Drake in a Kapital sweatshirt and 1017 ALYX 9SM trousers in the lounge with Rafauli.
Remember the tacky, over-the-top McMansions from the venerable MTV series Cribs? Mega-recording artist Aubrey Drake Graham lives in a unique house in Toronto. Drake’s lavish 50,000 square foot home is equipped with features including an NBA regulation-size indoor basketball court that is topped by a 21 square foot pyramidal skylight. Drake Manor, as envisioned by Canadian architect and interior designer Ferris Rafauli, is a marvel of old-world craftsmanship made of limestone, bronze, exotic woods, and other fine materials, as opposed to vast swaths of cheap drywall and mountains of awkward furniture upholstered with a hot glue gun. The vast estate has been painstakingly designed and built in every way. Additionally, no Scarface posters are seen.
Kaws’ sculptures flank the home’s entrance. Rafauli created a custom bronze-and-solid-marble chandelier, and the floor is covered in Escarpment Light and Nero Marquina marble.
“Because I was building it in my hometown, I wanted it to last for 100 years.” Drake says of his passion project, “I wanted it to have a monumental scale and feel.” “It will be one of the things I leave behind,” he adds, “so it had to be timeless and strong.”
The Embassy draws inspiration from traditional Beaux-Arts architecture, which has been distilled and slightly abstracted to imbue the classic idiom with a more contemporary spirit. “The structure is a proper 19th-century limestone mansion in form, materials, and execution.” However, the exterior profiles are more minimal, and the lines are cleaner,” says Rafauli, who runs his own luxury design/build firm in Ontario. “This isn’t stucco, paint, or phony gold.” That is not what Drake desired, and it is not what I do.”
Drake is at home in Toronto, wearing Tom Ford and Nike trainers. Mellany Sanchez did the fashion styling.
Rafauli defines the insanely cool interiors as “modern Art Deco,” referring to a classic historical design that has been altered and revived to reflect both the spirit of the times and the DNA of his high-profile client. “Once you’ve decided on a style, you can dance within that style,” says the designer. “It’s an overwhelming high luxury,” Drake argues. The size of the rooms, as well as the materials and details of the floors and ceilings, convey this message. “I wanted to make sure that people could see the work I’d done over the years reflected from every angle.”
The great room is anchored by a bespoke Bösendorfer concert grand piano designed by Ferris Rafauli and Takashi Murakami
The grandeur of the rooms sets the tone for the experience of the residence from the minute one enters the spacious entry hall, which is covered in solid limestone with beveled inlays of Nero Marquina marble beneath a faceted ceiling of ancient mirror framed in bronze. The magnificent big room, with its 44-foot ceiling, enhances the sound even more. A custom concert grand piano created by renowned Austrian piano manufacturer Bösendorfer in partnership with Japanese artist Takashi Murakami and Rafauli is nestled inside a portal framed by floor-to-ceiling Macassar ebony panels paired with bronze screens in front of additional antique beveled mirror at one end of the room. Drake was not going to get any old piano because music is his entire world. This valued asset is what Rafauli calls “an authentic marriage of artistry, craft, and quality.”
Rafauli incorporated a hummingbird tapestry by Alexander McQueen for The Rug Company into the bedding in the master bedroom. The Rug Company’s Rafauli custom carpet. The bed was designed by Hästens x Ferris Rafauli, and the pendants were created by Jonathan Browning Studios.
The second jewel in the great room is a gigantic version of Hans Harald Rath’s famed Metropolitan chandelier, which was originally built for the Viennese craftsman to decorate the Metropolitan Opera in New York City in 1963. The stunning light sculpture is the world’s second-largest installation of its kind, with over 20,000 hand-cut Swarovski crystal pieces.
A backlit slab of Nero Assoluto granite over the pool provides interchangeable atmosphere lighting.
The extravagant canary-yellow lounge, which, along with a number of other rooms in the home, can be seen in Drake’s music videos for the tracks “When to Say When”/”Chicago Freestyle” and “Toosie Slide,” highlights the designer’s homages to Art Deco design. The room’s focal point is a foliate ceiling with concentric backlit hexagonal panels covered in Alcantara faux suede and a huge Venini-glass sunburst chandelier suspended from its center. The furniture in this room, as well as the rest of the house, was specially made by Rafauli using materials including dyed ostrich skin, mohair, macassar, and bronze.
The studio lounge is softly illuminated by a backlit panel of brown agate semi-precious stone. Aluminum cocktail table by Erwan Boulloud; vintage Ricardo Fasanello chair.
Drake’s favorite area in the house is his 3,200-square-foot master bedroom suite, which also features a covered patio of 1,100 square feet. “The bedroom is where I come at the end of the night to decompress from the world and where I open my eyes to seize the day,” he explains. “The bed allows you to float, the shower allows you to escape and gather your thoughts, and the wardrobe encourages you to talk to yourself while getting dressed.”
Rafauli chandeliers adorn a suspended cantilevered block marble stair.
God is in the details, as usual. The bed and bed base are from Rafauli’s new Grand Vividus collection for Hästens, which weigh almost a tonne and cost more than many people’s whole homes. A whiskey and champagne bar is located on the other side of the headboard, which is decorated with an antique mirror and channel-tufted leather. The mattress has an Alexander McQueen hummingbird tapestry from The Rug Company, and the nightstands are inlaid with mother-of-pearl.
Drake’s lifestyle brand, October’s Very Own, inspired the design of the official NBA-size court.
The centerpiece of the master bath is a 4,000-pound tub fashioned from a single block of faceted black marble. Drake’s two-story closet is as striking, with amethyst hardware, rock crystal, and chairs upholstered in diamond-tufted shearling with polished nickel studs. It’s the perfect backdrop for the musician’s vast wardrobe, sneaker collection, and Hermès Birkin bag collection, which he’s been amassing for years.
The master bath has a vanity and tub made of Nero Marquina marble. Lumifer custom chandelier; Brabbu sconces; Rafauli chair.
Rafauli suede chairs line a Paonazzo marble island in the kitchen. Pendants by Gabriel Scott; La Cornue x Ferris Rafauli range; Kohler sinks; Waterworks fixtures.
Drake’s Grammys can be found in his awards room.
Basketball legends’ uniforms line the jersey hall. Lighting by Gabriel Scott.
In the recording studio, a Ferris Rafauli custom daybed is draped in a Jean Paul Gaultier textile. Rafauli’s accent pillows are made of Jonas Wood x Louis Vuitton Monogram silk scarves.
Venicem custom chandeliers hang in the master walk-in closet. Rafauli millwork and shearling banquette.
Baccarat lighting is featured in an enfilade.
Another look at Drake’s pool.
A 12-person table is surrounded by Rafauli velvet chairs in the dining room. Chandelier made by Baccarat.
And the blows don’t stop. There is a top-notch recording studio, which Drake likens to “eccentric 1970s studios mixed with Annabel’s in London,” a well-used kitchen that features the first stove from Rafauli’s new La Cornue line, an awards room that tells Drake’s life story from his early years to his time on the Canadian television program Degrassi: The Next Generation to his reign as a Grammy-winning musician, a hall of sports jerseys displayed in vitrines re.
“I think the house shows that I have true faith in myself to take on this task when I was just 27 and see it through,” Drake says, surveying the splendors of his Canadian pleasure palace. “I also believe the house says that I will always be solid in the place where I was born.”