Standing in his clean white kitchen doling out espressos and jovially telling dinner party stories, Ramsin Khachi is truly in his element. He’s friendly, charming, funny and super welcoming into his abode — the same way he appears when he’s talking all-things home construction and decor as a design expert on “The Marilyn Denis Show.”
If you’ve seen Khachi’s work on TV, you know he exudes style — he has a classic, elegant aesthetic that has made him a sought-after designer in the Greater Toronto Area for nearly 30 years. (He’s the principal designer and owner of Khachi Design Group in Oakville, Ont.) It’s certainly not surprising, then, that his own home is beautiful and immaculate, and there isn’t a detail he hasn’t carefully considered. “You can throw a ton of money at a space and just buy everything, but that’s too easy,” he says. “There’s a different kind of pride you feel in a room that you took care and time to create.”
His attention to every part of decor — from fabric texture to furniture placement — is evident from the moment you step into the foyer of his 3,700-square-foot townhome in Oakville, Ont., where he lives with his two kids, Brianna, 21, and Dane, 19. “I want people to walk in and say, ‘Wow, look at that detail!’” he says. “I design every element and piece individually. People tend to design big-picture, based on ideas they see, but I think that’s the wrong way to do it.”
Khachi isn’t known to stay in one place too long (he constantly has new ideas and is inspired by new spaces), but he admits that this could be the home that’s hard to move on from. He bought the three-bedroom townhome as a new build three years ago as an investment, but also as comfortable base for his kids. “I love the room sizes. It’s a townhouse but it doesn’t feel like it. It’s been well compartmentalized but it also has flow,” he says, adding the large rooms and high ceilings add a feeling of spaciousness. He had initially wanted a “white house — like a gallery,” but once he started infusing colour and selecting pieces, he changed course.
IT’S IN THE DETAILS
Personal details are just as important in the kitchen, which is adjacent to the living room. He’s a fan of entertaining and vegan cooking, so appliances and prepping space was important in his planning. “My appliances suit what I need. Between the double ovens (one is steam), I can pretty much cook anything.” (Incidentally, he says he prefers induction cooktops to gas or electric because they’re super easy to clean.) His fridge is built-in behind matching cabinetry, and the large island offers plenty of room as a food-prep area and cleaning station. A strategically placed built-in colander makes washing fresh produce a cinch. “Those are the little details that matter a lot,” he says.
When you spend your time perfecting living spaces for other people, it can be easy to get caught up in the details of your own home projects. Khachi’s not immune. His main living room is the perfect example — it’s full of details that act as conversation pieces. A favourite of Khachi’s is his wall art. On a white backdrop behind a lush, velvet blue sofa hangs three ink drawings — portraits of Brianna on the right, Dane on the left and Khachi in the middle. He commissioned them after seeing similar statement art in his travels. “I thought it would be cool to have an abstract of me and my kids. I had the artist go through several revisions until the portraits were exactly what I wanted,” he says. “I was thrilled with the end result and I think the kids were, too.
They’ve always shown interest in my design ideas at home, especially Brianna. She has an interest and a flair for design and had a great deal to do with the design of her own room.” Other eye-catching vignettes that exude his style — like a collection of his favourite treasures, including a gramophone, an old bible and a mantel clock — are also on display throughout the house.
A detail that definitely doesn’t go unnoticed is his wine wall, which functions as both an interesting feature wall and inspiring storage. “I’m not a wine collector and I’m not into cellars. For me, wine is something you should drink,” he says. “I think you should put it where you can see it and drink it.”
Personalized art makes another appearance in the den, which Khachi’s outfitted in sharp contrasts of white and black. The wall behind the couch is covered in chalkboard paint and he’s put up a small gallery of meaningful family photos. “They are snapshots of special people in my life that keep me grounded. I have pictures of my parents, one of me on my bike — I raced motocross for decades, the rest are pictures of my kids,” he says. “The dates of the images are hand written under each. There’s nothing more satisfying than glancing at moments in your past that defined who you have become.”
While he carries plenty of white throughout the two-storey home, the master suite brings in colour and texture, starting with the wallpaper. “It is the perfect amount of texture that creates a balance between all of the other textures in the room without stealing the show.” Khachi opted to keep the space really simple and relaxing — a bed, bench dresser and side chair keeps things uncluttered. “You don’t see anything you don’t want to see,” he says.
Dane’s bedroom was pretty much designed-to-order — “he’s very easygoing. His only comment was, ‘I like Muskoka and a rustic feel, Dad.’ So I did wood furniture, brown leather and fabric sling chairs with Muskoka Lake art. It’s a guys’ room.” Brianna, on the other hand, had a lengthy wish list. She ended up with a grey-pink room, matte white dresser, chairs with a gold metal frame covered in faux shearling and a Persian rug. “It’s beautiful and whimsical — definitely Brianna.
“With clients, I look at their personalities, lifestyles and everything about how they live. I get a picture in my head of what their environment needs to be. When it comes to your own home, it’s tough to evaluate yourself that way,” he says. It’s hard to believe, since his home is all about clean style with a contemporary-yet-classic feel — exactly what Khachi had in mind for this abode.