Toronto Life - The Goods

A compendium of the latest store openings, hottest parties and runway shows and all the buzzy fashion gossip. Sign up for the Style newsletter for weekly updates



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.