Peter Fallico is no stranger to space-saving concerns. As a furniture-design graduate and the host of Home To Go and cohost of This Small Space, both on HGTV, Peter makes a living solving design dilemmas. However, the true test of his abilities came recently during the final stage of renovating his 850-square-foot one-bedroom flat located on the main floor and in the basement of his 1930s Toronto triplex. The challenge: combining the functions and sensibilities of a home office and a dining room in one 10- by 11-foot space.
From the start, Peter aimed to uphold the room's classic, clean-cut charm dictated by its original cast-stone fireplace. "I wanted the space to be viewed as a sophisticated dining room, not to scream office," he says. "I also wanted it to maintain a masculine library feel."
Since the techy look of a computer didn't mesh with Peter's elegant vision, he came up with the ultimate solution: a hideaway home office and storage area concealed within a handsome wall-to-wall built-in cabinet. "It killed two birds with one stone," says Peter, who also planned to use the cabinet for storing china and table linens.
Keeping in mind all the things the unit had to accommodate, Peter ordered a set of stock cabinets from Merillat, a cabinet manufacturer. Once delivered, he assembled the upper and lower cabinetry, then added the crowning glory -- a slab of grey-and-white Carrara marble that serves as a counter/desktop. "Because the cabinetry is made of cherrywood, I was concerned about the room looking too dark and heavy," says Peter. "That's why I offset it with the light-colour marble – it adds a very classic look. The glass cabinet doors also help lighten the load."
To further maintain an open, airy feeling, Peter limited the room's palette to neutral hues, including oatmeal for the dining chair fabric and taupe grey for the walls. And the cherrywood cabinet, mahogany dining table and walnut floors all contribute to the room's appeal. "They're different woods but work well together because they're all the same tone," he says.
Though the room's focal point is the inviting round dining table paired with a glass chandelier, Peter has yet to use the space for formal dining. In the meantime, he's happy to have the table serve him in another capacity. "It's great for doing paperwork," he says.