Tag Archives: kitchen


Architecture Expert : The Sum Of Its Parts

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Architecture Expert : The Sum Of Its Parts

How the many details add style and functionality to your kitchen.

By Samantha Sannella

Renovating your kitchen is a big undertaking. If you want to make sure you get the most out of your investment, consider hiring a designer to plan and supervise the execution. Most kitchen redesigns require new flooring, electrical and plumbing—as well as a focus on making the space more functional and beautiful— so hiring a designer is definitely step one in the process before you begin discussions with a contractor.


When planning a kitchen, it is important to answer practical questions to direct the design. For example, are you a serious chef? Do you have kids at home? Is cooking a family activity? Do you require low-maintenance finishes? What is the overall budget? How storage-intensive are you? Have you begun to look at appliances? Is there an esthetic goal you have in mind? A good designer will ask 100 questions to understand how you will use the space.


For kitchens, while the overall look and feel is important, the details can really make the difference. Storage accessories increase the functionality. Countertops add colour and visual texture. Hardware is the ‘jewelry’ of the kitchen and can add a significant amount of pizzazz.


Incorporating trends like, ‘no upper cabinets’ should be considered carefully. While it might look cool, functionality may overrule if your space is small. Magic corners, pullout drawers and trolleys up the ante on convenience and make every inch more accessible. Accessories can increase the budget by thousands of dollars, so it’s worth your time to prioritize where you really need them. Plate holders and cutlery dividers are great to have for drawers, while busy chefs love the magnetic knife holders mounted on the backsplash.


If you have children, or are a busy chef with little time for maintenance, consider a quartz countertop first. Virtually maintenance-free, these can withstand red wine, hot pots and sharp knives. Colours, patterns and textures are plenty and the marketplace has significantly increased the offering over the last few years. Not to be confused with quartzite, which is a natural stone, quartz is a composite material that is man-made. Also, granite should be considered. The colours and patterns vary greatly amongst granite types, and the beauty of a natural granite countertop is timeless. However, not all granites are appropriate for the kitchen. Stay away from granites that you typically see on building facades, cemetery headstones and institutional floors.


One idea to weigh carefully is hardware-free, touch-latch cabinets vs. handles and knobs. While modern kitchens look great without visible hardware, busy chefs who lean or bump against cabinets can trigger the touch latches frequently, and this can be easily annoying. On the other hand, certain types of hardware can cause a few pokes and bruises, and depending upon choice, can really increase your budget. The trends that are here to stay include: matte black, gold and brass hardware. Don’t underestimate the beauty of glass and crystal knobs on cabinets where you might want to feature your grandmother’s dish collection.

Samantha Sannella

Photography: Kitchen Photos: By Larry Arnal, Hardware: Designed and Photographed By Shayne Fox


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Kitchen Planner

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Kitchen Planner

The faucet and sink are the focal point in the hardest working room in any home

The kitchen is the hub of any home, and the sink and faucet are probably the hardest working components in any kitchen. By focusing on those two interrelated components you can generate a lot of business working with clients ranging from budget-conscious, small-space dwellers, to affluent homeowners looking to create the luxurious kitchen of their dreams.

Tight spaces and tight budgets

Many homeowners are looking for a low-budget spruce up, either to refresh a dated but otherwise functional look, or to maximize resale value when putting their home on the market. A new sink and faucet is an affordable upgrade that doesn’t require any structural changes.


The reality for many is that condos have become the de facto “starter home.” Condo-sized kitchens required condo-sized thinking. The Prolific sink was designed with small spaces specifically in mind. The 33” x 17¾” basin comes with five accessories, including a bamboo cutting board and a dishwasher-safe colander, all of which you can store right in the sink basin when not in use.

Expansive upgrades

If space isn’t an issue, clients will appreciate a large double-basin sink that makes washing and rinsing easy. Kohler’s Whitehaven under-mount sink has a classic farmhouse style apron front that overlaps existing cabinetry. The 24”- to 36”-wide sinks have large- and medium-sized basins, separated by a low divider. Each is available in 16 different colours, from white to “Black Black,” and the durable enamelled cast-iron finish will last the lifetime of the kitchen.


Other upgrades clients might want to consider include a counter- or wall-mounted pot-filler faucet by the stove, a filtered-water faucet for drinking, and built-in soap dispensers that match the look of the faucet they’ve chosen.

Regardless of kitchen size, homeowners have a plethora of options to choose from. Sinks are available in enamelled cast-iron, stainless steel, and even composite materials, such as the Cairn, made of Kohler Neoroc. For faucets and other fixtures, the range of options expands to include brushed nickel and bronze.

Logistical planning

Large or small, you’ll want to plan the kitchen to maximize space while minimizing wasted effort. Designers often refer to the “work triangle” layout when planning kitchens, with the refrigerator, cooktop, and sink at the three points of the triangle. There are a few “rules” that come with this concept, including that no object – such as a cabinet – should block movement between the three points, household traffic should not flow through the triangle, and no point should be more than nine feet from any other.


With open-concept designs, owners often picture having their sink – or a secondary one – built into an island. This typically means running additional water and drainage lines. Before committing to a particular design, you’ll want to make sure there’s space to run the lines through the joists, and that you have sufficient slope to the stack to ensure proper drainage.

Visual cues

Even with 3D animations, many clients often find it difficult to visualize how all the components of a project will come together in their renovated space. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but actually being able to see and touch the fixtures before installation can save a lifetime of disappointment with an errant purchase.

Earlier this year, the first Canadian KOHLER Signature Store opened in Vancouver. The 5,000-sq.ft. space features dozens of different kitchen and bath displays and a wall-mounted display of faucets, with many of the fixtures fully functioning. It’s open to the public seven days a week, so you can send your clients to see their options firsthand, at their convenience, prior to making their final decision. (For more information on the KOHLER Signature Store, see the June/July 2017 issue of Renovation Contractor.) Elsewhere, the company has also partnered with dozens of specialty retailers across the country that have Kohler-focussed displays.

If you can’t make it to a Kohler showroom display, contractors and clients alike will appreciate the online Kitchen Planner. Start by perusing one of the many ready made designs, ranging from traditional to eclectic, then create your own custom space by choosing from various sink, faucet, countertop, cabinetry, and wall colour options.

Big budget or small, Kohler’s range of kitchen sinks and fixtures can help you fulfill any client’s needs.


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KitchenAid releases three new kitchen appliances

KitchenAid releases three new kitchen appliances

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KitchenAid releases three new kitchen appliances

Home cooks will be inspired

The latest kitchen appliances from KitchenAid have been designed with features and performance to ignite and reimagine your culinary experience.


Designed with the cook in mind, the KitchenAid counter-depth French door refrigerator has storage flexibility, premium finishes and stylish wood paneling with the added convenience of the FreshVue door-within-door.

Home chefs love the proximity lighting and door-within-door feature because they can quickly see and access their favourite fresh ingredients.

This refrigerator will be available in the summer in stainless steel, black stainless steel and PrintShield stainless steel exterior, which resists smudges to keep your working kitchen looking beautiful.

MRRP: $5,999 (KRFC804GSS), $6,099 (KRFC804GPS), $6,199 (KRFC804GBS)

Induction Range

The KitchenAid four-element induction convection front control range with baking drawer offers precision and control with quick, efficient response similar to gas burners. By using electromagnetic energy to generate instant heat directly to your cookware, you can rapidly boil water, giving the passionate home cooks more precise results.

The Even-Heat True Convection ensures consistent heat throughout the oven so it stays at the perfect temperature to achieve flawless cooking results every time, while the built-in steam rack offers the ability to provide additional moisture to the inside of the oven, enhancing cooking results.

This versatile range also provides a baking drawer, so you can bake at a different temperature while you’re cooking in the main compartment.

MSRP: $4,199 (KSIB900ESS)


The KitchenAid fully integrated dishwasher with pocket handle is designed to blend seamlessly into any kitchen. It’s among the quietest on the market (39dba) and features a front status display to show where you are in the cycle.

The fan-enabled ProDry system delivers the best drying performance without rinse aid while the third level rack adds space for cleaning long, flat cooking tools.

The Bottle Wash Option provides spray nozzles in the upper rack that can be placed deep inside tall or odd-shaped items like bottles, glasses and vases to thoroughly clean them. It’s available in black stainless and PrintShield stainless steel finish to resist smudges.

MSRP: $1,499 (KDPE334GPS), $1,699 (KDPE334GBS)



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Your Kitchen: Today and Tomorrow

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Your Kitchen: Today and Tomorrow

Considering a renovation to improve the value of your home? Two of the best and most common places to start are adding an additional bathroom (which will be the topic of my next column), and upgrading the heart of the home: the kitchen. Here’s my top tips for getting the best of your kitchen renovation in both the long term, and in your everyday enjoyment.

Think Twice:

-Before starting any kitchen reno, it’s important to consider both the short term costs and the possible long term gains. A slick renovation can add value to your home, but if you use materials that aren’t made to last, this value will disappear over time.

-Estimate how long you will live in this space before selling, and use materials that will last at least this long. For example, spending an extra 30% on cabinets now could make the difference between recouping your renovation investment later, or having to upgrade again when buyers only see dinged doors in need of replacement. Better to spend well than spend twice!

Good Basics

-Ultimately, optimizing resale value comes down to good basics rather than lots of superficial details. Kitchens are always a key feature of a home, but overspending on a reno won’t make sense if it doesn’t fit the value of your home. A budget of about 10%-15% of your home’s value usually achieves the best return on investment.

-Consider this when adding luxury features, such as heated floors or high end tile. In a first home, it might make more sense to invest in basics that all homeowners crave at any price point, such as a more storage space or good lighting. Look for: tall upper cabinets, undercabinet lights, quality appliances and hardwearing floors.

Live in the Moment

-Don’t forget the other side of the investment coin, which is the value your reno will add to your every day life! Consider resale, but don’t feel pressure to play everything safe. If you love a bold or trendy look, you can balance it with more timeless fixed elements for the best of both worlds.

-For example, consider using plain white, durable cabinet bases dressed up with fun modern door fronts (such as an exotic wood, which may not still be fashionable in 5 years). Replacing just the doors before selling is a more reasonable cost than fully gutting the kitchen.

Accessorize for Success

-Once you’ve planned out your budget for the key basics, put the rest of your budget into non-committal items or pieces you can remove. After all, personalizing with accessories means you can take the look you love with you!

-This can include small items like cabinet knobs and pulls, or more substantial pieces like a great faucet or even pendant lights—this is a smart area to try trendier finishes like copper, brass, or coloured enamel. Any of these can be taken into a new home and replaced with a more plain option if your realtor suggests they don’t suit your market.

Good Basics Part 2

Here’s a few more go-tos for a designer look that stands the test of time.

-White subway tile: it makes a beautiful and classic backsplash without a huge investment, and people will be able to imagine if fitting with their own style.

-A great dining table: In an eat-in kitchen, a beautiful tabletop will feel add to the look of the finishes, but you’ll be able to take it with you when you go. (It’s a smart place to add some must-have marble.)

-Use whatever wild and wonderful shade of paint you love, and plan at the time of your renovation to set aside a little money for a repainting later. No matter what paint you choose now, there will be a more in-demand colour in the future that you can apply to inspire a sale.

Quick Bites

  1. Invest in quality materials that will hold up until after you sell, or your renovation budget will be wasted in the long term.
  2. Budget approximately 10-15% of your home’s value for a kitchen renovation with a good return on investment.
  3. Focus on great basics like tall, durable upper cabinets with plenty of storage before luxury details.
  4. Personalize a space with moveable pieces like knobs or faucets and you’ll be able to reset the look for resale and take your favourites with you.
  5. Try plain white subway tile for a classic backsplash and a marble top dining table to bring in luxury you won’t have to leave behind


About the author:  Yanic Simard is principal designer at Toronto Interior Design Group and TV design expert on Cityline.
*Article courtesy of EiEiHome


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Better Living Expert – Tomorrow’s Kitchen

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Better Living Expert – Tomorrow’s Kitchen

Vicky Sanderson

Kitchens evolve with high-tech, health-focused, and sustainable appliances

The kitchen may just be the hardest working room in the contemporary home. Increasingly connected, it links family members to each other and the rest of the world through technology, and frequently does double duty as a homework hub, social centre or home office.


A survey of 17 experts and 842 kitchen and bath retailers across nine countries—conducted by the Silestone Institute, which is led by global quartz surface producer Cosentino— suggests these trends will only accelerate over the next 25 years. Kitchens of the future, they suggest, will be flexible, family-friendly and highly functional.



Two major themes emerged: kitchen functions will continue to expand beyond socializing and eating, and emerging technology and materials will foster healthier eating habits and more sustainable lifestyles.

Appliance manufacturers are already responding to these drivers with smart appliances—large and small—and new materials that make it easy to bring the kitchen into the 21st century. Here are a few that have emerged during the last year.


Whirlpool’s clever food kitchen recycler Zera uses oxygen, moisture, heat, a plant-based additive, and an agitator to break down a week’s worth of food waste within 24 hours (based on an estimated 3.5 kg of weekly household food waste for an average American family.) Launched in the U.S. this summer, no word yet on when it will make it to Canada— fingers crossed!


Miele’s new Eco Flex dishwasher combines the efficiency of low-energy consumption with a powerful wash and dry cycle that’s completed in only 58 minutes. Like many of the new generation of appliances, it can be controlled remotely with an app.


“Foodie culture” is inspiring manufacturers to create userfriendly, flexible offerings. KitchenAid’s new counter-depth, French-door bottom-mount has a door-within-a-door feature that saves space and gives home chefs easy access to fresh ingredients.

Kitchen Aid


Multi-functional kitchen spaces need durable, design-friendly surfaces. Silestone quartz delivers, and its makers even say cooking elements and media screens embedded in the surface may not be that far off.


Philips Airfryer uses the circulation of hot air within a chamber to fry, bake, roast or grill—all using little or no oil. It doesn’t need to be pre-heated, and on hot days, it lets the home chef get a meal on the table quickly without heating up the kitchen.


Hamilton Beach’s programmable thermal coffee maker is a simple example of the trend toward kitchen elements being used throughout the house, such as, a fridge drawer in a bedside table or in a family room. The 10-cup thermal carafe can be transported anywhere— the porch or balcony in the morning, or dining room or den after dinner. Because coffee doesn’t sit on a heating element, it stays fresher longer.

Hamilton Beach


Eco-friendly initiatives can be simple to incorporate into the kitchen. Ikea’s Backig dinnerware, for example, is made partly of glass from its own factory scraps.




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Product Profile: Irpinia Kitchens

Product Spotlight: Irpinia Kitchens

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Product Spotlight: Irpinia Kitchens

A new strategic alliance for a market leader

For over half a century, Irpinia Kitchens has provided a luxurious brand of fine cabinetry to North Americans. Irpinia’s relentless dedication to high-quality products and leading-edge custom designs has been at the core of the company’s longevity and success.

Founded in 1960, Irpinia is nothing short of a Canadian success story. The company’s philosophy was founded on taking quality beyond expectations and then raising the bar even higher. Irpinia’s team of highly skilled craftsmen and artisans complement its very close working relationships with suppliers and trade partners. The company carefully selects the finest woods and raw materials from top suppliers that maintain the highest environmental and sustainability standards. Irpinia manufactures all custom selections in its state-of-the-art facility in Richmond Hill, allowing the company to achieve the highest level of quality and a customer experience like no other in the industry.

Irpinia has positioned itself in the industry as a trendsetter. Irpinia’s talented designers combine the best of the best of European flare with an infusion of character and functionality. The company has earned a reputation for unlimited customization and attention to the finer details, both of which are important elements to achieve highly sophisticated and unique designs which ultimately result in that “Wow!” factor.

Irpinia’s brand has attracted some of the world’s most famous celebrities, distinguished clientele and high-profile residential developers for decades, completing some of the most complex and innovative cabinetry projects globally. This has strengthened the company’s reputation in the industry as the go-to company for new, relevant and exciting designs.

The cabinet manufacturing industry in North America is continually evolving and Irpinia has proven its ability to stay ahead of the curve.

Recently, the company entered into a new strategic alliance with a group of young and talented entrepreneurs. The new partnership will combine Irpinia’s historical philosophies of quality products and trendsetting designs with modern technologies, strong awareness of the customer experience and high-level engineering.

“We are very excited about the partnership,” says Nick Rossi, part owner of Irpinia since 1985. “New ideas, new energy combined with the same core values. Irpinia is going to the next level, and we are excited to be a part of it.”

Investment is already underway through the implementation of critical hi-tech systems and processes that are robust yet flexible. Expansion plans are being executed, which include investment in highly advanced machinery equipped with the newest industrial science.

Department leaders are focused on recruitment, building a force of talented and skilled staff trained in proven customer service protocol.

“Irpinia has always been recognized as an industry leader for quality and innovation,” says Anu Agarwal, Irpinia’s CEO. “The new partnership will leverage Irpinia’s traditional strengths with modern thinking to enhance Irpinia’s position as the market leader in the custom cabinetry industry.”

As the industry adapts and grows, Irpinia is poised and ready to take on new and exciting challenges and to continue its legacy as the premium brand in North America.


Visit online to see what is new and exciting.



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Designer Touch : Room To Grow

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Designer Touch : Room To Grow

By Jackie Glass

Photography By Paul Chmielowiec

A bachelor-inspired kitchen design cleverly meets both single- and family-man lifestyles.


No longer the domain of women, single and married men alike are taking ownership of the kitchen and stepping up to the plate to express their confidence in cooking for themselves and their guests. Today’s self-sufficient bachelors are also weighing in on the style, functionality and performance of their kitchen. Not everyone has the space for a fully equipped gourmet kitchen, so ensuring every square inch is both efficient and beautiful is key to making time spent in there enjoyable.


When my friend and former Jackie Glass Inc. partner, Christine McGee and I were given the exciting challenge to design a bachelor’s newly purchased ‘70s-style urban bungalow, we really had to alter our mindset and put ourselves in the shoes of a young professional man who lives alone and loves to cook and entertain at home. Given clear direction, it didn’t take us long to come up with a grand plan for this small home and create a flexible open-floor plan design suitable for the life of a bachelor, from hosting game day for friends to preparing intimate dinners for two. And, as we all know, the life of a bachelor can be short-lived so planning for the future was important to the homeowner in terms of investment and lifestyle. When the time came, the home should be able to transition effortlessly from bachelorhood to family life with a minimal investment of time and money.


While we thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of creating a relaxed yet sophisticated home for this busy single man, the most fun was designing the hub of this newly remodelled home: the kitchen. With a few minor structural changes, mainly the partial removal of the wall between the kitchen and the living room to open up the space, a new modern culinary kitchen, designed for frequent cooking, dining and entertaining took shape. A galley-style kitchen, featuring specific elements tailored to the design esthetic and lifestyle of our bachelor. Spatially, its size and layout is efficient and offers room for two to cook comfortably together, with all the essentials close at hand. It was imperative that his time in the kitchen be enjoyable. For those of us who love to cook and spend time in the kitchen, we know the value of generous work surfaces, good lighting, durable finishes on cabinets, energy-efficient, high-performance appliances, countertops and walls that are easy to clean. When it came to style, a slick, modern look in a masculine colour palette pulled it all together.


Open to the living room, guests are free to mix and mingle with each other as well as with the cook when entertaining. A raised cocktail-cum-breakfast bar on the island is perfect for drinks or casual meals while a small dining area adjacent to the living room, with convenient access to the barbecue on the backyard deck, offers formal dining à deux as well as with friends and family.


The goal to design a modern, stylishly masculine kitchen, which could easily transition from a bachelor pad to a small-family home was achieved. Today, now a former bachelor, our client is a happy father of two, cooking for four and enjoying family life in a home designed for living exactly the way he had envisioned it to be.



  • CABINETS: Flat-panel solid walnut doors with simple brushed-nickel handles are easy to clean and offer a sleek modern look. Dark custom cabinets as opposed to white cabinets, when paired with light-coloured countertops and walls, create contrast and a more masculine appeal. Drawer organizers are essential to any busy kitchen and help keep countertops clutter-free.
  • FLOORS: Large-format porcelain floor tiles are super durable, easy to keep clean and petfriendly. Hardwood floors stained to match the walnut cabinets unify the open plan.
  • LIGHTING: Two large windows offer natural light by day while pendants flood the island and bar by night. The range hood illuminates the stovetop.
  • APPLIANCES: Guys love the power and high-performance of a stainless-steel gas range with convection oven. A stainless steel side-byside fridge/freezer with water and ice dispenser is a must in any culinary kitchen. No bachelor kitchen is complete without a microwave. The benefits of an under-cabinet beer fridge goes without saying on game day.
  • WALLS: Cabinets cover the walls and extend from floor to ceiling to maximize storage and keep everyday essentials out of sight and off the countertops. The backsplash, clad in large-format white marble tiles from countertop to ceiling is easy to maintain and offers the height of luxury in this stunning kitchen.
  • COUNTERTOPS: Quartz countertops in a light neutral colour are fitted with two stainless-steel undermounted sinks, a prep sink under the window and a double-bowl sink in the island. This is a great solution when two cooks are in the kitchen at one time. A raised bar on the island is perfect for breakfast and morning coffee or for guests to join the chef for a cocktail. It also hides the prep area and sink when entertaining.

Designer Jackie Glass is principal/owner of Jackie Glass Inc., a full-service interior design firm specializing in residential design, decor and renovation, servicing the GTA and surrounding areas. Glass, whose work is nationally recognized, is a regular design expert on Cityline. For more information, visit jackieglass.ca



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Designer Tips – Sensible Style

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Designer Tips – Sensible Style

A mix of high and low features offer improved function in this classic & contemporary kitchen.

Photography By Stephani Buchman

When a young family of five set out to update their kitchen, they wanted an opportunity to enlarge the existing footprint and brighten up their space. Their old kitchen was dated, dark and their cabinets were falling apart; this kitchen space needed a major overhaul. My design team and I were asked to create a classic and elegant kitchen that would stand the test of time, and would become the central area for the family and friends to gather in. Carefully playing with a combination of low and high finishes, materials and appliances, allowed us to achieve a striking kitchen on a budget.


Clean and simple is the cornerstone for contemporary design, which is why I love to use classic cabinetry with clean lines adding both texture and warmth with hits of colour throughout. The custom range hood and the island in their contemporary ash-brown hue of natural wood break up the crisp white envelope and warm up the space while offering a distinctive and sophisticated character to the kitchen.



Not only does a large island function as a major storage component in a kitchen but it also acts as a focal point in the space. Going from a kitchen that once had a peninsula, with a lot of wasted square footage in the centre, to incorporating an island with extra storage was at the top of the homeowners’ wish list. The island has pullout drawers and mesh doors perfect for storing fruits and veggies.


Smart storage also means that bulky, built-in appliances seamlessly merge with pantry cabinets and other millwork to maximize space. In this renovation, we borrowed a few inches from the adjacent room in order to widen the existing area, but most importantly, it allowed the extra-deep fridge to recess into the wall cavity while still having it look flush with the other cabinets.



Remember, every inch counts when space is a consideration. From sleek wall ovens and microwaves, to refrigerators, built-in appliances look custom and offer up more space. Even if certain appliances are not meant to be built-in, you can still make them look the part. In this kitchen, we maximized our space by placing all the appliances on one wall.

Adjacent to the appliance wall, we included an appliance garage. This specialty cabinet is a great way to store small, yet bulky appliances without visual clutter like: mixers, blenders and food processors. Tucked away, they remain accessible, yet out of sight. When properly planning a storage solution of this sort, it is imperative that the interior cabinets are finished, and multiple electrical outlets are added prior to cabinet installation.


Turning a problem into a solution gave us one of this kitchen’s most attractive features. Flanking the hood, we designed two decorative glass-front cabinets that go right down to the counter, this feature was developed because of a vertical bulkhead that would be too costly to move, so we came up with a solution that would conceal the bulkhead behind the tall cabinets while still allowing for a shallow display cabinet in front.


Extending just past the kitchen was a wide wall where we added a full-height pantry cabinet. This extra space was high on the homeowner’s wish list to ensure ample storage for additional appliances, drinking glasses and bar stock. We also incorporated charging stations within the drawers to be able to charge tablets, cell phone and other devices while having them neatly tucked away. Getting to know our clients’ lifestyle and daily requirements in advance grants us the opportunity to accurately detail small items such as power supply in the very specific areas of the cabinets. The design of the pantry called out for something a little more unique, we wanted it to feel more like a furniture piece while still blending into the landscape of the kitchen. Inspired by an apothecary cabinet, we included a series of drawers to give the cabinet character. Playing with cabinetry hardware allowed us to shape the design, it’s truly an affordable way to add character to any kitchen while making a big statement.


Knowing when to splurge is key to a successful design. A backsplash is always at eye level and has one of the largest impacts in a kitchen; it’s worth setting a generous portion of your budget to make your mark with specialty features. The homeowner was adamant about the backsplash being unique without being too bold. A 2″x4″ natural stone set in a herringbone pattern was our backsplash of choice; the composition and material presents a classic detail that adds texture and interest without overpowering the rest of kitchen. Its colour and smooth texture also complements the oversized 30″x 30″ Italian porcelain floor tiles, which mimick the look of natural stone. This crisp white floor brightens the kitchen and is in sharp contrast to the former darkness that predominated.

Function and esthetics go hand in hand, nevertheless, understanding the functions of a kitchen drives the design. The result is a vibrant, contemporary kitchen with classic elements.

SOURCES – KITCHEN CABINETRY: Dvira Interiors TILES: 24″x24″ Floor tiles- Earthstone Bianco Polished Cercan tile Herringbone, Backsplash- Oriental White 2″x4″Cercan tile APPLIANCES, COOKTOP: Thermador cooktop WALL OVEN, SPEED OVEN & DISHWASHER: Bosch FRIDGE: Electrolux HARDWARE: Berenson MARBLE ON KITCHEN ISLAND: Sea Pearl, New Age Marble QUARTZ FOR PERIMETER: Simply White, Quartex Surfaces Inc WINDOW COVERINGS: Cinzia Designs LIGHTING: Royal Lighting SINK: Blanco FAUCET: Hansgrohe

Dvira Ovadia, Living by Design Toronto-based celebrity and award-winning designer Dvira Ovadia, Principal of Dvira Interiors, is known for her appearances and design work on various HGTV shows. Dvira and her team use their profound understanding of design to create stylishly smart spaces. Servicing clientele throughout Ontario and the GTA. dvira.com @DVIRAdesigner


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Reno Expert: Senior-Friendly Kitchen Design

Reno Expert: Senior-Friendly Kitchen Design

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Reno Expert: Senior-Friendly Kitchen Design

by Jim Caruk

Kitchen updates that will prove beneficial into the golden years

There’s been a lot of talk in the renovation business recently about the “aging in place” movement. The idea behind it is a simple one. As people get older, increasingly they’re hoping to continue to live in the house they raised their families in, rather than getting shunted off to a seniors’ home.

In order for us (or our parents) to function on our own, we need to be able to feed ourselves. In this column I look at some of the key features to consider when renovating a kitchen to make it senior-friendly. I also cover exterior projects geared to the aging-in-place movement that will ensure safety for this age group.


I’ve written before about the three different kinds of lighting: ambient, task, and accent. Ambient lighting illuminates the whole room, task lighting focuses on a specific area, and accent lighting is used to highlight a particular feature, such as a piece of art. When designing a kitchen for people who have some degree of impaired vision, ambient and task lighting are extremely important.

Contrasting colours are also an important way to help those with failing eyesight. Those all-white walls may be trendy for the younger folks, but white light switches and electrical outlets stand out against darker colours.


If you don’t have the space on your lot to build a code-compliant entrance ramp, an exterior platform lift is a good alternative.

Photography courtesy of Cambridge Elevating



Getting access to countertop work surfaces and upper cabinets can often be an issue for the elderly, particularly for those using a wheelchair. If you’ve got the budget for it, there are mechanical systems that raise and lower cabinets and countertops with the push of a button. You can also install the counters at 30″— rather than the standard 36″—for wheelchair access, and leave openings below the counter wide enough for the chair to slide into. Even if you don’t need to use a wheelchair, it’s a good idea to consider having at least one work surface installed at a height you can work from while seated.

Again, keep contrasting colours in mind to help avoid accidents. If the cabinets are white, a dark coloured counter will stand out, and vice versa.


Kitchen faucets with dual knobs to control the hot and cold water can be hard to use for people with arthritis. Replace those with lever handles that are much easier to operate. Better yet, many manufacturers now have stylish, reasonably priced motion-sensitive faucets for use in the home.

Rather than installing the faucet at the back of the sink, where it can be hard to reach—and inaccessible for someone in a wheelchair—consider mounting it at the side.

Finally rather than small knobs you have to clasp to open cabinets and drawers, use wide loop-style handles that someone can slip their whole hand into.

Jim Caruk, Renovation Editor

We look forward to hearing from you and welcome your feedback. Do you have a reno or decor question for our team of experts?

Email editorial@renoanddecor.com


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Design/Build Expert: Kitchen Talk

Design/Build Expert: Kitchen Talk

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Design/Build Expert: Kitchen Talk

by Brendan Charters

Annual Kitchen Design Trends Review

Early each year, we fall upon home show season when design industry leaders lay out the newest ideas to help make everyone just a little self-conscious about the state of their kitchens at home. Regardless of what type of kitchen you may think you need to survive, we can all generally agree that it’s impractical for us all to buy a food truck and park it in our driveway, even if it’s a Kimchi Taco truck. It’s widely known that the kitchen is the hub of the home—but some do that job much better and more stylishly than others. As time goes by, skilled designers invent modifications to let us all know what we now simply cannot live without in our kitchens, and by way of default, push those older trends deeper into obscurity.

Given that not one homeowner is the same, we do not rely on only one designer’s ideas to create the solutions we offer them. At Eurodale we work with an entire team on our design-build projects, so I regularly confer with our group when we are designing and building for a client.

A MUST: Quality materials, lots of drawers with pullout storage features and a pot filler over that red-hot range.
A MUST: Quality materials, lots of drawers with pullout storage features and a pot filler over that red-hot range.

Jim Cunningham from Eurodale Developments (Architectural Designer), Laura Thornton of Thornton Design (Interior Designer) and Jimmy Zoras from Distinctive by Design Fine Cabinetry (Kitchen Designer) all have an equal level of input into all our kitchen projects. This ensures the space planning and flow works, the intricate details and esthetics fit together and the ultimate execution matches the design intention. This year I adjusted the three questions I pose to them every year. We felt it prudent you know their thoughts on what’s new, what works best (and what is likely here to stay!) and what is headed for the waste bin when it comes to kitchen design trends. Hopefully you can use their valuable input, tabled here, when planning your own kitchen project.


JIM@EURODALE: A pot filler is a must, especially when the sink is far away from the range. It avoids those nasty spills. It can also be used to put out any fires on the stove in a flash. In the event of an emergency, you don’t have to hunt around for your trusty fire extinguishers. (Author’s note—this is not how to extinguish a grease fire Jim!)

LAURA@THORNTON: Quality! Investing in durable finishes will make your new kitchen last and look new longer. The elements of your home that you touch regularly should be where money is spent. Quality in the cabinetry, hardware, and countertops is key.

JIMMY@DISTINCTIVE: Some of the most critical elements that I incorporate in my designs is a garbage/recycling and compost area, pullout drawers in pantries and lots of drawers for easy convenience.


JIM@EURODALE: White on white on white. I don’t know how many times I have heard white is classic. Clients gravitate to white out of safety and to avoid having to do the next big reno sooner. I get it, my kitchen is 80 per cent white too. The challenge is, door panel designs change, whites fade and kitchens wear out from use. Why not enjoy your kitchen and add some colour into your life?

LAURA@THORNTON: White kitchens still reign supreme (sorry Jim!) but the classic oversized hood-range combination will have to make way for a more contemporary tile-fronted or natural stone slab range-hood fan cover and matching backsplash.

JIMMY@DISTINCTIVE: Some of the trends that are dying off are dark cabinetry, natural-stone slab counters (granite especially) and halogen lighting—LEDs have come a long way.


JIM@EURODALE: Kitchens will be built around technology vs. being added on later. Smart appliances controlling the kitchen so your meal can be ready for you when you arrive, or grocery auto-management. Here we come Jetsons.

LAURA@THORNTON: Canadians are embracing colour. Get ready to start seeing amazing kitchen cabinetry in fabulous yellows, red, navy and glamorous black (sorry Jimmy!)

JIMMY@DISTINCTIVE: Some new things we are building into kitchens this year include brass accents (hardware), grey and blue is a very popular colour combination, and wood grains are making a big comeback. No longer just a sterile food prep area, the kitchen is more of a gathering place for entertaining and these features add warmth and complement this lifestyle change.

THE PRECIPICE - White kitchens have dominated the last decade. The jury is split on their future but regardless of colour, kitchens that can accommodate family and friends, not just chefs, remain on-trend.
THE PRECIPICE – White kitchens have dominated the last decade. The jury is split on their future but regardless of colour, kitchens that can accommodate family and friends, not just chefs, remain on-trend.

At the end of the day, whether building new or remodelling an existing kitchen, my personal advice is to work with a professional for great advice and achieving the best results.

Bottom line, the kitchen needs to be durable, look great and function for our many demands in the space. When planning your own kitchen renovation, think of how you plan to live in the space, and then look to the styling after. Door styles, colours and finishes change like fashion, but a space that is carefully planned and built with quality materials will serve you and your guests well (or longest), regardless of the next hot trend.


Brendan Charters is co-owner of Toronto Design-Build Firm Eurodale Developments – 2016 BILD Renovator of the Year.

Visit eurodale.ca or follow Brendan on Twitter @EurodaleHomes


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