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Stacklab Founder Jeffrey Forrest’s Eclectic Roncesvalles Loft

Is it a conventional home? No, but then again, that’s never been the Stacklab founder’s style

By Designlines
Photography by Patrick Biller

For fans of Stacklab, it should come as no surprise that its founder, Jeffrey Forrest, lives in an unconventional home. There’s the building itself – a dairy depot-turned-mechanic’s-garage-turned-loft. There are unique design decisions – there’s a clawfoot bathtub beside the bed and a neon swear word sign in the living room. There are even subtle atmospheric touches – Forrest, a fan of “dark done well,” has resisted the usual impulse to maximize natural light. Add to all that prototype, antique, vintage and Stacklab-designed furniture and decor, and you have a compelling home that defies easy characterization.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity

Stacklab founder Jeffrey Forrest home
Both the diamond plate steel floor and bannister existed upon purchase. The accent chair is from Stacklab’s Felt collection, while the vintage chandelier is from Sam the Chandelier Man. The handsome Great Dane guarding the place? That’d be Charles.

Designlines: Who lives with you?

Jeffrey Forrest: I live with my wife, Jessica Nahmias, who is a television writer, producer, director and showrunner, and Charles, my Great Dane.

Stacklab founder Jeffrey Forrest
Forrest mingles new, vintage and Stacklab-designed pieces. The pair of concrete sculptures are proofs of Type D (left) and Type C from Stacklab’s Cube series, while the side table is a proof of their cast iron, bronze-tipped Garrison 1-51. The sofa is custom, while the lounge chair, a gift from Forrest’s first design client, is vintage. The neon sign is a commission by Thrush Holmes (whose home we also featured).

Designlines: Where is your home located and how long have you lived there?

Jeffrey Forrest: We’ve lived in Roncesvalles since January 2019. My home brings me great delight: I use it as a space to experiment with ideas, and it’s my personal gallery. I have a collection of personal prototypes and works from my peers and heroes that I’ve been lucky enough to acquire or trade. It is a place my wife Jessica and I use to express ourselves as well as share ideas with anyone who will join us. We love to entertain.

For fun, Forrest and his wife placed a vintage clawfoot bathtub in the main bedroom. Both the mirror, purchased from The Door Store, and fixtures are vintage, while the polished bronze side table is Stacklab’s Garrison 103-133.

Designlines: How old is the home, and what made you fall in love with it?

Jeffrey Forrest: Our home is a former dairy depot-turned-mechanic’s-garage-turned loft. It was built in the 1800s, and its history is what made us fall in love with it. It’s because it’s so open that it’s possible to experiment. Jessica bought me a vintage clawfoot tub for my 35th birthday that we installed beside our bed for fun. Aside from stripping it bare and redoing the electrical, we haven’t changed the building too much, but we’re planning on eventually renovating it to accommodate a family.

The accent chair is a family heirloom, while the chandelier, from Sam the Chandelier Man, is vintage. The large photograph is by Melinda Dahl, while the others are family photos. The sliding doors opposite the bed existed upon purchase.

Designlines: What are some of your favourite aspects of the home?

Jeffrey Forrest: There are a lot of things I appreciate about our home. It’s tucked far away from the street and feels hidden from the rest of the world. There is plenty of outdoor space. Its layout creates pockets of both intense natural light and dark spaces that enable me to nurture my love of moody ‘80s-style decor. Natural light is beautiful, but dark done well is incredible.

Stacklab founder Jeffrey Forrest
The chairs are both heirlooms, while the vintage chandelier is from Sam the Chandelier Man. The floor lamp is a prototype of Partisans‘ Gweilo collection. The table, featuring polished bronze legs and cast acrylic surface, is part of Stacklab’s Jupiter collection.

Designlines: What changes would you like to make to your living environment?

Jeffrey Forrest: In the short term, we’ll continue to use the space as a creative outlet. In the long term, we’re thinking about family. The pandemic definitely has us exploring how to best transform public areas into semi-private areas using modular solutions.

The pandemic has also reinforced my belief that we find joy in spaces where every detail is considered. I see a growing importance with surrounding ourselves with things we cherish. Having those things around us can make us feel like we’re with family and friends, even when we’re alone.

The vintage desk was Forrest’s first purchase after moving to Toronto, while the task lamp was a gift from his parents. The Triangle stool is the first prototype from Stacklab’s Felt collection and was acquired by Salon Design in Boston. The vase is from Belgian studio LMBRJK‘s Trilip series.

Designlines: Creativity and business wise, what strides were you able to make during the enforced time off?

Jeffrey Forrest: As a business owner and entrepreneur, most of my time was spent figuring out how to survive. I was set up with three monitors working for 14 hours a day to keep things going. It was challenging but exhilarating. Forced innovation sometimes is the most effective, and I would say the situation ultimately accelerated what would have normally taken years.


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