In the summer of 2016, Ted Marrocco, a partner at Stockwoods LLP, called up his cousin Taiga Lipson with an urgent request: could she help him redecorate his home? Marrocco had recently separated from his wife, and while he’d gotten to keep the house — a two-storey detached unit in Toronto’s Danforth Village — he had no idea what to do with it.
Marrocco knew that his cousin had style. Lipson is the granddaughter of Olga Korper, an esteemed Toronto art dealer. She’s the director of Korper’s storied west-end gallery, and an art dealer herself. “I said, ‘Taiga, you need to drop whatever you’re doing and come over,’” recalls Marrocco. She showed up that evening, at his half-empty house, with a notebook and a bottle of whisky.
Marrocco is a litigator known for taking tough cases, so Lipson felt like his home should be a sanctuary, a place where he can unwind from his busy work life. She decided to paint the walls cloud grey, a clean colour that changes in the light. For the furnishings, she favoured both classicism and comfort. She had his suite of vintage dining chairs buffed and reupholstered, and then she found a sprawling, super-comfortable sectional to go in front of the 4K screen in the basement theatre.
Curating the artwork presented a particular challenge. “Ted’s colour-blind,” says Lipson. “I wanted art with strange themes and textures.” In her grandmother’s collection, she found surreal photographs and oil paintings with thick impasto.
Before the redesign, Marrocco and his cousin weren’t terribly close. “But it’s impossible not to become really good friends when you’re having that much fun,” says Marrocco. He and Lipson not only decorated his home; they have built a lifelong friendship. “When, two years later, my husband and I separated, I moved in with Ted for a while,” says Lipson. “It wasn’t even a discussion. He was like, ‘Your bedroom is ready for you.’” Once again, she brought the whisky.
This story is from our Winter 2019 Issue.
Photography by Jason Gordon