Airplane wing, giant squid railing attest to designer Marco Pecota's industrial style
Industrial designer Marco Pecota is full of surprises.
First off, his loft is located on a nondescript strip of the Junction, so unprepossessing that a man is panhandling on the stoop outside. It’s tucked above a retail design store, in which Pecota is a partner.
The loft is mind-blowing — from his custom-built circular staircase (featuring a squid-design metal railing) to the “vertebrae” dining-room table. And who else has an airplane wing in their walk-in closet? Never mind how he got it up his narrow staircase in the first place.
His firm Pekota Design (the “Pekota” spelling honours his original family name) provides original and custom-designed furniture and architectural features. This year he’ll launch a retail line of interior and outdoor furniture. His MK I chair was featured in the recent Interior Design Show, in the Prototype Exhibit highlighting “the next big thing.”
Pecota shares the three-storey, 2,900-square-foot space with his partner Ilse Gudiño, flamenco dancer and choreographer, and their 6-month-old daughter Adara. There are seven rooms plus two baths and a 500-square-foot deck.
The whole place had to be gutted. “It used to be four apartments with huge cockroaches and a slum landlord,” Pecota recalls. “There are a lot of rooms now in this house but they are bigger, cooler rooms as opposed to small rooms. I demolished 75 per cent of the third-storey wall and raised the ceiling to 16 feet.”
He designed it, general-contracted it and had it renovated in an incredible six months. “I’ve loved design all my life,” he explains. “I flexed my interior design muscle in the reno; I was in attendance to make it happen.”
Born in Toronto and raised in the west end, Pecota has lived in Toronto’s Junction neighbourhood for 15 years — in his current space for five. He describes his décor/design aesthetic as “deco and industrial.” He favours mid-century modern with elegant sleek lines; Gudiño is Spanish, flamboyant and gothic-romantic. The loft reflects both their tastes.
Pecota is self-taught and has been designing for just three years. A renaissance man, he started out in the family meat business, morphing into owner/publisher of Rue Morgue horror magazine and film producer at Rue Morgue Cinema on Dufferin St. He is currently working on producing the western Cut Throats Nine, a remake of the 1972 film and scheduled to star Harvey Keitel and Mads Mikkelsen.
And he certainly produced and directed his home.
“I did my own home in Rue Morgue Manor, above the offices, 15 years ago with me physically doing it because I had no money. I did my own production design on my film (The Last Will and Testament of Rosaline Leigh): set, colours, props — all that sort of thing.”
He describes the main floor of his Junction loft as the “utilitarian floor” that includes the kitchen, dining area, nursery and bathroom. The white lacquered cabinets are IKEA but otherwise the kitchen design is all Pecota, including the stools and stainless steel counters. He loves to cook.
The kitchen houses sculpture and fish plate art from artist/restaurateur Joso Spralja, of Joso’s restaurant. Pecota’s father is Croatian, his mother is Italian and he grew up on Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast.
Pecota also designed the black, hot-rolled steel stairway that connects his three floors. “The main girder was custom-made in Brampton and weighed 1,000 pounds,” he says. “It took five of us to put it in place.”
The chairs and stools in the dining area are his design. The MK l chairs featured in IDS are laser-cut steel with Baltic birch. The stools use vintage industrial sprockets.
He designed the “vertebrae” dining table made of rock maple and hot rolled steel with a hand-waxed, “live” unfinished edge. “I used a spinal column motif to fuse the two sides (of wood) together,” he explains. “I puzzled it together. It probably weighs 600 pounds.” The table seats 14 and is priced at $20,000. Hey, if you habitually seat 14 for a dinner party, you can afford the freight.
The cosy sitting area resembles a rec room with a vintage turntable from the ’60s and a 20-year-old tan leather sofa still in its prime. The bookcase behind the couch is a Titus shelf, built by Pecota. “I need to bolt it to the wall when my daughter starts walking,” he says.
Indeed, with all its sharp angles and staircases, this place needs major baby proofing. He designed the loft while he was single.
On the second floor, a study/living room/library/office leads from the colossal, circular steel staircase going to a secondary library on the third floor. The leather wing chairs in the living room are hand-me-downs from his parents; the Afghan silk rug is from a Kabul market.
Pecota’s office space is anchored by a stainless steel 1940’s Tanker desk purchased from Queen West Antique Centre. There is a revolver on it — a fake Hollywood gun from Cut Throats Nine he uses as a paperweight. The coat of arms over his desk is part of a Victorian rug.
He added oversized doors in almost all the rooms and refitted the windows — the 1890’s Victorian windows are from a house in South Carolina and purchased from Smash, across the street, as are the 1920’s doors sourced from an Italian hotel in Argentina.
The vintage light fixtures are from Post and Beam Architectural Reclamation down the street. Pecota clearly shops local. They originally came from a church and are used to illuminate the bell tower.
“Ilse puts in her Spanish touches (like the matador painting on the wall of the library and the mannequin wearing a flamenco dress in the master bedroom); all the steel is masculine,” says Pecota. “She puts in her feminine touches which it definitely can use.”
And just when you think you have assimilated it all, the wow factor goes into overdrive. Outside the master bedroom, a 15-foot vintage Cessna airplane wing hangs from the ceiling over the ultimate rolling rack — a 10-foot-long, 1980’s-era, dry cleaner’s motorized clothes rack bought at Smash. On it hang mommy, daddy and baby duds.
“It only weighs 70 pounds,” he says of the Cessna wing. “I plan to hook up lighting in it. I bought it from a farm in Northern Ontario where there was a barn with airplane parts. It was under $2,000, finished and delivered. The wing was stripped of its factory paint down to the bare, shiny aluminum.”
The master bedroom is taken over by a canopied king-size four-poster bed. Pecota built the bedroom’s window shutters and the shelving, which stores tons of the baby’s footwear, including red polka-dot flamenco shoes. Gudiño danced up to the month before their baby was born.
The black squid railing is Pecota’s other baby— he designed it and was inspired by the sea, by Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi and by Picasso’s Guernica.
“That staircase railing is a piece of art,” he says. “It leads to the music room/library upstairs. It is a double-decker library, 27 feet on two levels.”
You have to duck your head upon entering the second-level library space, where Gudiño plays the keyboard and guests noodle on guitar.
“We sit up here and smoke cigars,” Pecota says.
And the smoke drifts down three flights of fancy in the home that Pecota designed and produced.