Carlo Rinomato is being asked to choose, and he only has a few seconds to answer. So he does what any self-respecting artist would do: create a response that makes the original question irrelevant.
The designer, developer and builder, wearing a pristine white suit and black open-necked shirt, is making one of his regular appearances on Global TV’s The Marc & Mandy Show, where he and fellow designer Glen Peloso are touring “The House of the Hill,” a sprawling 5,000-square foot property in Vaughan, ON that he and his team designed and built over the course of three years. They are in the master suite, where a mattress has been permanently fixed to a set of two-by-fours on the floor in front of a dramatic black faux fur wall.
“Now, is this what you would call your accent wall, or your headboard?” Peloso asks.
“I would call it both,” Rinomato says, gesturing to the grandeur of the space, where at least half a dozen lights hang delicately like oversized teardrop earrings. “Why go halfway when you can go all the way? That’s what this house is about. All the way, beyond the lines.”
“You’re an all-the-way kind of guy, aren’t you?” Peloso says.
Rinomato nods. “All the way,” he says. “All the way in everything.”
He’s not kidding: Besides his role as founder and CEO of Design Generation Homes, where he leads projects ranging from high rise condominiums to commercial buildings and luxury estate properties, Rinomato has created a personal brand — which includes a fashion sense that doesn’t shy away from bold colours, patterns or cuts — that aims to expand the way people think about the spaces in which they live. That’s why he not only appears on The Marc & Mandy Show but also Canada’s Rogers TV and, most notably, Top Million Dollar Agent, showing and talking about design in a way that challenges viewers to explore what going “all the way” means in a home.
“My passion for art and nature, and combining them both as one, is the vision behind my work,” Rinomato told SWAGGER. “The House of the Hill was my passion project. (It was) me wanting to step outside my comfort zone and develop something that was going to be like nothing I did before, or that has ever been done before. Determination for everyone to one day appreciate my look, and converting their lifestyle.”
Inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright’s concept of “organic architecture” and the quote that “no house should be on a hill . . . it should be of the hill, belonging to it,” The House of the Hill predominantly consists of black and white to better define and celebrate the shapes within it. Each window, for example, is edged in black to create a “frame” that treats the nature outside as a work of art.
This approach has helped Rinomato turn Design Generation Homes into a major force since it was first launched in 1963. More recently his team has been working on more than 200 acres of land in Mont-Tremblant, QC — a series of Scandinavian-style vacation homes, by Fraternite Sur-Lac in association with Design Generation Homes, surrounded by the scenic Mont-Tremblant views –both in winter and summer.
“In the years past, I took interest in winter sports like skiing, and that’s what lead me to discover the beauty that is Mont-Tremblant,” he says.
But that’s just in Canada. Rinomato has made expanding his brand internationally a priority, starting with a “Condo of the sea” in Abruzzo, Italy, after getting inspired by the buyer of The House of the Hill.
“(He) loved it so much, he suggested that we replicate it in top cities of the world,” Rinomato says. His list includes Paris, London, Shanghai, Tuscany, the Hamptons outside New York and more.
“There’s such a feeling of gratitude in seeing your concepts and design flourish and in it being built. And mastering perfectionism in my designs and builds.”
Rinomato’s artistic take on architecture began from an unlikely place: drywall. A 19-year-old entrepreneur long before anyone used the word “startup,” together with his father founded the New Generation Group, which continues to be run by family members. Even with the early success, however, he says he knew he wanted to do something more creative.
“(I) got tired of it, and wanted more art in it,” he says. “That is what has helped me differentiate myself: to look deep into yourself, and decide to stop doing what just pleases others, or look like what others wanted you to look like, and just let your inner inspiration take charge. That’s what brought out the true Carlo Rinomato.”
Taking a more artistic path to building and construction didn’t mean turning into an egomaniac, however. Rinomato frequently references his family and his colleagues as the biggest touchstones in his life.
“My father’s words to me were, ‘Never ever give up. Believe in yourself, and don’t give a shit for what anyone says about you. You have a gift. Let the world see it,” he says.
As for his team, he turns to a sports metaphor to explain the dynamic that has made Design Generation Homes successful.
“Many times those who assist he who scores, play a much more important role than the one who scores,” he says. “I come up with the designs and concepts, but it is my team of architects, designers, and extended team that executes which truly makes us who we are.”
As his brand evolves and grows, Rinomato is also keenly concerned with striking the right balance between creating artistically ambitious buildings with all the necessary checks that ensure those buying and living in them are completely satisfied.
“I die for details,” he says. His clients live for the results.
Creative Director & Photographer: Rai Allen
Producer: Steven Branco
Production Assistants: Kyle Lai, Greg
Makeup & Grooming: Michelle Lauren
Styling: Michelle Lauren
All clothing and select shoes by House of Dalla/Art of Suiting