A Furniture Designer’s Renovated House Fits Her Family Like a Glove

updated Apr 30, 2019

A Furniture Designer’s Renovated House Fits Her Family Like a Glove

updated Apr 30, 2019
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Name: Kirsten White, Darcy Killeen and Brydie Killeen
Location: Dufferin Grove — Downtown Toronto
Size: 2,300 square feet
Years lived in: 16 years, owned

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It took over a decade for Kirsten and Darcy to begin their home renovations — other than a few fresh coats of paint. But when you’re a professional designer (and self-proclaimed perfectionist), “it was all worth the wait to achieve exactly what I had envisioned for the space,” explained Kirsten. Modern, bright and even a bit adventurous, this home oozes with creativity. In fact, it feels like an art gallery filled with some of Canada’s most talented artists and designers! The couple are actively involved in Toronto’s creative community, avidly supporting and proudly showcasing the work of their talented friends throughout their home, from the art on the walls to textiles on the sofa. Not to mention — much of the furniture was designed by Kirsten herself.

The home truly speaks to the personalities of its inhabitants. The design reflects the needs and lifestyle of each family member — space to work, play, create and entertain. With monochromatic schemes making up a lot of modern design color palettes these days, Kirsten wasn’t afraid to add warmth to her design by using orange as an accent color. Travel is also a big part of the family’s life, and memories of their journeys are present within the home.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Modern

Inspiration: I’m an industrial designer, so I love the modern classics, however we are also big travellers, so there are lots of eclectic touches. We are art lovers and collectors, and are fortunate to also have many talented artist friends. My husband is the Executive Director of the Contact Photography Festival, so in more recent years we’ve also started to collect photography.

Favorite Element: Unfortunately, it was the wrong time of year during the photo shoot — probably our backyard. Otherwise — it’s hard to pick! Our house fits us like a glove. Our kitchen is great to cook in, my office has a treetop view, and our bedroom is a oasis when the house is full of kids.

Biggest Challenge: Trying to live as minimally as I strive to (!!). Practically, having no proper front closet due to our typical downtown skinny semi-detached house is a challenge. Our most recent basement renovations address this, and work like a charm. Everything has its place with built-in shelving for overflow coats, camping gear and sports gear, as well as a large cedar closet for off-season clothes (not to mention — no more moths!)

What Friends Say: It reflects us. It’s modern, yet warm.

Biggest Embarrassment: Our dining room table. It’s made up of wood planks crudely assembled, which we found this way under our porch when we bought the place. It has nice character — but it’s the rickety wobbly base we hastily made out of 2x4s for a dinner party over 15 years that is shameful. It’s especially embarrassing because not only do I design furniture, I teach furniture design. I recently had a group of students over — and I cringed every time the table moved to and fro.

Proudest DIY: I did all the design for our renovations over three phases. We lived in the house for just over 10 years before doing anything beyond cosmetic (it’s amazing what you can do with paint) — so it works perfectly. As a designer I’m rather neurotic and detail focused; when designing the kitchen, I inventoried all of our things so everything would have a home. I did the same with our oodles of sports gear when I did the basement. (I even managed to carve out enough space for a micro-designated guest room, and a play room for my daughter.)

Biggest Indulgence: Our third floor bath tub and designated guest room —we have a lot of out-of-town guests (so much better than the pull out).

Best Advice: Live in a space before you renovate. Get to know exactly what you need.

Dream Sources: Friends and travel — it’s terrible to admit it, but I never look at design magazines. I suppose I did at a time, but I’d rather live it.


Eames Hang-It-all, designed by Ray and Charles Eames, purchased at Quasi Modo Toronto (we’ve had this so long most of the paint has chipped off the balls).
Tom Dixon, Copper Shade Pendant, purchased at Klaus warehouse sale

Stricto Sensu sofa, designed by Didier Gomez for Ligne Roset — Kisok Toronto
Red cushioned chairs — vintage
Orange cushions — Bev Hisey cushions
Coffee tables and side tables my design (once upon a time manufactured by Pure Design)
Dennis Lin mobile — Umomo

Encaustic paintings — Heidi Conrod
Ed Burtynsky photograph, (over the fire place)
Lynn Cohen Photograph, (adjacent to couch)
JP Love prints, (either side of the fireplace)
Ken Nicol drawing

Random pendant light designed by Bertjan Pot for Mooi, purchased at Klaus
Vintage Eames fiber glass side chairs
Various stainless steel sculptures — Ken Nicol
Black white with dot painting — Heidi Conrod
Nancy tong photo (small red)

On our Table Charcutterie boards
Ikea cabinets
Seamless Corian (colour glacier white) counter and window boxes
Baltic Birch plywood details

Ikea vanity
Mirror mounted Twiggy light — Eurolight
Cabano faucets

Modern Fan Co ceiling fan
Felt nesting chairs of my design (Kirsten White)
Componbili tabouret table, (by tub), design Anna Castelli Ferrieri for manufacturer Kartell, purchased at Neat

Lucellino NT light designed byIngo Maurer — Klaus

Thanks, Kirsten, Darcy and Brydie!

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