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How to squeeze a growing family into an odd-shaped loft

Having kids made loft living tricky, so this couple remade their angular space into a compact, kid-friendly home

By Iris Benaroia| Photography by Derek Shapton
How to squeeze a growing family into an odd-shaped loft

In 2012, before they had kids, Anahita Azrahimi, creative and executive director of the Toronto Outdoor Art Fair, and Diederik van Liere, head of data science and engineering at Wealthsimple, bought a 1,325-square-foot loft. Then they had two daughters, two years apart, and the space felt tight, with cribs squeezed into one of two bedrooms. Weird angles due to the loft’s trapezoid shape and numerous concrete columns made arranging furniture difficult, but they loved the 20-foot-tall windows that flood the space with light, and they didn’t want to leave. “I grew up in densely populated Tehran in a small two-bedroom apartment,” Anahita says. “And my husband is from Holland, where everything is compact and efficient.”

So in November 2017, they enlisted Creative Union Network, a multidisciplinary design studio, to import that less-is-more ideology to their home by slimming the staircase, bringing in smaller, European-sized appliances and getting rid of the powder room, which allowed them to extend the kitchen. The new staircase is narrower (but still to code) with a floating zigzag profile and glass panel railings. Anahita’s new workspace is tucked underneath the staircase:

How to squeeze a growing family into an odd-shaped loft

The couple redid the floors in oak to match their new staircase. The sculptural light fixture is by the Montreal company Lambert and Fils, through Klaus:

How to squeeze a growing family into an odd-shaped loft

This piece from Douglas Coupland’s Corbusier Target series was Anahita’s first gallery purchase:

How to squeeze a growing family into an odd-shaped loft

To maximize space in the kitchen, the designers added bench seating by Old Soul Carpentry Club and remade the dining table out of Anahita’s old desk:

How to squeeze a growing family into an odd-shaped loft

The cabinetry is built with Fenix, the island is topped in earthy soapstone and the countertops are by Corian:

How to squeeze a growing family into an odd-shaped loft

Upstairs, an awkward underused space was converted into a whimsical play-and-sleep structure. The girls love it so much that they never want to leave their room. The double-height space encompasses two beds, a closet and a wardrobe. Stairs swoop behind a column, which conceals a hideaway. Equipped with a mini desk and lights, the nook almost makes it fun to do homework:

How to squeeze a growing family into an odd-shaped loft

Here’s the capacious wardrobe situation:

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How to squeeze a growing family into an odd-shaped loft

The wooden house in the girls’ bedroom was made by the Danish brand Ferm Living:

How to squeeze a growing family into an odd-shaped loft

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