Canadian fashion designers Dean and Dan Caten, the twin-brother founders of label Dsquared2, had long been based in Italy when they gave up their home in Milan three years ago to set down new roots in a two-bedroom, two-bathroom house in London's trendy Notting Hill neighbourhood. "London's a bit more international," says Dan, the spokesman for the brand. "It's also nice for us to be able to speak English again and see movies. We missed that in Italy, where we still keep a place."
Their time together is usually spent in the extra-large eat-in kitchen, very much like the one they grew up with in Toronto as the youngest of nine children born to Italian immigrant parents. "It's very cozy and homey and it's usually where everyone tends to end up," Dan says.
The beige palette: "The house used to belong to a fashion editor and she did it up so beautifully that we didn't want to change anything. Our home in Milan is much more modern, with bright colours. This isn't exactly our style, but we think the ivory and cream combination works well here. It's very subtle and it makes the interior feel very light and bright. You want that in a London house because the city tends to be very grey. Anything you can do to brighten things up is a good thing."
The dining room table: "This was an old cutting table that we found in an antique shop in a town just north of Milan. My brother and I fixed it up and added a chrome top and chrome tufts at the feet at a friend's workshop where we often go. Doing homey projects is a hobby of ours. We like finding antiques and doing them up."
The pony-covered chairs: "We also did up these chairs, stripping them ourselves and applying a clear lacquer that really brings out the beautiful grain and character of the wood. We added pony skins to the seats to make them more manly."
The rug: "The table and chairs are on a simple coco mat that we bought at the Conran Shop. They have great stuff and an antiques section that we love. We're always there, rooting about, in search of things we might like to rebuild."
The couch and cushions: "We asked a friend to make the couch for us. It's big, cozy and made of ivory corduroy. I love curling up on it in the morning with a cup of coffee, discussing ideas with my brother. The cushions we got from Ralph Lauren in London. It's a great place and everything is so beautifully presented. We liked them because they are made of cotton twill in a colour that gives them a manly edge as well."