Soon after purchasing his 1950s detached brick home in Toronto's Leaside neighbourhood five years ago, Peter Neal – who co-owns, with his sibling Chris, Neal Brothers Foods, a food distribution, marketing and production company – commenced a full-out renovation that saw him tear down the old structure to rebuild a new one from the foundation up. The resulting new home, which he shares with his interior designer wife Lara and their three young daughters, has a rear addition accommodating a spacious 15-by-20-foot kitchen. Lara designed it herself, adding a six-burner stove and double ovens to enable her husband to test-drive and taste the fine foods and wines he and his brother have been importing and creating – among them their signature Neal Brothers kettle-style potato chips – since launching the company in their hometown of Aurora, Ont. 25 years ago. "This is where everything happens," Neal says of his favourite room in the house. "It's where family comes together to eat and drink and share good times."
The light fixture
"It's half steel, half glass. I love the orb, the circular shape. It's like the sun or the moon in the room."
"This was a second, a damaged piece, at [Toronto retailer] Elte. It was just sitting there and it was a pedestal table. I grew up with a pedestal table in my parents' kitchen, so I was immediately drawn to it."
"The chairs give lightness to the table and serve as a nice contrast to the darkness of the wood."
"I love this floor. Our first apartment had these large expanses of dark wood floor. We had our first baby in that apartment and this floor reminds me of that time. Man, it does show the dust, but I can't live without it."
The white island countertop
"It's marble or granite, I can't remember which. But I love the veining in it. Friends said it wasn't a good idea, that it would etch and show marks. But for me that's the beauty of it. It has watermarks and stains, but to me that shows that life has happened around it."
The espresso machine
"We are the brand manager and distributor in Eastern Canada of Kicking Horse Coffee, Canada's premium fair-trade coffee brand, and I use their Cliff Hanger Espresso everyday. So I need this machine. It's part of my routine."
"It's a very inexpensive Shaker-style cabinet, not ornate, which Lara had made."