Toronto’s best architects and designers right now
163 Sterling Rd., 647-987-2524
Blacklab is one of several new architectural firms replacing Toronto’s Victorian dwellings with sleek, jutting boxes that feature expansive windows, eco-friendly textures and open layouts. The company was established in 2012 by two couples. Each mod design is custom-tailored to the client, but the architects always try to incorporate eco-techniques to make their houses as efficient as they are beautiful. To wit: a coach house on Georgian Bay, finished in Corten steel, reclaimed barnboard and board-formed concrete.
240 Sterling Rd., 416-837-0344
Taylor—who’s dating locavore chef and fellow eco-crusader Jamie Kennedy—has been creating shabby-gorgeous gardens since 2012. For a home in the Annex, she brightened a dark garden with light-reflective gravel, serviceberry trees and a chrome-plated sculpture. When she’s not greening residential spaces, she’s planting rooftop gardens for places like the College Street YMCA.
Dubbledam Architecture and Design
401 Richmond St. W., 416-913-6757
Since 2002, Heather Dubbeldam and her small team have been creating livable contemporary spaces that use clever structural reworking to draw in natural light. A recently renovated 128-year-old residence in Summerhill, dubbed Through House, is a prime example: it has a floating staircase with an overhead skylight.
1335 Dundas St. W., 416-588-5900
At any given time, designers Elaine Cecconi and Anna Simone have a whirlwind of projects that take them as far away as India. But residential design in Toronto is still their passion. Their sustainable eight-home townhouse project on Lippincott Street reflects the pair’s taste: there’s a white-dominated palette grounded by the organic heft of millwork in the kitchen.
329-1655 Dupont St., 416-857-5377
Torontonians first discovered Jessica Nakanishi and Jonathan Sabine’s work at the Ping-Pong social club Spin. Since that first project, MSDS—which stands for “make shit, design shit”—has designed Shopify’s two-floor HQ on Spadina, Common Good’s bright and airy Dundas West studio and House of Anansi’s new office-cum-bookstore located in a warehouse on Sterling Road. When they’re not dreaming up swoon-worthy downtown office spaces, they’re designing Scandinavian-cool furnishings and fixtures. Last winter, they became the first Canadian studio to show at the Stockholm Furniture Fair.
18 Hook Ave., 416-761-9736
Mason Studio partners Ashley Rumsey and Stanley Sun are as much artists as they are interior designers: they’ve filled entire rooms with ethereal paper clouds for Toronto Design Week, flooded the Junction Train Platform with glowing orbs made from LED-lit paper cups and designed a techy kids’ play space at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. For their interior work, Rumsey and Sun—who met while they were studying design at Ryerson—merge that whimsical sensibility with spare, functional decor. They also combined old and new at Avenue Road and Eglinton, topping a classic two-storey Georgian with a modern third floor that houses a master bedroom, multi-purpose entertaining room and indoor-outdoor terrace.