While the design, finishes and furniture reflect Caruk’s personal tastes, it’s what is behind the walls that he feels makes the biggest impact.

“The best feature of the house was working with Owens Corning to create a net-zero ready home,” says Caruk. Net-zero ready homes use the latest in building materials and design to minimize energy consumption. These features include insulation with R-values exceeding the current building code as well as sealing all the air gaps inside and out to prevent wasting heating and cooling energy. By adding a sufficient number of solar panels, or other green energy options, a home can be classified as net-zero, meaning that it produces at least as much energy as it consumes every year.

“Building net-zero is still in the fairly new stages and it costs more upfront. But, in the long run, you’ll get that money back,” says Caruk. “My gas bill was cut almost in half.”

With more than 45 years’ experience building high-end homes for himself and his clients, Caruk has spent just as long learning how to build better homes from the inside out. His latest personal project showcases how you can combine attractive esthetics – matched to the homeowner’s particular tastes – with the latest innovations in energy efficiency.

By Allan Britnell | Photography by Alex Lukey | Produced by RENO & DECOR

Launched in 1990, RENO & DECOR is Canada’s Home Idea Book, inspiring readers with the latest in tips and trends for their decorating and renovating.

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