Home is where the art is // Going In-House

Wondering what a modern Renaissance couple looks like? Walk through these doors

By Simon Wallace

On Thursday March 15th, 2012

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Sandy Forbes and Stephen Grant live the ultimate sophisticated life. Their North Toronto home is a worldly space filled with art, wine, food and, surprisingly, baseball paraphernalia. Each room bursts with creative energy and reveals evidence of the couple’s eclectic interests.

Going In-House: Sandy Forbes & Stephen Grant

Firms: Sandy: Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP; Stephen: Grant & Sadvari
Areas of practice: Sandy: Commercial Litigation; Stephen: Family Law and ADR
Years of call: Sandy: 1992; Stephen: 1975
Home location: Avenue and Lawrence, Toronto
Building profile: Five-bedroom, 4,000 sq. ft. home custom built in 1999


 Life of the party: The dining room is central to the couple’s busy social calendar. “Entertaining our friends is an important part of our life,” says Sandy. “We wanted a really modern space, but it also needed to be warm and a great showroom for our art.”

 

 

 Lucky lot: Instead of building a house from scratch, Sandy and Stephen purchased a work in progress from a friend who decided to live elsewhere at the last minute. They made a few changes to the design before construction began and moved into their home in under a year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Cultural curators: Shortly after Sandy and Stephen married in 1999 they began to collect art. Like most things in the house, the pieces are a mixture of Canadian and French culture. The two try to visit Paris at least once a year and sometimes bring back work by French artists. But their philosophy for collecting is, above all else, personal: “Both of us have to absolutely love it if we’re going to buy it, whether it’s two dollars or thousands,” Sandy says.

 

 

 

 

 Office space: It’s hard to keep track of everything Stephen is into — along with wine and food, there are movies, painting and baseball — but you can find clues in his well-adorned office. How does he find time for his numerous passions? “You have to keep busy; it’s the best way to stay productive.”

 

 

 

 Say cheese: Among the house’s numerous paintings and movie posters sit pictures of family members, portraits from the couple’s wedding and travel photos. “Family is incredibly important to us,” says Sandy, “and we like to keep them close.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Wine pairing: How many homes do you know with a wine cellar? Check that, how many do you know that have two wine cellars? Stephen has been collecting wine for years but somewhere along the way realized that of all the grapes and regions out there he preferred one: red Burgundy. One cellar is devoted entirely to the French red and the other is for everything else.

 

 

 Bookworms: Stacks of books are everywhere, ranging from lighter reading (like the cookbooks pictured here) to the more academic. The couple teaches a course in advanced advocacy together at U of T Law School. Stephen also edits The Advocates’ Journal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Compliments to the chef: The sleek appliances give it away — this kitchen means business. During the construction of the house, Stephen made sure it would be a functional space for his culinary escapades. However, he refuses to cook any of his masterpieces twice. Sandy and dinner guests complain that they never get to develop favourites.

 

 

 

 Visitors welcome: The guest room linens were designed by friend Kelly Driscoll and complement the contemporary feel of the space.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Photography by Nancy Tong