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Touring the Home of a Design Insider

Avenue Road Founder Stephan Weishaupt shows us his understated style.


Stephan Weishaupt is rarely off-duty. As the Toronto-based founder of Avenue Road—a go-to multiline design showroom that has made its mark over the last decade—Weishaupt doesn’t escape one reality for another. “There aren’t any lines between work and home in a sense,” he says. Running the retail, product, and interiors studios of Avenue Road adds to that blurred effect. “The residences are really great applications of our Total Concept approach that brings all elements we provide together—from architectural lighting to art.”

Being in the business of design, Weishaupt is a natural curator. He exercised that enviable decisiveness for his own home. While some of us suffer the inertia of too many options in real estate, furniture, and even dating, he is the opposite. “I was initially thinking of moving into a larger home, and I realized that it wasn’t really what I wanted or needed,” he says. “What was more interesting to me was to work with the artisans I collaborate with at Avenue Road. I wanted to focus on the details to refine a home I already love.”

Avenue Road specializes in contemporary design, which makes Weishaupt’s love affair with his four-story Victorian a surprise. He was drawn to the property’s indomitable stateliness. “I loved the elegant Edwardian lines and the intimacy of the layout,” he says. Being in a great neighborhood didn’t hurt, either. Toronto’s Cabbagetown, with its rows of Edwardian and Victorian houses, delivers a laid-back, low-key vibe in the middle Toronto’s hustle. (The area derives its name from the Irish immigrants who grew cabbage in their front yards.)

Even though the structure was in a rough state, Weishaupt persevered, creating a quietly cool design concept that blended history and modernity without any bombastic look-at-me moves. He mastered the mix, pairing special materials with stellar furnishings—most from Avenue Road (an occupational advantage). Every piece from the showroom was considered—the result of an editing process that took him into the custom realm he often creates for his clients. “I really focused on bespoke creations with this house. I wanted to allow our long-standing collaborators to demonstrate how far their talents could be taken with their collections,” Weishaupt says.

He didn’t want to do a direct copy of his showrooms. “I wanted something urban and tailored that had a rich and moody atmosphere,” says Weishaupt of the mood he created. “I focused on metallics and softer colors, with a focus on the details instead of loud or aggressive features or avant-garde designs.” From his well-vetted trove, there are Park Place bar stools from award-winning design firm Yabu Pushelberg in the living room, the iconic Metropolitan chandelier by Austrian company Lobmeyr in the dining room (the design also happens to be in the Metropolitan Opera of New York), and a killer mahogany soaking tub by Nina Mair in the master bath.

The town house’s open floor plan on the main level not only softened certain architectural formalities of the past, but it also gave Weishaupt room to entertain—a must for him. The kitchen, the host’s domain, is a testament to warm minimalism, featuring custom brushed oak cabinetry with teal-colored interiors (boom!) and large slabs of leathered marble from Sydney. The company Obumex also fashioned large sliding slabs to enclose the shelving and keep the no-sweat vibe when guests pour in.

The second floor delves into a darker, moodier palette with space for a guest bed and bath, an office, and a sleek media room, featuring a sultry wall-to-wall sofa in plush fabric and rich eucalyptus wood paneling. He also fashioned a gallery wall, where his art collection is paired with vintage chairs. What’s more, his collections hold sentimental meaning. “My grandmother was a mid-century design enthusiast, and she put away funds for us to purchase something that reminded us of her when she was gone. I purchased the Arne Jacobsen Egg Chair, and it’s one thing that has stayed with me for years as everything around it changes,” he says.

For his spacious master retreat, he claimed the top level. One major standout is the made-to-measure Obumex closet. While the brushed oak exterior appears stylishly subdued, the interior is dressed in terra-cotta leather with LED lighting that reflects on the surface of his packing table—it’s the kind of crafted touch he appreciates, especially when it comes to creating personalized interiors. “The custom kitchen and master closet by Obumex are spectacular,” says Weishaupt. “Your imagination is really the only limitation, as everything down to the power outlets crafted in marble is bespoke.”

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