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Great Spaces: a filmmaker turns a former car repair shop into a killer bachelor pad

Great Spaces: Auto Focus

Robert Pilichowski’s family emigrated from Gdansk, Poland, in 1980, when he was eight years old. They settled in what was then Toronto’s Polish enclave, Roncesvalles Village, where they lived for a year before moving to the burbs. Pilichowski, now a photographer and documentary filmmaker, chose to return to his first Toronto ’hood when he was looking for a place of his own. He found a loft conversion that had once been an autobody repair shop and began dismantling unwanted elements—cheap laminate flooring, low-grade kitchen cabinetry, a squat toilet—in order to build his ultimate bachelor pad. His father, Roman, a former shipyard engineer in Poland who worked in factories in Canada, helped with much of the reno. Together, Robert and Roman tried to give the cavernous 2,600-square-foot space some personality. “I hate things that are generic or prefab,” says Robert. “I need things that have history, substance, character—pieces that make life a bit more cinematic.” The furnishings are mostly vintage, and the art is carefully curated. Pilichowski tried to preserve the repair shop vibe wherever possible. (He’s a self-professed gearhead who owns a 1963 Chevy Nova and a 1966 Honda motorcycle, which he parks in his living room.) He also kept the exposed brick and concrete floors, for which he’s found a great use—he often skateboards around the open space to unwind.

Great Spaces: Auto Focus

Number 1

The Glass blower David Thai made three of these asymmet­rical chandeliers for the loft. Pilich­owski’s dad, Roman, welded the steel angles and did the wiring.

Number 2

The bathtub is original to the building. Roman tiled the bathroom walls.

  • Tomas

    His father, Roman, a former shipyard engineer in Poland who worked in factories in Canada.

    Guess thats the way for majority of immigrants coming to CAN.

  • jen van der vecht

    Love it!

  • Methinks

    brilliant space!

  • Cm

    Beautiful space! Wish I had this guy’s dad!

  • Paul

    …to die for ! Amazing!!

  • Jsn

    Now this is a truly great space.

  • nicole

    tomas…curious? your point??

  • Jacqui

    Fantastic space…well done Roman and Robert!

  • Nicole

    nicole…seems obvious!

  • stella

    A truly artistic space better than most I have seen here and original as well. I think Tomas has issues with immigrants. Not exactly what this story is about. It is about father and son both obviously talented who use their skills to create beauty out of love of family. Nothing more than that.

  • Mike

    Very sharp and stylish–well done to both father and son.

  • WalterP

    Tomas, IMHO, might be referring to the fact that the skills and creativity of many immigrants are under utilized or completely ignored a fact Stella has missed or ignored for personal reasons.

  • stella

    why are you answering for Tomas, WalterP I don’t require snarky comments from your personal peanut gallery.

  • DrSchlater

    I never imagined that a formerly, cold industrial loft be transformed into this brilliant masterpiece. This HOME has more of a heart than any of those clean cut, prefab homes feature time and time again on TL. Congratulations to you two.

  • justasking

    I think its pretty clear that Tomas is saying that people who have very skilled and senior jobs in their native countries — like a shipyard engineer — end up in much lower paying and skilled jobs in ours — like working in a factory. If you have ever talked to immigrants you’ll find engineers, doctors, lawyers all driving cabs and delivering pizzas. Thats the point.

  • cat

    Love it…especially the use of tones

  • peachy

    ‘killer batchelor pad’. for once and for all this completely stupid descriptive needs to DIE a natural death as opposed to the numerous other kbp’s where many many people died less than naturally. ‘killer pad’, greatness? really?

  • Alex Rascanu

    Nice interior design skills. Turning a car repair shop into a livable space is a feat.