more design work

I though I'd kick off this week showing you a kitchen we recently designed in Leslieville which is a neighbourhood in East Toronto. Let's start with a little preview of how the finished kitchen turned out.

This kitchen is really the icing on the cake for our two homeowners. I won't go into all the gory details but basically one small leak in their basement turned into an overnight disaster that forced them to completely rebuild their foundation from the inside out after it was cleared of all the contaminating mould. Obviously, it was a costly and emotionally difficult renovation that lasted for the better part of a year. During that time, they often had no running water and no heat! Amazingly, the two of them never lost heart and were surprisingly chipper whenever we saw them. Early on the two decided that they were committed to their home and were in it for the long haul. With this mindset, they decided to take on a few other renovations to really make their home a place they wanted to stay.

When we first met them the kitchen looked like this:

You can clearly see that the kitchen was small and cramped and that they did not have enough storage space. Most of their problems stemmed from a poorly located staircase to the basement (which you can see covered in orange vinyl) and badly placed duct work that limited the amount of upper cabinets they could have. There was also a very little counterspace which made cooking in the kitchen difficult. Basically, it was a kitchen for one cook! In addition, the light, maple cabinets and dark black appliances were really fighting with each other making the space seem smaller than it really was.

The first thing we did was reorganize the floorplan of the first floor. We moved the staircase to the basement to the middle of the house under the existing (upper) stairs and we rerouted all the duct work so that we could have an interrupted flow of cabinets in the kitchen. By moving the basement stairs we gained three feet of width to the kitchen which made a huge difference. We also switched the living room and dining room around so that the dining room is now adjacent to the kitchen.

Our clients chose white oak cabinets with bookmatched grain and Viking stainless steel appliances. We ran the cabinets right up to the ceiling to give them as much storage as possible. This also makes the ceiling look much higher than it did before. The countertops are a solid white, composite quartz and the backsplash is a glass and marble mosaic.

In order to maximize the light, we added a larger window to the back of the house and a glass panel door. In addition, we switched the location of the range and fridge from the original layout so that ample preparation space was provided on either side of the cooktop.

This kitchen is now a functional space that has room for at least two cooks. The new window and door allow light to stream through the whole house making it seem much bigger and brighter. Knowing all the long days, endless phone calls and stress our clients went through with their basement renovation it really makes me happy to see them enjoying their new kitchen. I'd love to hear what you think of the new kitchen.

And before I go, I just wanted to mention the winner of the 3M giveaway is Nat! Congratulations! I'll be in touch with your shortly.

Image credits:
Ashley Capp (after photos)

open kitchen shelves - an update

You all remember the before, it looked a little something like this; dark green mirrored cabinets (that showed every fingerprint!) surrounded by a glossy white frame. Well, here's a little look at the in-between. This is after the the entire cabinet ripped off the wall crashing to the floor below.  Unbeknownst to us, once we unscrewed all the nuts and bolts the only thing holding the shelves on the wall was a little bit of caulking we used to seal the edges of the white frame. When this gave, there was no way we could stop the heavy weight of the cabinets from hitting the floor.

(I failed to get a true "after" photo because honestly we were all a little shaken. Let's just say, our son was in the room when it happened and it could have been much, much worse. I still shudder at the thought.)

Amazingly, we sustained very little damage to  the drywall even with the shelves ripping off the wall. You can see that there was some tearing to the wall on the far left side but it was nothing a little filler and some paint couldn't fix. I had also planned for this possibility and designed the new shelf to cover the same area that the old one had.

The next step was to repair and paint the wall so it would be ready for the new shelf. I used the same Benjamin Moore chalkboard paint in Black as I used in our office. There is a rich, matte effect to this paint that I absolutely love. It is also not pure black which can often come across as flat and gloomy. Instead, this paint ranges in colour from an inky blue to a dark grey to a sooty black depending on the time of day and angle of the light. I only wish it came in bigger cans!

The other advantage of this paint was that I was able to note in chalk where the studs are in the wall and where I wanted the new cabinet to be placed. I wasn't going to be home for the installation so I wanted to make sure it was clear!

As for the those new shelves...well... what I can tell you is that I chose a wood species that is native to Ontario, that I designed something that didn't have any visual brackets or supports and that I added an unexpected element that didn't appear in any of my inspiration files.  Any guesses?