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Kurt Swinghammer’s media room makes a great hangout

For almost three years, the Toronto-based musician and visual artist Kurt Swinghammer has lived in a 100-year-old Edwardian-style four-unit house in the Dufferin Grove Park area with his partner, the singer/songwriter Lori Cullen. A graduate of the Ontario College of Art and Design, Swinghammer renovated the place himself using an online design program called, running masking tape on the floors to map it all out. The second-storey studio is his favourite room in the house. "It's the media centre and focal point for hanging out with friends," he says. "It's on the second floor and gives a nice view of the street."

1. The shelves

"They are display cubes from an art gallery in Niagara Falls where I once showed some of my own work. I made them into shelves for CDs. It's like the abacus versus the computer. I find what I want quicker on a shelf than by scrolling through an iPod menu."

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2. The Frank Gehry Wiggle chair

"It's made of cardboard, so I always make sacrifices to the God of Red Wine before parties to make sure nothing gets spilled on it. It's nice having a piece made by a homeboy."

3. The wall colour

"I like to break colours up. The main colour in the room is a greyish sea foam with [this] wall of rusty sienna to complement it and add warmth. We found a roll of Italian seventies wallpaper [above shelves] at [Toronto store] Smash that picked up the sienna while adding a groovy floral pattern."

4. The coffee table

"This originally belonged to my parents. I grew up with it. When they tossed their rather stylish Danish-modern collection for some tacky 1970s trash, I salvaged this piece and have had it ever since."

5. The Eames chair

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"This is an Eames Aluminum Group chair, dating from the early 1970s. It came from a friend who had the first shop on Queen Street to feature second-hand, mid-century modern furniture. He did his picking in Buffalo and Detroit, where lots of Herman Miller often shows up.

6. The windows

"We replaced all the windows and it was the best decision we made in renovating. It made the space way more efficient as well as brighter and [brought] better air flow than what was here before. Most of the mouldings were stripped down to the raw wood, leaving bits of paint and a sense of history, but these here looked great painted out white."

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About the Author

Deirdre Kelly is a features writer for The Globe and Mail. She is the author of the best-selling Paris Times Eight and Ballerina: Sex, Scandal and Suffering Behind the Symbol of Perfection (Greystone Books). More

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