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David Peres’ custom-made kitchen features a cozy fireplace

Adman David Peres spends a lot of his time pushing paper. But his real passion is hammering nails. His after-hours hobby is renovating houses: He already has six under his belt, including this one, located on leafy Cottingham Street in Toronto, where, with the help of architect Mahir Manios and interior designer Leila MacDonald at Schumacher Interior Designs, he gutted and rebuilt it.

The divorced dad shares the four-bedroom, five-bathroom house part-time with his two teenage daughters. During family gatherings, everyone tends to congregate in the custom-made kitchen, where there is plenty of natural light as well as a two-sided fireplace to keep things cozy in the colder months. "Given my Italian roots, I love to cook," the managing director of Toronto's Q2integrated advertising firm says, explaining why this room is his favourite. "I feel at peace here. It has plenty of space for entertaining – and homework."

The cookbooks

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"They're mostly Italian: David Rocco, Jamie Oliver and Marcella Hazan, whose Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking is my bible. Having grown up in an Italian household, my whole world is about food and recreating some of my family's favourites – a must for me and the girls."

The stove

"This is a Wolf six-burner, which I got at Tasco. It helps me make the perfect mushroom risotto every time while my daughters bake their favourites in the oven. The industrial design and performance is great, plus the signature red knobs add a splash of colour to an otherwise all-white space."

The island

"It's made from honed Calacatta marble and rift-cut white oak. The marble is from [Toronto's] Olympia Tile + Stone and the island was custombuilt by M C Woodworking in Bradford, Ont. I love it because it offers 10 feet of space where family and friends can gather around to cook and socialize. The honed texture of the marble adds a soft, warm texture."

The espresso machine

"It's a Saeco and I got it at Nella Cutlery [in Toronto]. I make my own cappuccino every morning. It's a simple daily comfort."

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The stools

"I got them at Su Casa Design [in Toronto]. They're clean, modern and really comfortable."

The refrigerator

"This 36-inch Sub-Zero is also from Tasco. It keeps my key ingredients at the proper temperature and has several separate compartments for proper food storage. It's also great-looking."

The floor

"It's made from rift-cut white oak that I found at Trafalgar Hardwood Floors [in Oakville, Ont.]. It's light, modern and has a feeling of warmth and sophistication."

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The fireplace

"I got this double-sided Montigo gas fireplace at Home Comfort Systems in Bolton, Ont. I love it because it creates warmth in both the kitchen and family room at the same time."

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