Drawing on his background in commercial real estate and extensive experience remodelling homes, Toronto’s Guy Knowles specializes in new residential builds and the restoration of old properties, including the once-derelict Rosedale house he has lived in for the past two years.
The rebuilt home – only the façade was spared – is bright, contemporary and filled with artwork, much of which Knowles purchased at the annual Toronto International Art Fair. His collection is included in a tour organized by the fair, which takes place at the city’s convention centre from Oct. 25 to 28.
Those touring his house can expect to see the works hanging in his kitchen, which Knowles designed to be his home’s centrepiece. “This is the third house I’ve built where the kitchen is at the centre of all the action,” he says of his favourite room. “Quite frankly, I’ve never understood why people would hide their kitchen in some corner of the house when it’s where everyone wants to hang out.”
“The design is purposefully very clean. I like that it’s very contemporary. But it’s also stained walnut, which, to me, echoes the moderne style, a very important movement in interior design.”
The light fixture
“This is an Elica fixture from Italy. It’s a combined light fixture and recirculating fan. The fan comes with micro-filters that pick up particles and steam from the cooktop below and the lights are built-in, which I think is very European and very smart.”
“It is more than 10 feet long and is covered by a single piece of granite. The built-in cupboards and drawers are clad in walnut. I use them to store my cutlery and dishware.”
The white sculpture
“This piece, called Sculptural Integrity, by the Canadian artist Brian Jungen, is made of reformulated plastic stools. I
purchased it from the Catriona Jeffries Gallery in Vancouver. The gallery regularly participates in the Toronto International Art Fair.”
“They are made from carved bleached oak. I got them at Designers Walk in Toronto. They are really stable and really comfortable. They also match the woodwork.”
The framed artwork
“This is Slumber, by the Vancouver artist Steven Shearer, who represented Canada at the 2011 Venice Biennale. It is a large-format collage of images of people sleeping but not lying down; they are arranged in a loose grid of contorted bodies and gaping mouths. I loved it the minute I saw it because of the infinite variety of the subjects and their expressions. It’s 125 inches by 80 inches and is heavier than heavy. I had to reinforce the wall to hang it.”
“The wood floor is an engineered white-oak product produced from trees on a sustainable plantation in Europe. I used it here because it works well with the heating system beneath the floor.”