Inside a lawyer couple’s one-bedroom condo // Going In-House
On Tuesday March 2nd, 2021Print
On Tuesday March 2nd, 2021Print
In the spring of 2018, Jenna and Kai Kramer moved into a 42nd-floor condo in the heart of downtown Toronto. The couple instantly fell in love with the spectacular views of the skyline afforded by its northeast-facing floor-to-ceiling windows. As in most condos, the square footage was limited, but for this hard-working, travel-loving couple it was enough.
Then the coronavirus pandemic arrived. Suddenly, their modest unit became not just a home, but an office, a yoga studio and a bakery test kitchen. “Like most people, we were completely unprepared to both be working from home full time,” says Jenna. “We had to get creative.”
For the first six months, they worked together in the condo’s light-filled solarium, but competing conference calls necessitated creating a second office space in the home’s dining room. The work-at-home setup was completed with the addition of a French bulldog puppy, named Patrick, who the couple brought home last spring. He earns his kibble by providing emotional support between Zoom meetings.
Jenna, who is from Saskatchewan, and Kai, who grew up in Zimbabwe, met in 2016 as summer students at Fasken. “We didn’t particularly get along initially,” admits Jenna. “But by the time we returned to the firm for articling, we were inseparable.” During the break between articling and starting as associates, the couple embarked on a three-month world tour, with stops in half a dozen European countries and sojourns in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines. “Our friends thought we were crazy, but we came home closer than ever,” says Jenna. To Kai, the moral of the story is clear: “Find your crazy and embrace it!”
From that point on, life moved fast. In 2018, they moved into the condo together and, the next year, they got engaged in Malawi, en route to Zimbabwe. During the pandemic, they both left Fasken to take in-house positions, with Jenna joining Unilever and Kai moving to MongoDB, a high-growth tech company. In May 2020, the pair were married at a 10-person ceremony in a friend’s backyard.
As a reflection of their diverse backgrounds, creative passions and travels, the home’s decor is quirky and energetic. Antiques collected from Queen West boutiques share space with wood carvings from Zimbabwe. “It was really important for us to have cultural touchpoints for me because Canada isn’t my ancestral home,” says Kai. The kitchen was important, too, for the pair of enthusiastic foodies. “Lately, I’ve been assembling a different type of bread dough every Friday night,” says Jenna, “so that we have fresh focaccia or cinnamon rolls on Saturday mornings.”
The couple is looking forward to resuming a busy schedule of hosting dinners, brunches and game nights as soon as circumstances allow. In the meantime, they’re happy to continue working and hanging out at home. All while admiring the stunning views of downtown skyscrapers. “It’s particularly spectacular at night,” says Jenna. “We’ve lived here for almost three years, and the view is still a novelty to us.”
This is a story from our Spring 2021 Issue.
Photography by May Truong.