This Toronto home had special meaning to designer Karin Bennett, thanks to a long history with the homeowners. “I attended elementary school with the wife and have kept in touch with her family through the years, her sister being a close friend of mine,” Karin explains. “This meant the project was personal for me, putting extra pressure on myself to give them the absolute home of their dreams.” 

The house, a new build by talented custom home builder Nicks Developments, was in mint condition. Since the family has three young children, Karin wanted the interiors to suit their fairly casual lifestyle with plenty of room to entertain family and friends. “This home had a formality to it, so our goal was to marry the luxury and make it feel approachable for this young family,” she says. 

The builder did a fantastic job outfitting this home with beautiful wall and ceiling mouldings throughout. The entry boasts high ceilings, emphasizing an open and airy feel, with herringbone hardwood floors adding a boost of architectural interest. There is also a natural white oak staircase juxtaposed with custom black and gold metal balusters.

Moving to the kitchen, black quartz mimics marble with striking white veining—and the added benefits of durability for a busy family. “With so much light streaming into the back of the house the dark painted cabinetry is striking and has a handsome feel to it,” Karin says. “The custom hood with gold inlay is another beautiful custom detail.” The dining room has custom wine storage, offering easy accessibility when hosting. “We made sure to incorporate comfortable chairs that recline ever so slightly to allow for enjoyable lounging after meals,” the designer shares. There is also a rec room—with a custom wine room—for even more fun.

The great room has custom built-ins and a fireplace surround that mimics the stone in the adjacent kitchen. Here, Karin brought in two savvy details: all of the custom furnishings are treated to repel stains, and swivel chairs are great for watching television but encourage conversation when entertaining. 

For the bedrooms, it’s all about texture and neutral, relaxing hues. The primary suite has cozy oatmeal upholstery with vertical channeling, and oversize nightstands for plenty of book storage. In the boys’ rooms, custom beds feel youthful but will easily ‘grow up’ as the kids do. Custom window treatments have blackout liners, allowing for late Saturday sleep ins. 

Karin faced the same pandemic-related delays all designers are facing these days, but the clients were gracious whenever “bad” news arrived. It helped that their designer was quick to find solutions. “We were getting ready for the whole home furniture delivery when we received news that two accent chairs for the great room that had been ordered 4 months earlier were now discontinued and no longer available,” she recalls. “We quickly designed a similar chair and had our custom furniture maker manufacture these for us.” 

Even with delays, Karin was able to deliver a fully furnished space in just under a year—take a tour in the slideshow. 

Lighting: Universal Lighting
Appliances: Wolf
Plumbing Fixtures: Kohler and Riobel
Hardwood Floor: AA Hardwood Flooring
Staircase: Sterca Stairs & Railings
Interior Doors, Wall & Ceiling Mouldings: Dream Team Carpentry
Custom Millwork: Marciano Kitchen
Stone Material: Caesarstone and Silestone
Dining Room and Kitchen Tables: Custom by KBD
Great Room and Rec Room Sofas: Custom by KBD
Kids Bedroom Headboards: Custom by KBD