Toronto multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and producer Tim Bovaconti makes noise in his garage-turned-music-studio. (Photo by Tracey Savein)
Celebrated instrumentalist Tim Bovaconti has long been a proud Toronto homeowner. And while his success in the music industry has afforded him that luxury, living in the right home — a home that presented the perfect space in which Bovaconti could create his ideal music studio — has also helped to foster that success.
Bovaconti spent his teenage years living in a house on Toronto's Ward Island, where a vibrant and eclectic arts community impelled him to learn the guitar.
“Tim is a musician's musician ... his innovative solos breathed tremendous new life into many of my songs. Bovaconti is a true professional.” – Burton Cummings of The Guess Who, above left, with Bovaconti. (Photo by Kevin Suter)
“I grew up surrounded by writers, painters and musicians … artists who were drawn to the Island for its obvious and distinctive beauty. And with so many of us living together in such close quarters, it meant that there were always art shows and dances at which to share our work.”
Bovaconti practised his craft for hours on end, and when he moved from the Island to the mainland, his professional career began to take off. Local gigs led to studio work, where his unique ear and gifted playing quickly established him as one of the country’s finest musicians. It wasn’t long before Bovaconti was touring with such artists as Burton Cummings and Ron Sexsmith, backing up the likes of Leonard Cohen and Ray Davies, and spending much of his year on a tour bus. With time in Toronto suddenly a precious commodity, it was important to Bovaconti that his home life nurtured his musical interests just as much as being on the road, or jamming on the Island.
So when Bovaconti bought his first home on Mountalan Avenue, in Danforth Village, he made sure that the house breathed music; mementos and photos from his tours covered the walls, and Bovaconti’s extensive vinyl collection snaked around the living room.
“I needed to have all of these influences and inspirations at my fingertips. But as much as I am a collector, I can’t stand clutter. With so many instruments and memorabilia on hand, it was important to establish a sense of order.”
Everything had its place, and the meticulously organized house on Mountalan proved a mecca for artistic expression and collaboration. Bovaconti’s extended family of friends and colleagues alike would gather for rehearsals, writing sessions and star-studded backyard performances. But when Bovaconti and his wife Jenny began to think about starting their own family, they knew that more space might come in handy. After the birth of twin boys, James and Brighton, more space became a necessity.
Jenny scouted out a house for sale in East York on Gledhill Avenue. It was situated next to a park, and with its large backyard and finished basement, it was perfect for the kids. Jenny knew, however, that it was the freestanding garage out back that would truly capture Bovaconti’s heart.
Tim's Garage, Bovaconti's converted space for work and play, boasts a multitude of gear, including a 1970s Ludwig drum kit and a 1930 tuned upright piano. He has produced several recording projects for artists to date. (Photo by Tracey Savein)
“It was the perfect place for a studio,” says Bovaconti. “Close enough that I could be there for the family, but separate enough to allow me to lose myself in the work. I bought the domain name timsgarage.ca, and began to design a blueprint for the space.”
Bovaconti installed hardwood flooring and heating within the garage, and ordered sound-absorbing acoustic tiles from Primacoustic in Vancouver. Amidst his vintage studio gear, Bovaconti also assembled the necessary modern equipment to allow him to record for artists situated around the world. “So much of the recording business is remote these days. With the proper setup, a home studio is really all that you need.”
And though the space is large enough to accommodate a drum kit and an upright piano (alongside Bovaconti’s vast collection of instruments and effects), it is cozy enough to capture onsite, intimate performances. In the short time that Tim’s Garage has been in operation, Bovaconti has hosted a number of notable artists, including award-winning singer/songwriter Kim Stockwood. “I’ve recorded at Tim’s Garage a few times now, and there really is magic in the air … the studio is an extension of who Tim is: open, warm and all about music.”
While Bovaconti is likely to tour long into the future, having a home that accommodates both the needs of his family and his many musical endeavors is indeed a luxury.