In the loft shared by artists and childhood friends Michael Mercanti and Joey Gatto, open-concept equates an open mind.

“It’s really important that it’s open,” said Mercanti, creator of local jewelry line Speech. “Both of us are artists and we can just come into this open space and bounce ideas off of each other. If you’re an artist or creative, I think it helps your mind flow because there are no walls.”

A long, dark hardwood table flows through the centre of the roommates’ space; a centre point that draws together their foyer, kitchen and living area. And while it may be a zone of creativity for Mercanti and Gatto, the versatile area also doubles as a dance floor, with a disco ball overhead. “We actually just had a little Michael Jackson dance party,” said Mercanti. “We moved (the table) against the wall and the dance floor was actually pretty big.”

A large, dark wood-framed tilted mirror hangs by chains on the wall parallel to their table. Assembled by Mercanti and Gatto themselves, the pair marks it as their favourite object in the space, which they dub “gonzo chic”.

“We found the chain on the street for $5 and the mirror is from Ikea, but it makes it look like it’s a designer mirror because it’s hung pretty cool,” said Mercanti. Adds Gatto, “If you’re creative, it’s definitely a good spot to be in because we have a lot of random objects in here that usually wouldn’t go together, but we’ve made them work together.”

And together, Mercanti said the friends have made their space into a home, but with an industrial feel that’s appropriate to create in.

“It also feels like you’re in a bat cave where you can do work and your mind can wander,” said Mercanti, glancing at the bat they spray-painted on a nearby concrete wall. “If you were doing work in your home a lot, it might feel like it’s a little bit too homey. Here, I feel very inspired.”

• To browse and purchase items from Michael Mercanti’s jewelry line, visit his website at

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