His passion is unmistakable, and it's clear the work he has put into this elegant house on a quiet street in old Oakville has been very personal.
Ramsin Khachi is a well-respected builder, designer and CityLine television personality. You've probably seen him on the show dispensing practical and current design advice. It has taken him 14 months to change a rather desolate home into “as perfect a house as I can imagine.” And it is a house that speaks to everything that a modern family would want, with state of the art amenities and impeccable design.
Mostly the building process has been about attention to detail, and you notice that immediately. The house is not large but spread over six floors, it feels spacious. Light filled rooms illuminated by skylights are finished in tones of ivory, gray, brown and crisp white. If you love these colours, you won't be able to buy them just yet though. One of the Benjamin Moore colours ““ a complex grey tone with great depth ““ used in the formal dining room, will be launched in the newest fan deck of colours coming out soon. It hasn't even been named yet. (Ramsin Rain?)
Attention to detail is obvious as you enter the first level from the garage. Locks are biometric, triggered by thumbprint, an innovation that dispenses with rummaging for keys forever.
Small details were paid close attention. The central staircase treads, in quarter-sawn oak, like most of the floors throughout the house, are edged in a cove detail to match some of the ceiling treatments. The oak and metal railings were custom designed by Khachi and the curved shape in the metal detail begins a design motif that will be repeated throughout the house.
On the bottom floor, accessed from the garage, are the working parts of the house: a storage/craft room, home gym, wine cellar, furnace room and safe room, as well as an entertainment theatre and bathroom with shower.
The storage room is something every family needs with lots of room to tuck “stuff” away, but also portable cupboards on wheels with butcher block tops, ideal for craft work, a wrapping centre or sewing nook. The rubber floor makes for easy cleanup.
Down a few steps is the gym, a room that almost makes exercise a pleasure. Light flows in from a high window, there's a wall of floating mirrors with a television behind them, speakers for music and a vinyl floor to minimize impact. The glass doors are hung on hydraulic hinges to close automatically and silently.
Next to that is a custom designed wine room, with wood and stainless detail, climate controlled, with an insulated vapour barrier, a hidden chiller, and ““ a neat detail ““ a biometric lock.
“Smart design means that you turn obstacles into advantages,” Khachi explains. So a duct, that could have necessitated an awkward header, becomes an opportunity to design a graduated raised cove ceiling detail.
The home theatre is a departure from the usual rather commercial looking entertainment spaces. It is understated in soft browns and ivories, with comfortable sofas and a floor that steps down to allow for two tiered seating.
“I like to have my kids piled beside me when I watch a movie,” Khachi tells me. “We can all snuggle up, eat popcorn; it is a casual and comfortable room.” There's a microwave and fridge, with a Cambria quartz countertop for no maintenance. Khachi worked with Cambria to develop this countertop which mimics the look of marble, but won't stain or mark and doesn't need to be sealed regularly.
A “memorabilia wall” displays black and white vintage photographs. The lighting in this room has multiple possibilities. From ceiling lighting to sidelights and wall lights, all adjustable for flexibility. “Good design is about anticipating what people will need.”
Up a short run of stairs is the formal entrance hall and once again, attention is paid to detail. The classic sidelights are filled with water-seeded glass, so visitors can see in but perceive only indistinct shapes. The space is deliberately simple and open. Khachi moved a closet to the lower hall and enlarged it. “It made more space for coats and storage, and a couple of steps down from the front hall is not too far away. It made the foyer so much more open.”
There is a formal sitting room just off the foyer, with a high ceiling and plaster wall mouldings and mantle, with the repeated curved design details inspired by glass Khachi found in New York. The repeated design references are deliberate, part of the connections that make a house flow, that give it cohesion and continuity. “Don't be a magazine designer!” warns Khachi. “If you do one room like a picture you found in a magazine, then another like a different photo, you end up with discord instead of harmony.”
Step up next to the formal dining room with a feature wall that repeats the central design motif. The room is full of light from French windows that look out onto the patio with its reflecting pool.Khachi points out the sliding pocket doors between the dining room and the kitchen. They glide like silk and the hardware gleams. “I have used polished nickel Baldwin hardware on all the doors in the house because they are beautiful and they feel perfect in your hand. You touch these things every day ““ it's a detail that shouldn't be skimped.” The Hunter Douglas window blinds open and close silently by remote control.
The kitchen, with French doors to the patio, skylights and multiple windows is another light filled room, classic but contemporary. Walnut cabinets and panels hide a full sized fridge and freezer. There are two ovens, one a speed cook microwave and one a regular convection oven.
Again the details shine. Drawers and inserts are from Blum and they close silently and glide effortlessly. Khachi is a cook, so he understands kitchen design. There are two sinks, a built in disposal unit for wet waste, a six burner gas stovetop and the counters are made from the stainless, durable quartz from Cambria that looks like
As a backsplash behind the stove, dark natural marble is inset into the quartz in a pattern that mimics the curvilinear design from other rooms.
Over the window sink hang two gossamer-thin glass pendant lights. The skylights operate by remote control. A walnut table is built into the island for a more casual dining space. At the end of the room is another fireplace with marble inlays.
Just outside is the garden, though this is a garden that requires no maintenance at all. It is brick with inlays of artificial turf, with the feel of a formal French terrace. Six feet of the brick terrace just outside the kitchen are heated so there is clear access all winter to the built in barbeque. There is a formal seating area clustered around a firepit table, a dining area and the reflecting pool. A mirrored trellis gives depth to the yard. It's elegant without being intimidating.
A small powder room next to the kitchen is a perfect little space, built around the Brizo faucets that inspired the room, and then there is the mudroom with a dog washing area (or furnace filter washing, dirty boot rinsing, whatever requires a messy cleanup area) with glass tile, Hansgrohe Axor faucet and a linear drain.
Khachi put lots of attention into assuring the area was waterproof. “If you do things right you don''t have to go back and fix them later. This bath area is totally waterproof and the floor is heated to dry up any moisture and prevent mildew.” Large closets provide storage. Up another short rise of stairs is a high ceilinged room that can function as a home office, as Khachi has furnished it, or that could become an extra bedroom. Next to that is the master suite, with a complete wall of built in cupboards, with a sliding ladder to provide access to the high shelves, and a television that disappears into the ceiling at the touch of a button. Up a few more stairs is the walk-in closet and master bath, a serene space dominated by Carrera marble, all in tones of cream, white and grey, with sparkly accents added by polished nickel sconces with black shades and a spectacular chandelier over the slipper tub. Small inset black floor tiles echo the black shades. Skylights again add light.
The marble clad shower has a shaving mirror and television screen, Axor steam shower and steam rain showerhead, heated floors and a marble linear drain.
Another large bathroom with a glass tiled shower and heated porcelain floor plus two smaller bedrooms complete this level. Even here, details like lights on timers in the closets, and nightlights built into each wallplug in the hall show the attention to detail.
Khachi knew this was the house he wanted to redesign the minute he walked into it. He had a vision of how it would evolve and was determined to bring it to actuality. But he wanted it to be a home that would be functional as well as beautiful.
“It's not about all the junk you can throw at a house. It is about design and quality and function. In this house, I did the things that I wanted to do and for me, it is as close to perfect as a house can be. It is not about endless money. People today want space tailored to their lives ““ practical, and simple. I think it's beautiful, but it wasn't about that. It was about function and quality, about good design.”