When Marin Zabzuni’s clients asked him to design a new home with unique features, interesting elements and chic focal points, he knew just how to fulfil — and surpass — their wishes.
By Lisa van de Geyn
Photography by Milan Surdi


Toronto-based design firm Contempo Studio prides itself on creating subtle, timeless and luxurious homes for clients. They’ve done it for years. The team is filled with creative, talented professionals who have mastered both the science and art of designing spaces that leave lasting impressions. At the helm is architectural designer Marin Zabzuni, who has made a name for himself in the industry as a leader in the creation of transitional-chateau abodes.

This exquisite 5,500-square-foot home is one of his latest pristine projects. South of Steeles Avenue West near Bathurst Street in the northern tip of the city is this newly built luxury estate Contempo designed for a family. “They wanted a transitional look and feel — nothing too classic or too modern, but something between those designs. They didn’t want a ‘typical’ home and requested unique features and focal points that would make their interior stand out,” Zabzuni says. The homeowners are in the window-coverings business and would ultimately use their estate to showcase their offerings of shades and blinds to prospective clients. “There was a lot of collaboration with the clients during the design process, and we were excited to create a distinctive high-end space with interesting features.”

Zabzuni filled the home with strong, unique focal points — even the layout of the space is noteworthy. “There are formal, more defined spaces in the front of the house that offer privacy, while the back features a more open-concept plan. It’s a nice mix that creates visual interest,” he explains. Inside the front entrance you’re greeted by two double doors on either side of the foyer — one side is the library and living room, the other is the dining room. The intricate jet-black trim on the glass doors matches the home’s front doors and creates the perfect contrast paired with the stunning slabs of porcelain the client opted for over hardwood. “It’s very grand and even has radiant heating, so it’s never cold when barefoot. It’s a great feature.”

The kitchen is extraordinary — it’s an interesting combination of modern components mixed with grainy wood and an Italian flair that’s garnered compliments from all who’ve seen it. Instead of opting for a classic white space, the solid wood cabinets are a gorgeous sandy colour not often used in kitchens. The porcelain island is also a showstopper and includes a super modern element: an attached eating area big enough for a group of five to dine comfortably. “The family spend a lot of time in the kitchen at the island and there’s so much room for everyone here. It’s also filled with natural light. It’s a well-defined area and a great use of space,” says Zabzuni.



Next to the kitchen is the great room, with its massive windows, soaring ceilings and two-storey fireplace and the sublime fixture that offers the perfect amount of light. (“There’s ambient and accent lighting throughout the house. It’s very subtle and elegant, and complements the space,” he says.) The great room is also where you’ll find perhaps one of the most architecturally exciting elements in the home — the stairs. This staircase, complete with glass inlay, has a brilliant profile designed to look like stacked blocks. “It’s something you don’t see often. We really wanted to achieve that look and it turned out beautifully.”

There are four well-appointed bedrooms on the second floor, but it’s the skylight feature in the hallway that immediately catches the eye when you go upstairs. The design includes linear track lighting and clean lines, and it opens the area, allowing natural light to flow into the space. The spa-like bathroom is spacious and serene, with the wall behind the tub done in calming grey porcelain slabs.

The abode is refined and offers lots of functionality, so it’s no surprise it was incredibly well-received by the client — they fell in love with the new build upon seeing Contempo’s finished work. Since moving in, they’ve truly made their house a home, injecting more unique pieces and notable accoutrements that ultimately help define their style and family. “We’re really proud of this one. It was a pleasure to work on. There wasn’t a dull moment designing this exceptional space.”