When Amy Paquette first laid eyes on what's now her young family's home in 2008, she felt like she had a high-school crush. The three-storey Victorian, set in a leafy central-Toronto neighbourhood, wasn't even on the market, yet Amy often found herself driving by the property after work to swoon. "I loved the outside of the house," she says - everything from the circa-1911 home's gorgeous red brick and unique ironwork to the lush front garden. The drive-bys continued, until Amy and her husband, Richard Wyruch, both lawyers, got their wish and were able to buy it several months later.
The house in Leaside was only 12 years old when the homeowners bought it, but they knew a kitchen renovation was in the offing. They wanted to replace the French country-style kitchen that had been installed by the builder with a sleeker design. So they enlisted the help of Tim Johnson – an interior designer who had worked on several other rooms in their home – to give the kitchen a look that would be consistent with the rest of the house. Johnson, in turn, teamed up with David Wolstencroft of Wolstencroft Kitchens & Fine Cabinetry, with whom he had collaborated on other projects. “The original kitchen was very ornate,” says Johnson. “My client wanted a clean, contemporary design.”
A sixteen-foot island topped in Noir Saint-Laurent marble from Ciot takes centre stage in the dramatic kitchen of Tim Johnson’s new King West condo. The interior designer and his partner Doug Rienzo called in Chris Lloyd of York Fabrica to realize the show-stopping piece. Working with dark marble requires a deft touch: cutting and even polishing are a challenge, because it’s largely composed of calcium and is easily damaged. “But it’s a beautiful stone, and unique – I love it!” Lloyd said.
The mitred island was created from six foot slabs of marble, although complicated cuts and assembly give the appearance of seamlessness. It provides a long, horizontal workspace with a double sink. The piece also houses a wine fridge, a dishwasher and a seating area on the end.
Interior designer Tim Johnson moved to Toronto from his native Rochester, N.Y., in 1994 to be with his partner, lawyer Douglas Rienzo, with whom he now shares a 3,500-square-foot apartment in a condo building on King Street West. The two-bedroom unit was a bare box when the pair bought it. Johnson transformed it into a home, customizing it from top to bottom. He added a home office to the original floor plan and renovated existing rooms, including the 10-by-14-foot den, where he likes to relax after the workweek. “It’s primarily used on weekends because we’re busy guys,” says the proprietor of his own firm, Timothy Johnson Design. “This is where we chill out, watch movies and read.”
The chair and ottoman
“Both are from Studio B, from the Walter Knoll collection. I had the ottoman re-covered in a custom-dyed cowhide in a deep eggplant.”
“We had the base made, but we found the shade in a junk store on Queen Street West. It has travelled with us for years.”
“I designed this piece and had it made by Louis Interiors in Toronto. It’s upholstered in a deep-chocolate wool fabric, which I coveted after first spying it at Y&Co Carpet & Textile.”
“This is from Elte. It’s a prismatic mirror. Some of the mirrors are in shades of navy; some are in shades of amber. It’s got a retro feel that I love. I also love that it reflects different parts of the room.”
The coffee table
“We found it at the side of the road in High Park. We loved the shape and the style and had it refinished. It’s a vintage piece.”
The Hermès blanket
“This was in a box that I had in storage for years. It was just waiting for the perfect home and this is it.”
“It’s rosewood and was built by Miro Bezdicka, whose Mievaa Custom Woodwork Designs company I use all the time for my clients. I custom-designed the bookcase around a beloved painting by Ontario artist Ken Mamchure that dates back to the 1960s. I love the vivid colours. I collect paintings from this period.”
“This is a custom wool and linen carpet, also from Elte. I think it lifts the room. It balances all the dark shades and brings the room alive.”