Goin’ Up the Country: Reigo and Bauer
Canadian design studio Reigo & Bauer has relocated from Toronto to greener pastures in rural Ontario. After 18 years in the eclectic urban jungle, founders and partners Merike and Stephen Bauer saw the possibilities for enjoying a well-balanced lifestyle among natural beauty, while remaining in close proximity to the city.
The couple found the perfect home for their family just 45-minutes drive north of Downtown in King City. What’s more, the 1970s modernist property came with an outbuilding that they had no hesitation in turning into a workspace for their practice, in a location where they sense a plethora of prospects.
Surrounded by woodland away from the main house, the three-storey brick building is nestled into the hillside, and previously served as a garage and gardening shed.
Reigo & Bauer chose to renovate the middle level, directly accessible thanks to the slope down from the house, and started with a bare cinder-block shell. This blank slate offered the opportunity to showcase the studio’s signature design style to visiting clients; an exercise in quiet minimalism, imbued with flair and personality through layers of furniture and decor.
White pine boards were chosen for practicality, while aesthetically creating a calm, Scandinavian feel, particularly against the scenery of the forest framed by large picture windows along the south facade. The expanse of glazing allows light to pour in and bathe the space, while providing the occupants a cinematic view of the changing seasons.
The space is divided exactly in two. Half accommodates a meeting area, kitchen and small hidden water closet, while the other side serves as the office. Two openings connect the rooms, creating sightlines through the building to enhance the feeling of spaciousness, and materiality is consistent throughout to ensure a cohesive appearance.
Furniture selections continue the idea of quiet simplicity. A slender, elegant Less meeting table designed by Jean Nouvel has a tapered edge so that its span appears almost impossible. Pendant light fixtures from FLOS add classic, unobtrusive forms above white workstations from IKEA. Touches of colour are introduced through faded camo-print rugs, which soften the concrete floors and harmonize with the natural tones from the forest outside. A flash of bright blue from the cushion of a Patricia Urquiola Husk chair creates an unexpected moment, typical of Reigo & Bauer’s spirited approach to decor.
Comfortably settled in their on-site office, Merike and Stephen have fulfilled the practical needs of their work style and habits, while demonstrating their design ethos and sensibilities in a space for themselves. Now embarking on their studio’s exciting next chapter, they hope that the move will bring plenty of development opportunities and allow them to fill a niche in this new, inspiring countryside setting.
Project Name: Reigo & Bauer Head Office
Location: King City Ontario
Area: 765 sf (70 m2)
Architecture & Interiors: Reigo & Bauer
Design Team: Stephen Bauer, Merike Bauer
Construction: Stockridge Construction
Photography: Doublespace Photography