Great Spaces: a starkly beautiful haven above a furniture shop in the Junction
John and Juli Baker, owners of the cultishly popular Mjölk, built a home that’s as starkly beautiful as their shop below
John and Juli Baker met by chance seven years ago at the Cloak and Dagger pub on College Street. She was studying art curation and photography at OCAD. He played guitar in a folk-rock band. They were both obsessed with modern design, and they sparked immediately. Their first collaboration was a blog where they gushed over graceful chairs, well-proportioned teapots and other striking examples of Japanese and Scandinavian design. It proved so popular that, in 2009, they bought a Victorian storefront in the Junction and started selling the rarefied products they’d been blogging about. They married in the showroom a year later and set about gutting the two-storey living quarters above the shop. The couple’s minimal aesthetic—all white or wood, with no ornamentation—is the kind of thing that looks great in Dwell, but can seem impossible for people with pets, kids or both. And yet they’ve made the look work in a busy household that includes a two-year-old girl, a newborn baby boy and a cat (Elodie, Howell and Isha, respectively). Working with architects Peter Tan and Christine Ho Ping Kong of Studio Junction, the Bakers chose durable materials—copper, soapstone, white oak—and used them throughout the 2,000-square-foot space. The cohesive palette helps to maintain the streamlined effect. So does having really nice stuff: when the kids’ shaggy rocking sheep gets left out, it looks more like a sculptural statement than clutter.