This young family of three originally came to us for help redesigning their kitchen, hoping it would hold them over for a few more years as they had plans to move into a larger and newer home. However, the scope quickly changed to include updates to the entire 1950 square-foot residence as our clients slowly fell back in love with their home seeing the renovation unfold.
Our clients built their home over 15 years ago; they liked the overall layout of the house, but were no longer in love with the finishes. The original kitchen consisted of dated maple cabinets, granite countertops, slate tile, and was lacking the storage that their family desperately needed. Knowing this, our senior designer, Alanna Dunn, started tackling the kitchen by re-designing the island and extending one of the walls of cabinetry to include more storage space. The previous kitchen island was a two-tier surface and an irregular shape. Alanna removed the secondary counter-height and with the new counter surface at one consistent height, the kitchen and adjacent living room instantly felt more connected to one another. The previous jigs and jogs of the island were paired back up to maximize storage – allowing the island to now house the dishwasher, garbage and recycling bins, and a pull-out dining shelf for their dogs’ food bowls! When it came to addressing the existing millwork and additional required storage, we chose to keep as much of the existing millwork as possible, painting it to match the new pieces for a completely seamless look. The kitchen is finished off with new white macaubus quartzite countertops, chevron backsplash, brass hardware, upgraded appliances, and a custom hammered metal range hood.
Once the kitchen makeover was complete and our clients had officially decided to stay put in their home, they pulled the trigger on replacing the slate tile floors throughout the main floor with wide width white oak hardwood. The addition of one consistent flooring throughout the home immediately connected the adjacent spaces and gave the house the harmony it was desperately lacking, resulting in the appearance of a larger and more open floorplan.
Adjacent to the kitchen are the dining room and living room. We incorporated our clients’ existing trestle table, bench, and Windsor chairs, but changed the feeling of the space with a new light fixture overhead. White studio shades were installed to allow natural light to pass through while maintaining privacy. For the design of the living room, our goal was to maximize seating through furniture selections. A large ottoman serves as a coffee table and also as additional seating when pulled up against the sofa while a Beni Ourain rug defines the room within the open concept floor plan. Our client also owned an eclectic collection of art that we featured in a gallery wall that adds a punch of colour in the otherwise neutral space. When the kitchen, main entry, and living room were completed, we realized that blue had quickly become our accent colour, so we were intentional by incorporating this into both the new powder room and laundry room designs.
When it came to tackling the renovation of the principal bedroom and upstairs media room space we were deliberate on repeating some of the same finishes found on the main floor to maintain a cohesive look. We designed a wall of custom built-in millwork in the principal bedroom to help hide an awkwardly angled partition and add some much needed storage. As far as the colours and finishes, we incorporated some of the high contrast details found elsewhere in the home.
The upstairs media room is located above the garage of this home and was previously not well utilized. Our clients wanted to transform this space into their family TV room! To make it feel more connected with the rest of their home, we incorporated elements of shiplap and faux white oak beams on the ceiling. “More storage” was a reoccurring theme during this renovation, so we designed a wall of full-height built-in shelving along one wall to display books and décor, in addition to hiding miscellaneous items in the closed cabinets below. The original space included a window bench that was never really used, so we wanted to make the existing bench feel more integrated in the new furniture arrangement (that was complete with a cozy new sectional). This was achieved by installing wall sconces on either end that served as reading lights and topping the seat with a custom cushion, adding some texture to the space.
The basement was converted into their tween daughter’s TV and playroom and, to make the space feel brighter and more youthful, we introduced a full wall of off-white drapery (to create an illusion of a large window) and arranged some whimsical artwork around the wall-mounted TV. Given the small footprint of the room, in lieu of a large sofa we selected two oversized chairs for easy rearranging when needed.
Last but not least: the basement bathroom. Now that the rest of the house had been renovated, the bathroom was in dire need of more personality. We kept the layout of the original bathroom for sake of functionality and budget, but updated all the finishes to feel more “fresh and clean” with a splash of green as per our clients’ request. Knowing they wanted some aspect of green in the space, we had the perfect statement tile in mind right away that added just the right amount of playfulness. All remaining finishes fell into place after that. The counter surface was a rich and graphic black marble that was elevated with a waterfall edge on both sides of the new white oak vanity. The stone was repeated in the shower on the bench and curb top, complementing the graphic grid of black mullions on the shower glass and black plumbing fixtures throughout. Finally, modelled white subway tile acted as the ideal backdrop in the space with its subtle and understated texture.
What started as a small kitchen facelift ended as a full-home renovation, proving that sometimes a family doesn’t necessarily need more room for it to be their dream house. Case-and-point: our clients’ newly reimagined home that keeps up with their lifestyle.
Architects: Reena Sotropa In House Design Group
Photographer: Phil Crozier