Agathom Co. is a different kind of architecture firm. It’s more of an architecture family because the two principals, Katja Aga Sachse Thom and Adam Thom work and live in their unique, cinder block headquarters. The building is a utilitarian structure, mid 20th century, with garage doors for former use by auto mechanics.
Today, it is a fascinating workshop for residential architectural design, textile-making and sculpture. Danica and I both loved the place. We were greeted in such an informal, friendly way, we felt like friends who had dropped in for a visit. Katja, who is from Denmark, caught Danica’s eye. She was wearing a simple but creatively printed dress. The fabric bore a print by Marimekko, the Finnish design firm, whose show we saw at the Textile Museum.
Katja introduced us to one of their daughters who attends school on the Toronto Islands. “What an absolutely great childhood,” I thought. The kids live upstairs with Katja and Adam and, rather remarkably, visitors were allowed up into the living quarters, too. There is art and creativity everywhere you look … even some heritage, because the upstairs was once used by a taxidermist. The stuffed fox remains.
The flat rooftop is accessible through a window and serves as a patio, garden and BBQ zone. The view from there shows old laneways, other old workspaces and new builds that are fanning out from the Distillery District development.
Danica and I agreed that we had literally saved the best for last.
[UPDATE:] Is it any wonder that I felt so at home in the Agathom Co. environment? Not only does Katja’s Danish modern furnishing remind me of my own childhood home, husband Adam Thom has connections to British Columbia. His father was Ron Thom, a respected Canadian architect, who happened to be a student of the painter B.C. Binning at one point. Binning, in turn, became head of UBC’s Fine Arts department. He was one of the three adjudicators who suffered through the oral presentation of my graduating essay.
And so it goes…