When Aram Vakili and Ebad very keen on wanting a fully customized Shalchi, the masterminds behind V&S Design, were hired to design this stunning abode, it was April 2020 — mere weeks after COVID-19 locked down the city and Toronto came to a quiet standstill. “We worked on this house during multiple lockdowns and finished it in June 2021; it was quite the project,” Vakili remembers.
Their clients, a young family of four, chose to build in Toronto’s bustling Bayview Village area, which has seen a boom in the past few years. Young families are moving in, there’s better access to public transit
and there are a multitude of retail offerings in the vicinity. This couple bought an old house they knew they’d tear down and have the home of their dreams built. That’s when they contacted V&S Design. “They were very keen on wanting fully customized home. They knew what they wanted. Their 5,000-square-foot place would focus on the kitchen — the true heart of the home,” she says.
The designers say the inspiration for the home was a more transitional to modern feel. “Most of our clients aim to sell eventually, so we make sure we design to their taste, but also ensure our work is something that other families would also love down the road.” The kitchen and family room were of significance to the couple, and the closet in the master bedroom was key.
The goal for the kitchen was to be visually pleasing and fully functional. There’s a unique story behind the design for this room: Vakili says most of the kitchens she and Shalchi design are two-tone — they like the contrast a two-tone space provides. But the homeowners shied away from black and dark colours and seemed to connect more with a fully white space. “We’re not keen on all-white design — for us, colour really adds luxury to the design. So, we ended up persuading them to trust us with our vision. We decided on a white space with darker features and accents,” she says. “For example, we chose wenge wood because we like the grain and it stains well, giving us a deep shade that paired beautifully with the white.” They also brought in metallic borders used around the upper cabinets. “It resembles dark grey metal and has a really nice contrast with the lighter cabinetry.
This is an accent that really boosts the luxury factor.” The arabsecato marble, which has lots of grey veining, offers the same effect. “The client didn’t want anything too dramatic, but what we gave them has soft components but also offers plenty of visual interest.”
The living room, at the front of the house, takes its cue from the kitchen and uses the same theme and colours for a cohesive and repetitive look. “We wanted a really calming space for the homeowners and for when guests come over. The room is very airy and bright, but we brought in those darker accents once more for a brilliant contrast,” says Shalchi. There are two showstoppers in this room — one, of course, is the marble fireplace. It pulls in that darker grey hue and has stunning veining. “We repeated materials here — marble is found in other places throughout the home, so there’s familiarity and continuity.” (Another example of this important repetition is the wenge wood that’s used in both the kitchen and the family room — it offers a connection between the rooms.) The other showpiece is the ceiling. “People prefer a high ceiling, but that means they get a plain, flat look. We knew this client would appreciate the added opulence, so we designed the ceiling with detail — it has a darker border with hidden lights around the perimeter that, when turned on, bring in a golden hue and lots of warmth,” he explains, adding he and Vakili are proponents of incorporating smart, sophisticated lighting ideas into every home they work on.
The office and family room are also masterfully done. The office features a mixture of materials — something Vakili and Shalchi excel at. There’s wenge wood mixed with leather, as well as metal inlay on the floors and gold in the light fixture. There’s an incredible amount of texture and warmth in the space, thanks, in part, to the soft LED lighting in the shelv- ing. When it comes to the family room, the feature wall has an incredibly high-end look and feel. “Again, there’s a connection in the materials that are used — some of the same elements from the office and other spaces were brought in here, including the wenge, the veining in the stone in the fireplace and the lighting,” says Shalchi. The room is evocative of an upscale hotel suite, and it’s a place where the homeowners can truly relax.
Upstairs, the master bedroom offers a feeling of richness. “We did velvet upholstery behind the bed and added two mirrors to make the room feel even more spacious and luxe. Those hints of gold you see throughout the house are seen in here, too,” she says. There’s a gorgeous electrical fireplace opposite the lounge area in the room, which is on the other side of the television. This house has its fill of flair, but the closet brings contrast to the forefront. “We really went with the darker tones. We didn’t want it to look boring or everyday. It has a hotel-like look and finish, which is the feeling we were going for. The soft red velvet adds contrast to the darker wood. And we brought in lighting again, adding LED lights to the shelving. It’s so dramatic.”
While the homeowners had a very clear sense of what they’d be getting from the impeccable 3D renderings Vakili and Shalchi provided them with, they couldn’t have been happier with the final space. “This home truly has all the features that anyone would like and feel comfortable with,” says Shalchi. “The contrast and repetition throughout checks every box.”