Jason Halter and Anita Matusevics met in architecture school at U of T 25 years ago. They got married, had two kids and landed jobs as designers at Bruce Mau’s office, collaborating with the likes of Frank Gehry and Rem Koolhaas. For the past decade, the couple have been strictly freelance, and their work has taken them to places like Italy and Africa. During their travels, they accumulated a startling collection of art—Picassos, Burtynskys, Basquiats—and designer furniture, which is showcased in their 3,300-square-foot Edwardian house near Avenue and St. Clair. The house had been given a mediocre renovation in the ’90s, so when they bought it in 2005, they gutted it with the help of Halter’s old friend John Shnier of Kohn Shnier Architects. There’s now a sleek galley kitchen with slate floors, a master bath with a shower that has a skylight (one day they hope to add a retractable skylight for showering in the rain), and a surprisingly large basement office where Halter and Matusevics do most of their work. Halter’s latest venture was inspired by the house. He and his tree biologist brother, Reese (who’s crashing in the sunroom for a while), are collaborating on water-efficient and bee-sensitive landscaping. Why? People keep knocking on the door to ask who designed their front yard.
Halter owns several works by Jean-Michel Basquiat. This painting, Egypt, has remained unscathed despite sitting next to a working fireplace.
The solid jade bowling ball comes from stone mined in Northern B.C. It belonged to Halter’s father, who got it as a gift from business associates in China.
The couple bought the Haida moon mask at a gallery in Tofino, B.C.
While she was a student at architecture school, Matusevics built this wooden chair with her father. It was inspired by the forms and folds of a kimono.
Art and family photos sit on a shallow shelf above the fireplace. The centrepiece is a photograph by Edward Burtynsky from a series called “The Rock of Ages.”
Halter inherited this landscape painting by Canadian artist Henri Masson from his father.