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Design Ideas from 10 Fresh, Real-Life Dining Rooms

From Leslieville to Parkdale, here are ten of the city’s most inspiring dining rooms


1 Contrast traditional and contemporary elements. A vintage-loving Bay Streeter enlisted designer Alison Milne to create this moody, masculine space. In the dining room, bookshelf-print wallpaper delivers the English-manor look without the fuss and dust, while the custom table mixes an industrial-style top with ornate legs.


2 Ban technology. Designer Joel Gregorio, who lives above his graphic design studio, designates the Dundas West building’s upstairs living space a “laptop-free zone.” His dining room (really a nook that doesn’t feel cramped) includes a round table for four, and an eclectic collection of artwork by friends.


3 Keep the kitchen within arm’s reach. Heather Dubbeldam renovated a row house in the Annex to create a serene space for a doctor looking to entertain. On the first floor, a conjoined kitchen island/dining table runs parallel to wall-mounted, full-length cabinetry.



Invest in classic seating. The dining room in industrial designer Tom Deacon’s masterful penthouse offers a spectacular view of the downtown core. A collection of Hans Wegner’s iconic Wishbone chairs are seated at a rustic dining table from Restoration Hardware.


5 Add a centrepiece. Guido Costantino designed a wall of thin wooden dividers to separate the staircase from the dining room in this modernized Roncesvalles home. A terrarium from Crown Flora delivers a hit of greenery.


6 Use sculptural ceilings to create drama. Space unfolds in unexpected geometries throughout the paper-white interior of this Kensington Market home, dubbed the Origami House. In keeping with Graham’s obsession with “ceiling-scapes,” what’s above is as well considered as what’s on the floor and walls.


7 Give pride of place to a favourite artwork. After buying a dingy rooming house in Brockton, Dylan Horvath set out to create a bright family space. He started by tearing out the walls that divided the main floor into small, useless spaces, and enlisted architect Wanda Ely to help him realize his vision. The result: an open-concept layout perfect for a busy family. The dining room pairs a Restoration Hardware table with Eames-inspired chairs.


8 Play up historic details. Rather than ripping the heart out of the 70-year-old home they moved into on Tyrrel Avenue, graphic designers Glenda Rissman and Derwyn Goodall kept it more or less intact; highlighting a few period elements. The duo painted the archway between the living and dining rooms white, a colour that pops against the slate grey walls and perfectly frames views of each room.


Anticipate crayons. Jo Arnott and Clay Rochemont found this library table – with gum still stuck to the underside – at Machineage Modern, and when their kids doodle over the repainted white surface no one bats an eye. The dotted silkscreen by Beejoir is one of many limited edition post-graffiti prints hung on the walls of their Leslieville home.


10 Go custom. Set stylist Alanna Davey and contractor Phil DeBarros fastidiously mapped out every detail of their Parkdale abode. This bespoke dining table-on-wheels is made of La Pietra marble and hot-rolled steel.

Categories: Spaces

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