Tag Archives: kitchen


Better Living Expert: Kitchen Tools You Can Trust

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Better Living Expert: Kitchen Tools You Can Trust

Doing more with less

More than any other room in the home, the kitchen needs the right tools to function well.

There’s also no other room for which so many gadgets and gewgaws are marketed as must-haves. Far too many of them end their days collecting dust on valuable counter space, which is why many serious chefs edit culinary paraphernalia down to a few simple essentials.

Olson’s smooth French-style rolling pin lets bakers “feel” pastry better.


That was certainly a guiding principle behind chef Anna Olson’s eponymous line of kitchen tools, check annaolson.ca for availability. “I narrowed it down by looking at what I use on a regular basis and why I like the design of the tools I favour,” says Olson.

The result is a 23-piece collection that includes steel baking pans, sheets, measuring spoons and cups, BPA-free silicone and hardwood spatulas and spoons, and other baking and icing gear.

Tools typically on hand in the pro’s kitchen, says Olson, include a rasp, mini-chopper, silicone spatulas, mandolin, and stand mixer, the latter being a permanent fixture on her own counter.

Olson replaced, however, a food processor with a highpowered blender, because she never used the slicing or grating attachments on the food processor, and finds the blender does such a stunning job of puréeing soups and sauces, and makes the smoothest hummus.

Olson’s aim was to combine great performance and longevity in kitchen tools.


Olson’s not alone—foodies (and smoothie lovers) have, over the last few years, enthusiastically embraced blenders. Many seem to be fans of Vitamix’s lineup, which includes the Ascent blender, whose two-horsepower motor supports five program settings and 10 speeds, and is blessedly easy to clean.

Because Olson likes kitchen tools with multiple uses, her silicone trivets will be versatile, designed to hold hot baking pans, serve as flexible pot holders, keep a mixing bowl in place, or grip and loosen a tightly-sealed jar lid.

Many chefs say the practice of mise en place (French for putting everything—from pre-measured chopped garlic/onion/ginger to whisked egg or flour for a gravy—in small bowls in preparation for cooking) can dramatically improve results for the home chef.

Perfect for this are ramekins, which are also useful for serving condiments or toppings on the table. Small footprint and very affordable, four stackable ceramic ramekins from Quebec-based chef Ricardo sell for about $15 at Kitchen Stuff Plus.

Olson’s oval measuring spoons are designed to fit into narrow jar openings.


Little details make a big difference to food prep and cleanup. A professional kitchen, for example, is never short of clean dishcloths. Similarly, having lots of absorbent, quick-drying towels makes work easier. Greener than paper towels, they too have multiple uses, such as drying and storing greens, covering dishes or cradling bread in a bowl.

Look for both from Euroscrubby; they have super-absorbent dishcloths ($6) and towels (a generous 19 by 28 inches) made in Lithuania from a cotton/linen blend ($13), and decorated with quaint designs that will make you smile.

For Olson, another simple, but absolutely essential, kitchen tool is an ergonomic rolling pin. “It instils confidence in your pastry. I like to use a French-style, tapered rolling pin. It has no handles on the ends; your hands are on top of the pin, so you can feel the pastry better as you roll.”

Vicky Sanderson

Annaolson.ca, euroscrubby.com, kitchenstuffplus.com, vitamix.ca


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A modern take on traditional sinks

Kitchen Trends

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Kitchen Trends

A modern take on traditional sinks

Highlighting a contemporary spin on a classic farmhouse design, the new Pekoe apron front kitchen sinks from American Standard offer smart features and timeless beauty that coordinates with modern appliances. Handcrafted from durable, 18-gauge stainless steel — which is naturally stain, heat, and chip-resistant — the new Pekoe kitchen sinks offer a generously-sized single basin to accommodate large pots and pans.

Pekoe sinks feature brand-exclusive SoundSecure+ rubber padding on the bottom and sides of the sink, helping to prevent unwanted noise and vibration. Additionally, the unique StoneLock insulated undercoating further helps to absorb sound and minimize condensation underneath the basin.

Expertly designed 10mm rounded corners simplify cleaning, while channel grooves at the sink base provide improved drainage.

The stainless steel Pekoe apron front kitchen sinks — available in 30-inch and 33-inch sizes — are finished on three sides to provide installation flexibility. The integrated support at the back of the sink enhances strength and durability. A coordinated strainer, installation instructions, cutout template and stainless steel protective bottom grid are included with each sink for convenience.

These apron front models join an already-established collection of Pekoe stainless steel sinks, available in sizes ranging from 17 inches to 23 inches.

List prices range from $950 to $999.

MeasureFill Faucet

The new Beale MeasureFill pull-down kitchen faucet from American Standard is the first on the market to deliver an adjustable set volume of water on demand.

This contemporary styled, high-arch faucet streamlines cooking and baking tasks, while helping to reduce clutter in the kitchen – no measuring cups needed. The faucet delivers an exact volume of water, ranging from a half cup to up to five cups, achieving a precise measurement faster than using a conventional measuring cup. No more filling, checking, pouring out or rechecking needed to get the exact amount of water for a recipe.

For ease of use, a blue LED light illuminates the dial window and volume marks when the measuring function is in use. The selection dial features a stylish, coin edge detail, which helps to improve grip and ensures an accurate setting of the desired water amount.

Designed with the user’s convenience in mind, the Beale MeasureFill faucet features easy touch on/off functionality. A simple touch of the hand or wrist on the dial window is all it takes to operate the faucet. Featuring an automatic shut-off after five minutes for safety, this faucet also offers a temperature memory setting that allows the water to be turned off and back on in any temperature setting.

The faucet offers a choice of two spray patterns — stream and spray — using a water-conserving flow rate of 1.5 gallons per minute (gpm). To complement a variety of kitchen decors, the Beale MeasureFillTM is available in a choice of two popular finishes — polished chrome and stainless steel — to easily coordinate with contemporary-styled kitchen appliances and accessories.

The faucet is powered by replaceable AAA batteries and can optionally be outfitted with an AC adapter (sold separately) to make the faucet a plug-in version. List prices range from $775 to $999.



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Active Home : Island Hopping

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Active Home : Island Hopping

Where Guests Come To Gather

By Jane Lockhart

Photo, John Heineman/courtesy of Sorbara Group of Companies

In Europe, the kitchen island has become the true heart of the home. This, once-functional, piece anchored the kitchen, but it has now been elevated to a more social, and visual, status. It’s become the central focus of the room where everyone gathers to eat, drink and interact. In Canada, we’re not far behind.


Photography, Brandon Barre

On a recent visit to the biennial international EuroCuccina2018 show in Milan, Italy, I got a peak into the future. The show attracts innovative kitchen and bathroom manufacturers from around the world.

Revered for their cuisine, many European countries revolve around the social aspect of breaking bread together. What I noticed in Europe, is that the islands tended to dominate the room, while the kitchen faded into the background. Some were sleek, others custom-designed, but all of them elevated the kitchen to another level. Not only was the island a serviceable work zone, but it was a highly desirable entertainment centre.


Some trends were pure fun, like pop-up bars from the depths of the island counter. With the push of a button, a square section of the counter rose up, revealing a well-lit, multi-tiered bar – complete with bottles and glasses. What looked to be a large box with French doors, opened to reveal a modern, functional, u-shaped kitchen, complete with a wine fridge.

Photography, Gillian Jackson


Kitchens are becoming a seamless blend of neutrality. Built-in appliances were panelled to match unembellished cabinetry. Door handles, knobs and pulls were minimal. Nor was there upper cabinetry. Ergonomically speaking, tall, upper cabinetry is not convenient, especially when it comes to Universal Design – design for all abilities. Instead, open shelving with decorative displays were the norm, and plant walls were very fashionable. The kitchen, as we know it, was receding into the background, and the emphasis was now on a custom designed, finely crafted piece of furniture, that also coordinated with the main living area.

Photography, Gillian Jackson


In the popular T.V. Series, Downton Abbey, the upstairs/downstairs philosophy positioned the kitchen out of sight from the aristocratic residents. Modern culture brought the kitchen into open-concept floorplans, so that families could interact during meal preparation. However, it made it impossible to shut the door on an untidy kitchen.

While trends aren’t going back as far as the scullery days, steps were being taken to keep the messy work behind closed doors. Additional pantries, and expanded pantries, were being added for storage, prep and clean-up. Counters accommodated smaller, working appliances, and much of the food preparation was performed behind closed doors.


Islands still included sinks, but they were equipped with covers that hid the functional components – seamlessly. Island cooktops were still popular, but induction-based models were the norm, so that the heat didn’t transfer to other surfaces. Once, a very functional, and often decorative, feature, vent hoods were now being replaced with downdraft systems that disappeared when not in use.

Gone were the all-white kitchens. Grey and black, mixed with natural or dark wood tones, were popular choices, and the islands were often a complete contrast to the finish of the built-in walls. Beautifully-crafted drawers, of varying depths and sizes, as well as customized niches and task lighting, all added to the island charm.

Photography, Gillian Jackson

“The kitchen, as we know it, is receding into the background.”


Many kitchens featured a second island – one that was dedicated to functionality, and the other for entertaining. The second island also provided extra seating, and was used for displaying objects d’art, and served as a bar and buffet table when hosting social gatherings. Underneath the second island, extra storage housed serving ware, as well as bar fridges and warming drawers for hors d’oeuvres.

Photography, Gillian Jackson

In Canada, we still like our appliances and give them prominent space. Europeans have always been in awe of the size of our refrigerators and cookers. Much of this has to do with the way that we shop for, and prepare, our meals. We can always learn a thing, or two, from our neighbours across the pond – especially when adopting new traditions.

Jane Lockhart, B.A.A.I.D., is a multi-award winning designer, author and television personality. Jane Lockhart Interior Design janelockhart.com


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Kitchen Solutions Help Solve and Serve a Purpose in The Home

Kitchen Solutions Help Solve and Serve a Purpose in The Home

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Kitchen Solutions Help Solve and Serve a Purpose in The Home

Add these kitchen solutions incorporating safety into your home routine helping you prep, cook and serve meals enjoying get-togethers with family and friends year round.

Don’t get caught off guard by a sharp kitchen knife again! Use Sink Safe!

When you’re working in the kitchen, do you ever feel like you don’t know where to safely lay down used or dirty knives? You don’t want to leave them on the cutting board or counter for a child to grab. You don’t want to put them in the sink where dirty dishes or soapy water could conceal them. The danger of someone accidentally cutting themselves is a real problem, especially with children in the home. With the brand NEW Sink Safe knife caddy there’s a convenient place to store your kitchen knives, and even corn cob holders, out of harm’s way between cooking and clean-up.   The unique design allows your sudsy water to seep in and soak your knives safely until you’re ready to put them away or use them again.  In addition to protecting your hands and your loved ones, it also helps protect the knives themselves. Hand washing is the best way to keep expensive cutlery in top shape.


Rapid Slicer helps safely slice small fruits and veggies!

Spend more time enjoying your guests as food preparation is made even more simple with this NEW innovation! The Rapid Slicer is the most handy kitchen solution we’ve all been looking for to hold small fruits and veggies, and meat in place while we slice them up safely! Take a time-consuming task and speed it up easily slicing up fresh cherry tomatoes, grapes, olives and more in a group at once. Rapid Slicer was designed with non-slip feet and sits stationary on the counter as you slice and the lid protects your hand from the knife blade. For small fruits and veggies like cherry tomatoes, grapes and olives, it can hold up to 2 cups! For meat, it can hold 2 chicken breasts, and feel free to thinly slice meats evenly that you and your family most prefer. The Rapid Slicer is easy to clean and top-rack dishwasher safe. FDA approved kitchen grade BPA-free material, and safe for food contact.


Calamityware Porcelain-ware adds a flair!

Add unique serving-ware to any occasion or get-together serving and setting the table with options like the Dinosaur Gangs-All-Here platter, shallow bowls with a surprise fly and small plates with ants! Invite, intrigue and welcome your guests to get together with these porcelain-plates as conversation pieces created with hidden pictures created by Calamityware! Offer home-entertaining inside and out with a whimsical and clever spin on the traditional looking porcelain serving-ware with full dinner sets also unexpectedly decorated with scenes of sea monster creatures, giant robots, frogs, Sasquatch and more worked into the designs! Encourage the lighter side of dinner conversations serving up festive feasts and delicious recipes at family gatherings with a fun-filled experience with Calamityware!



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The Future Of Kitchens

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The Future Of Kitchens

By Mauricio Guitron
photo courtesy Irpinia Kitchens

Innit is a food platform that has connected the entire food journey. According to them, home renovators and builders need to look to the future when planning their kitchen remodel, or it might soon become obsolete.

Here are five ways to make sure you “future-proof” any kitchen remodel:

Similar to how we use platforms that manage our living room entertainment, connecting our music, tv shows, movies and games, our kitchens will soon be managed by platforms that help plan, grocery shop, prepare and cook.

Download apps that help you control your kitchen with your voice, such as those you can direct to turn your oven on remotely, get video instructions on mastering common cooking techniques, or even receive step-by-step cooking guidance.

If your new kitchen appliances can’t connect to the Internet, they’re already outdated. Connectivity (which comes at a relatively low price point) allows ovens to control the baking for you—simplifying the cooking process and creating a more flavorful version of your dish.

When choosing a countertop skip the stone and opt for Smart countertops. Appliances suitable for these countertops can run right on the surface, creating new meaning to “added surface space.”

There are many appliances that are now wireless and compatible with smart countertops (that charge them). A wireless kitchen reduces the number of cords, which is extremely important near kitchen sinks!

Innit is a centralized platform that connects the eating ecosystem in the kitchen — planning, shopping, prepping, and cooking. It provides an instant kitchen upgrade—from streamlining the meal process with personalized meal recommendations to helping control wifi-enabled appliances.

For further information visit http//:www.innit.com.


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Designer Touch: Lakeside Living

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Designer Touch: Lakeside Living

An empty nest couple elevate their lakeside home to accentuate the view and accommodate easy entertaining

By. Gabriele Pizzale

Photography By: Mike Chajecki

Blessed with an abundance of friends and five grown children who visit often, this couple with two dogs craved an open-concept home that could accommodate easy entertaining; the fact that the house backs onto Lake Ontario is an added bonus. To do justice to the gorgeous lakeside view, this tired, old bungalow received a major facelift, alongside a generous bedroom addition. All new millwork, finishes and furniture basically transformed the entire home.


As their designers, we were excited to go on this journey with them, and create a very welcoming design that is also polished. They wanted a west-coast feel, which worked well because it is a waterfront property. This earthy design scheme, with a touch of rustic charm, allowed for the interiors to complement the beautiful outdoors. The view of the lake is breathtaking, and the sunrises are outstanding. Therefore, installing new floor-to-ceiling windows ensured that the homeowners could enjoy the scenery to the fullest extent. By choosing a black frame on all the windows, we not only updated the space, but this colour choice makes the view pop out of a framed-like picture hanging on the wall!


To separate the two-storey entrance from the sitting room, we installed an MDF screen as a room divider. This creates a cosy nook to snuggle and watch TV in. Soft-linen sheers are used throughout the space; they diffuse the light and provide some privacy when needed. Walnut, live-edge wood and natural fabrics create a warm and inviting space.


The kitchen is the focal point of the main floor, as it is open to every other room. Its cabinetry has walnut-slab doors, which are accented with dark-charcoal gables in the lower half; the same dark charcoal was applied to the island to ground it. The two quartz countertops from Cambria are contrasted in colour to add visual interest. We selected Harlech for the island because it has amazing movement to it, and it offers a bit of sparkle, which appealed to the homeowner’s glamorous side. The minimal hardware of brushed nickel was purposeful, as to not take away from the gorgeous walnut grain of the cabinetry.


A large, square walnut dining table and grand banquette allow for a maximum number of guests at the table. It is cosy yet spacious. The same fabric was used on the dining chairs, counter stools as well as the banquette; it is a practical fabric that can be spot-cleaned if necessary, always handy when a space gets a lot of use!


Lighting is such an important aspect of any project; we always strive to source something unique and unexpected. Scale is also key, bigger is better! For this project, we wanted the rustic elements to soften some of the more modern lines of the furniture and millwork.


Getting lost in the view is easy to do. The colours of nature are reflected in the fabrics of the upholstery, which are all sourced from Kravet and offer a relaxed luxury. Solid-coloured sofa and chairs are enlivened with cutvelvet cushions that play off the abstract rug. An added bonus of this rug is that it will hide a multitude of sins, like dog footprints.


With all the entertaining they do, the couple needs an oasis to call their own, and their master bedroom addition fits the bill perfectly as the ultimate retreat. From the moment you enter the room, you see the distinct accent wall of modular walnut slats. The room is quite spacious, with larger scale furniture filling it, yet it still feels cosy. The chairs were completely restyled and recovered, giving the existing furniture new life. Custom nightstands were designed to echo the side table. The lavish vaulted ceiling called for an impactful light fixture, this one is a combination of rustic sophistication. Kravet fabric was also used to make the unique custom cushions on this king-sized bed.


No master suite would be complete without a stunning bathroom. When we saw this tile we knew it was perfect for the space. It resembles worn barn board, but had a light feel so the vibe would still remain fresh. Custom vanities in white oak, stained soft grey were a good balance to the oil-rubbed bronze faucets and accessories. We especially love the oil rubbed bronze frame in the shower, which mimics the black window frames in the rest of the house.

Pale Oak – Benjamin Moore


When guests come to stay, they have the luxury of their very own bathroom. This main bath has an inlay of mosaic tile that encompass all the colours of the home. Oil-rubbed bronze faucets create a nice contrast to the light finishes. The worn-wood mirror frame and sea-inspired artwork are both reminiscent of the lake. All of these elements created a comfortable and welcoming bath for guests to use.


These homeowners were a joy to work with and so appreciative of their new home. They are a down-to-earth couple who didn’t want a fussy look but certainly are at a stage in their life to have a sophisticated space. The wide-open plan and incredible lake view certainly contribute to the wow-factor in their home. Natural and practical fabrics, walnut wood and clean lines create a timeless beauty they can enjoy for years to come.


FABRICS Kravet; COUNTERS Cambria; PAINT OC 20 Pale Oak Benjamin Moore; TILE Ciot Furniture SITTING ROOM SIDE TABLES Crate & Barrel; STOOLS and DINING CHAIRS ISA International Inc.; SOFA, Upholstered CHAIRS Kravet; NIGHT STANDS Geovin; LIGHTING KITCHEN ISLAND Kichler Lighting; DINING TABLE, MASTER BATH Elk Lighting; LAMPS Uttermost Lighting; MAIN BATH Hinkley Lighting CARPETS Surya; PLUMBING FIXTURES Kitchen Pfister; BATH Delta

Pizzale Design Inc. loves to infuse colour and pattern into every project, while offering liveable luxury. Most important is their process for design and efficient project management, which bring your vision to life. You may recognize Gabriele Pizzale from her 12-year stint as a design expert on Cityline. gabrielepizzaledesign.ca


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Design: Colourful Kitchens!

DESIGN: Colourful Kitchens!

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DESIGN: Colourful Kitchens!

by Linda Mazur

Kitchens are moving away from simple whites and stainless appliances to a world made of colour, personality and statement-making designs. Kitchens are still the heart of any home, but they have also matured to a space in the home that supports not only the functional aspects, but family life as well as casual entertaining; and as such adding a kick to your kitchen designs with colour can yield huge returns on the design front.

Neutral and white kitchens will always continue to maintain their popularity. The traditional white cabinetry may seem “safe,” but let’s face it … kitchens are an expensive and time-consuming room to renovate, therefore staying relatively neutral can allow you to maximize the longevity of your space and your investment. However, neutral does not need to equal boring.

There are many ways to inject colour in to your kitchen space. From the new popularity of coloured cabinetry, to accessories and coloured appliances, kitchens are developing a life and personality all their own. One colour that we are seeing in everything from faucets to lighting, hardware to appliances is matte black. Matte black adds an element of drama and yet simplicity, modernism and yet a traditional classical feel. Whether your comfort level allows for matte black appliances, or simply a touch of it in your hardware or lighting, matte black undeniably will elevate your kitchen from lifeless neutrals to bold and impactful.

The same can be said for the addition of gold tones to your kitchen design. This warm metal has been appearing in bright tones, aged finishes and one of my personal faves – the unlacquered brass version. Unlacquered brass has a look and feel all its own. Its warm, less formal than polished nickel, less typical than chrome. This finish is organic and ever-evolving. The absence of the lacquer allows the durable solid brass to naturally age over time and develop a beautiful unique patina of colour and texture.

If you are on the hunt for a more whimsical or edgier feel to your kitchen design, then perhaps a brightly coloured gas range from Bertazzoni is more to your liking; or you may want to add a touch of character with a brightly coloured backsplash … either way the injection of colour will not go unnoticed.

Whatever your own personal style, one thing for certain colour has become a strong influencer in the kitchen. Find your inspiration and comfort with colour; and look to inject some life in to your kitchen. Whether it’s simply richly coloured fabrics and wallpaper, a bright yellow gas range or deep earthy green cabinetry that will give your kitchen some character … undoubtedly the new look of your kitchen will be a colourful one!

Linda Mazur is a nationally publicized designer and Principal of Linda Mazur Design Group.

With almost two decades of experience this in demand multi-disciplinary design firm is known for creating relaxed stylish spaces and full-scale design builds within Toronto, the GTA and throughout Canada.




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Design: Sinks, Faucets and Countertops ... the Choices are Endless

Design: Sinks, Faucets and Countertops … the Choices are Endless

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Design: Sinks, Faucets and Countertops … the Choices are Endless

by Linda Mazur
Photography by Stephani Buchman and Jason Hartog

Kitchens are one of my favourite rooms to design and with the abundance of options available to us today, kitchens are more exciting than ever! From a multitude of colourful options and wonderfully organic finishes for our faucets, to virtually indestructible materials for our sinks and counters, the choices we have are enough to make our heads spin!

Today the traditional double bowl stainless sink has been pushed aside for options that offer greater style and function, that are designed to not only make our lives simple, but our kitchens look far more attractive. From different finish options other than the classic stainless steel, to a wide selection of colour, shape and size options sinks today have progressed to become a stylish feature instead of just a utilitarian necessity. And, for those of us who are smallspace dwellers, many manufacturers have designed sinks that pull double duty to increase the efficiency in your kitchen. When counterspace is at a premium, these sink options allow you to expand your work surface with add-on accessories such as grid trays, cutting boards, colanders and drain boards. Blanco Canada, one of these great sink manufacturers, offers us both an innovative and well-designed product line. One of my particular favourites – the Ikon apron sink or “farm house sink – is very much en-pointe in kitchen design this year. This sink offers great lines and a slightly tapered profile that gives us a rather modern approach to a traditional classic.

Brass is back with a vengeance and is one of the hottest metals moving forward in kitchen design. This is not the shiny yellow brass of decades past, but rather an unlacquered brass with its beautifully aged and antiqued finish that we are now seeing. This unlacquered brass has a look and feel all its own. It’s warm, less formal than polished nickel, less typical than chrome. This finish is organic and is sometimes referred to as a “living finish”. Because of the absence of the lacquer the durable solid brass is permitted to naturally age over time to develop a beautiful unique patina of colour and texture, that is forgiving of water stains. It offers sophistication, old world charm and yet modernism, and is a wonderful option for your kitchen faucet. Also hot in the world of faucets is colour! Fun can be had with a multitude of colour options for your faucets, but what is most striking is the return of matte black – a chic and classy addition to any kitchen.

We have a long list of options available to us today for countertops. From traditional granite and the ever-classic natural marble, to quartz, wood, and concrete – a trendy option for your kitchen. This year we are also introduced to a new product – Laminam. This is a stain, scratch and heat resistant countertop option that achieves the beauty of natural stone, wood and concrete and requires no maintenance.

With advanced technology and designs that enhance functionality and durability, these new product options will not only look great in our homes, but also add ease and simplicity to our everyday lives. If you’re looking to renovate your space, do a bit of research and consider some of the new and wonderful products on the market today …. sinks, faucets and countertops are not what they used to be!

Linda Mazur is a nationally publicized designer and Principal of Linda Mazur Design Group.

With almost two decades of experience this in demand multi-disciplinary design firm is known for creating relaxed stylish spaces and full-scale design builds within Toronto, the GTA and throughout Canada.




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Cover Story: Kitchen Gold

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Cover Story: Kitchen Gold

A condo kitchen redesign adds substantial space and sparkles with slick style

By Yanic Simard • Photography By Valerie Wilcox

They say good things come to those who wait, and this gold-touched kitchen is no exception. I’ve seen time and time again that the best results come with a little patience. After all, a kitchen renovation is a major long-term investment, so it shouldn’t be rushed. I recommend that you plan for your project to include a few bumps in the road, and take plenty of time to prepare your design—and you can begin with some of these personality packed ideas taken from a recent Toronto Interior Design Group renovation.


We had big goals for this kitchen, but we still started with the fundamentals. A good work triangle for any kitchen should have the fridge, oven, and sink within nine feet of each other, to reduce the time spent moving between these essential stations. To follow this, we located the cooktop directly opposite the sink, and the fridge and a wall oven just to the side, with storage pushed farther out to the edges.

It’s important to remember that your work triangle shouldn’t be too small either—leaving some counter space between each station is important for being able to set down a dish or ingredient and use the station properly, so aim to have these areas more than four feet apart.


Designer tricks can make a space visually open up, but at just seven and a half feet long, this kitchen needed to truly grow outwards. By extending the pantry wall and island-dining zone to one side, and the fridge and oven wall to the other, we added an additional 20 feet! We also opened up the wall in front of the sink station, so the kitchen is three times as large but feels even bigger.

A few other details that helped this kitchen look larger than life was choosing cabinet fronts with integrated pulls, so no hardware projects into the space. We included both recessed lights over the central hub, and a modern track in the centre, to illuminate all angles. Also, the upper cabinets over the cooktop start almost 30” above the counter— instead of the typical 18” to 20”—so when you’re working in the central hub you have plenty of breathing room.


Opening up that wall at the sink area was no easy feat: the wall contained conduits that linked to other units, which had to be re-routed, requiring a lengthy discovery process, and quite a few trades and specialists. If you’re looking to seriously renovate any kitchen—especially a condo kitchen—plan for the process to take three times as long as you think.

In other rooms, a few fun accessories or a coat of paint can bring instant design gratification, but in a kitchen or bath you should be aiming to get it right the first time and achieve long-term satisfaction. Think big, and give the project the time it needs (six months+ from conception to completion), even if that means taking an extra few months, or even a year, to build up your budget and your bank of ideas.


In many ways, this kitchen uses a classic palette—plenty of fresh white and metallics—but not necessarily where you would expect. Applying a bronze-foil finish to the central cabinet doors, and a white faucet and wall oven, reverses expectations and adds lots of personality. We used the dramatic cabinet application sparingly to create a jewelry-like accent—with the finish extended to the toe-kicks elsewhere for a subtle sense of continuation.

An important angle here was the side of the kitchen, as it is the first point you see when entering the area—so we made the end of the breakfast bar a delicious feature, with the waterfall edge of marble wrapping from the counter down to the floor. Combined with a casually leaning art piece, this zone becomes a focal point all its own, even before you get a peek of the full kitchen beyond.


We weren’t looking to use bold colours in this space, so it was extra important to enrich the monochromatic palette with plenty of texture. The herringbone floors, broad-veined stone, neoclassical wall mouldings, geometric sheer draperies, velvet and wool seats, bentwood stools, and many sculptural black accents, all give the space a rich and complex visual palette, while still feeling clean and serene.

I am personally not an advocate of popcorn ceilings, and neither was this client, so we exposed the concrete ceiling hiding above to bring an industrial twist to the room, a greater sense of height, and yet another architectural texture. A smooth drywall bulkhead over the counters allowed for recessed lighting, and defines those more intimate areas in a subtle way.

SOURCES: PAINT: Walls throughout main space, 2124-70 Distant Gray, Benjamin Moore APPLIANCES: Dishwasher, Miele Refrigerator, Bosch; Oven, KitchenAid; Microwave, Panasonic CABINETRY: Custom-made, mix of high-gloss white and bronzy gold metal laminate COUNTER TOPS: Custom sintered surface (Carrara marble replica) FLOORS: Blonde herringbone from Europe custom order; all custom items through Toronto Interior Design Group tidg.ca

Yanic Simard is the founder and owner of the petite boutique interior design firm Toronto Interior Design Group. He has over two decades of experience in the interior design/build business and has made his mark in the industry across Canada due to his concentrated industry knowledge, and abundance of unique design ideas.


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Designer Touch: Cooking With Character

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Designer Touch: Cooking With Character

By Rebecca Hay • Photography By Stephani Buchman

A blend of traditional, contemporary and vintage touches, create a personality-packed kitchen

Nothing beats a good kitchen renovation. Especially one that transforms the way you use your home. This personality packed kitchen makes a statement and yet provides much needed functionality for a young family.

When we were approached to renovate and design the main floor of this Riverdale family home in Toronto’s East end, the couple was pregnant with their second child. This resulted in a tight timeline to make a major transformation. The family had lived in the home for three years before they decided to make some big changes, and knew exactly what they wanted as a result. A growing young family, with no plans to move in the near future, they needed an updated space and an open-concept kitchen for cooking and entertaining.


The home is a semi-detached Victorian with great historic features and good bones. Its ’90s-style kitchen had crumbling maple cabinets, terracota floors and oodles of wasted space. It even featured a terracotta-tiled countertop! The busy couple wanted a more functional, open-concept kitchen, suitable for raising their children and entertaining friends. Space planning was key to creating a functional layout. By tearing down the wall between the kitchen and dining area, we were able to create the large open space that the family desired. After assessing all our layout options, we decided on a peninsula versus an island. This created a U-shaped kitchen where the cook of the family (in this case, the husband) could slave away without interference by dinner guests… or little feet!


The current pantry was previously a lonely, empty wall with nothing but a small table leaning up against it and a pile of shoes. During construction we discovered there was space between the exterior wall and interior framing, so we moved some ductwork and gained almost a foot of extra space. This allowed us to make the kitchen bigger and provided space for the custom pantry with lots of storage. The full-height cabinets house a broom closet, pull-out shelves, cupboards for small appliances, and a nook for coats and shoes. Since the family has laneway parking and generally enters the house through the back door, the mini-mudroom was a must.


In addition to being extremely functional, we wanted the space to make a statement, while still being consistent with the character of the home. We chose a mix of traditional and contemporary elements, vintage touches and pops of colour to create an inviting and unique space. The rich blue cabinetry adds colour and depth, while the mosaic marble backsplash adds luxurious texture and interest. It also hides any water splatters or mess. The marble ties in seamlessly with the sleek white quartz countertops and Silgranit white sink. Hits of yellow and brass establish the fun and polished esthetic.

Vintage details help this new kitchen blend effortlessly into its surroundings. The school housestyle pendants and handmade wood shelves add an old-world feel. While the detailing on the walnut stools also has a trendy yet timeless appeal. The shelves and bench were handmade by the homeowner’s mother, and are a perfect personal touch.


Pops of yellow make a bold statement against the blue cabinets. The Roman shade adds colour and texture, and complements the custom yellow leather stools. A lot of time was spent searching for the perfect counter stools. The original design had wooden stools that we ordered and ended up returning because they didn’t make the right statement. Sometimes you have to be fluid with design and recognize when something just isn’t quite right. When we couldn’t find the perfect stool, I decided to design a custom one. They ended up being the showstoppers and the proverbial icing on the cake. The stools tie all the design elements together.

The end result is a personality-packed kitchen full of all the modern amenities and conveniences of modern family life.


DESIGN, Rebecca Hay Designs, rebeccahaydesigns.com CONTRACTING, TriMatrix Construction WALL PAINT Benjamin Moore 2125-60 Marilyn’s Dress CABINETRY PAINT, HC-155 Newburyport Blue & CC-40 Cloud White COUNTERTOPS, Caesarstone Canada BACKSPLASH TILES, Marble Granite Depot REFRIGERATOR, Oven, Range, Jenn-Air DISHWASHER, Whirlpool FAUCET, Delta STOOL FABRIC, Designer Fabrics CUSTOM STOOLS, Rebecca Hay Designs ROMAN SHADE, Tonic Living PENDANT LIGHTS, The Door Store CABINETRY HARDWARE, Upper Canada Specialty Hardware

Designer Rebecca Hay, Principal Designer of Rebecca Hay Designs Inc., is a Toronto-based boutique design firm offering complete design & renovation services for residential, commercial and vacation properties for over a decade. Known and celebrated for her design work and appearances on various acclaimed HGTV shows, Rebecca and her team design classic, livable spaces that reflect the homeowner’s personality. Servicing clientele throughout Toronto, the GTA and Canada. rebeccahaydesigns.com


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