How a run-of-the-mill Roncey semi became a sparkling showpiece

How a run-of-the-mill Roncey semi became a sparkling showpiece

What happens when two like-minded designers take on a top-to-bottom reno

Roncesvalles Great Spaces (Illustration: Aleksandar Janicijevic)
 

Megan Cassidy and Haji Nakamura share a passion for design. The couple met and fell in love in the late ’90s when they were both studying architecture at U of T. They bonded over a shared contemporary aesthetic and started plotting to open a practice together one day. Six years ago, they launched the design firm Nakamura Cassidy and completed their most personal project to date—a top-to-bottom reno of the Roncesvalles semi they now share with their four-year-old son, Miro. When they bought the house in 2009, it was begging for a facelift: the rooms were cramped and dark, and the kitchen and bathrooms were outdated. So they tore it all out and started from scratch. In order to make the place feel bigger than its 1,300 square feet, they raised the ceilings, replaced one upstairs wall with a huge panel of frosted glass and carved out a dramatic central light well inspired by Frank Gehry’s design for the AGO. Then they painted everything white—perfect for showing off their vintage furniture and poppy abstract art. From the street, it’s still a squat semi in a row of identical squat semis. But the interior is fresh and modern—and totally unique.

Roncesvalles Great Spaces (Image: Derek Shapton)
 

Nakamura nabbed the wood for the window bench from a demolition site on Wellington Street, and the wood-fired porcelain vase is by Nakamura’s mother, Michiko, a ceramicist and sculptor. The abstract paintings, called September and Ape, are by the couple’s friend Jeff Tutt.

Roncesvalles Great Spaces (Image: Derek Shapton)
 

They found the printed-canvas teepee on Amazon. It’s from the French toy manufacturer Vilac.

Roncesvalles Great Spaces (Image: Derek Shapton)
 

Nakamura discovered the adjustable Jieldé lamps at a church flea market in Paris. The couple originally sourced the Thonet bar stools for Santouka Ramen, one of their first commercial clients. They liked them so much that they bought a set for themselves.

Roncesvalles Great Spaces (Image: Derek Shapton)
 

The bathroom ceiling is unfinished cedar.

Roncesvalles Great Spaces (Image: Derek Shapton)
 

The fireplace is from the Belgian company Stûv. “We’re fire people,” says Cassidy. “We just love the smell.”

Roncesvalles Great Spaces (Image: Derek Shapton)
 

The stable doors leading out to the deck were custom-made by Bauhaus on Avenue Road.