Name: Ralph, Michelle and Family
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Size: 4 BR Home
Years lived in: 5
Ralph and Michelle are modern design enthusiasts - they live in a big, beautiful, light and bright home in Toronto that is firmly contemporary in its decor and even more firmly family friendly. This is home to many Montemurros - Ralph, Michelle and their four kids. This intersection of design and children is not only a way of life at home...
...it is also the family business. Ralph and Michelle are the couple behind the Monte Design Group, makers of modern nursery furniture. Having a big, built-in "testing team" certainly can't hurt with design decisions for their work, but they manage to keep the balance of kid-friendly casualness and grown up design intact at home. A real sense of calm and spareness exists in this recently built house, along with plenty of room to grow and the idea that when it comes to the number of chairs around the family dinner table, sometimes bigger really can be better!
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Our style: Modern (at least that's what we strive for), and streamlined, yet comfortable and warm
Inspiration: Our architects- Gianonne Petricone Associates. They helped us with everything from design, to millwork, to paint colors.
Favorite Element: It's a very family friendly home. With lots of open spaces, the flow encourages togetherness while maintaining 'away spaces' such as the kids play room off the kitchen
Biggest Challenge: Having tradesmen who were used to building traditional homes. It took a lot of explaining for them to try to get the streamlined aesthetic.
What Friends Say: They can't believe the lack of clutter- especially with 4 kids
Biggest Embarrassment: We can't get the lock on our main floor bathroom to work...not so cool during dinner parties
Proudest DIY: Having my own upholstery shop comes in handy- I salvaged a few 30 year old club chairs from the priests' residence of my high school and re-covered them.
Also, before I started Monte Design, my wife Michelle and I couldn't find a sectional sofa we liked, so we got one from Ikea, and had stainless steel trim and legs made for it. What most sofa manufactures don't realize is that the legs of the chair or sofa are extremely important to the design- it's like the shoes for the outfit; the shoes can make or break the look.
Biggest Indulgence: The lighting- it's artwork for our ceilings
Best advice: "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful"- William Morris (1880)
Dream source: I Saloni furniture show in Milan
Lighting: Artimede, moooi, george nelson, verner panton, foscarini, sistemalux.com, gabrielross.com
Kitchen and bath cabinets: www.downsviewkitchens.com
All stone, granite, marble, tiles: www.ciot.com
Paint: Ben Moore
Appliances: Viking- www.morleysappliances.com
Kitchen Chairs: Stua's Gas chair- kioskdesign.ca
Bathroom Fixtures: Zuchetti faucets www.natfil.com
Master bedroom furniture: custom made by cabinetfurniture.ca
(Thanks, Ralph & Michelle!)
Images: via Ralph & Michelle