A corporate couple’s cozy Cabbagetown Victorian revolves around family
Going In House: Marc Kemerer
- Firm: Blaney McMurtry LLP
- Areas of Practice: Municipal, planning and environmental law
- Year of Call: 1995
- Home Location: Cabbagetown, Toronto
- Building Profile: Three-bedroom Victorian row house, 2,500 sq. ft. with unfinished basement, built in the 1880s
Some people have a family room; Marc Kemerer and Troy Dunn have a family home. Sure, there’s a room dedicated to play and TV time, but when the couple gave Precedent a tour of their 100-year-old-plus Cabbagetown row house (their three children, Brooke, 8, Isabella, 2, and Saxon, nine months, and pets in tow), the intermingling of toys and artwork revealed a lived-in, lively house with modern style.
A picture of family: Marc (right) and Troy spend as much time as possible with their children. “Around the house our favourite activity is to put on some high-energy music and dance,” Marc says. But they spend a lot of time out on the street, too. “When we moved onto the street there were only three families with kids, now there are eight!” says Troy. “The people are by far what make the street so special and why we won’t leave!”
A special spot: When Marc and Troy married in June of 2008, they wanted an intimate celebration with immediate family. The backyard was torn up so they used the upper deck off the third-floor master bedroom for the ceremony. “Brooke’s cousins were the flower girls and she was the ring bearer. She told us it was the best day of her life, up until the birth of her sister,” Marc says.
The perfect setup: With three kids, it’s easier to entertain at home — so the couple throws dinner parties often. Marc cooks and Troy sets the table. “Very few of my friends have seen the same table setting twice,” adds Troy. “I could never admit, even to Marc, how many unique dish sets, table clothes and other stuff I’ve got hidden all over the house.”
His and his sinks: Marc and Troy have twin spring green sinks in their bathroom, which Troy (an online shopaholic and regional director for Apple Inc.) had imported from England. “To me, they are one of the most beautiful things in the house,” he says. “They cost a small fortune but they make me happy in the morning.” Because they wake up at different times and Troy is away on business a lot, they usually use the same sink.
Kitchen confidential: Nearly three-quarters of the house has been torn down and renovated since they bought it four years ago. The rebuilt kitchen is exactly what they wanted, complete with radiant flooring and a large island. “It’s the central hub of activity, a great place to bring people together,” says Marc. “Even my dad, a hardcore outdoorsman, never wants to leave the kitchen because of the heated floors.”
Sister act: Despite a six-year age difference, Brooke and Isabella love sharing a room. “When we were decorating,” Marc says, “we asked Brooke what she would like in her room, and she said three things: a disco ball, a rainbow and a panda.” So that’s what she got. A disco ball hangs near the window, and the panda and rainbow are part of the closet mural.
Reference material: Marc keeps his law texts on his desk in the family room, beside his laptop for quick consultation. “Marc is always working on something,” says Troy, “but what I love about him is that he waits until the kids are asleep before he opens his books.”
A place to unwind: The second-floor family room is the go-to room when the weather outside is crappy. The exposed brick wall and Pottery Barn rug make the room cozy. After 11 p.m., Marc and Troy settle in here to watch TV or catch up on emails. “To be a successful lawyer you have to work long hours, but that’s difficult with three kids,” Marc says. “So you have to be very efficient and focused at work. There isn’t a lot of downtime, or personal time.”
Creative generations: Marc comes from a long line of artists, and the house is filled with their art, including 12 paintings that Marc calls “Nana Moore Originals.” Painted at the family cottage on Lake Erie, and on camping trips to Georgian Bay, they give a burst of colour to the second-floor hallway.
Photography by Nancy Tong