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Home Finds - Apr/May2021

Make your kitchen your favourite room with these home finds!

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Make your kitchen your favourite room with these home finds!

A kitchen reno is no small task. But like a lot of things in life that are hard, the reward is worth it! The details are what can really elevate the design. So, take your time and choose elements that will help make your kitchen your favourite room in the house.


The Whitelight collection is the latest array of quartz countertops from Caesarstone. The collection is all about light, neutral colours that enhance the movement and drama of natural stone.

5171 ARBETTO. caesarstone.ca

Cook with care

Caraway’s ceramic cookware not only looks cool, it’s also nontoxic, eco-friendly and naturally non-stick. This well-designed set will be your go-to for all your cooking needs.

CERAMIC COOKWARE SET in navy by Caraway. $575. indigo.ca

Organic dinnerware

We love this handcrafted, organic stoneware dinner collection from Oui. Modern, durable and stylish – it’s perfect for everyday use.

$12-$60. indigo.ca

Colourful small appliances

While stainless steel kitchen accents continue to dominate, colourful small appliances are quietly making a comeback. We adore this retro-inspired light green collection by Haden – guaranteed to add a unique look.

Silt green Dorchester TOASTER, DRIP COFFEE MAKER AND KETTLE by Haden. $150-$180. crateandbarrel.ca

Bold backsplash

Create a statement wall in your kitchen by backsplash.

Tofino TERRAZZO cement tile. Spoons SQUARE cement tile. Peak line HEXAGON choosing bold tiles for your cement tile. From $9. geontile.com

Indigo cutlery

Trade your traditional silver cutlery set for one with a punch of colour. Our top pick? This cool indigo shade guaranteed to kick up your tablescape.

Glamour 5-piece STAINLESS STEEL FLATWARE SET. $92. wayfair.ca

A winning faucet

Select a faucet that not only matches your kitchen’s aesthetic, but also has the functionality you need. Whether your preference is bronze, silver or gold, the faucet is one of the most used items in the kitchen, so, choose wisely!

BRONZE: Arbour oil rubbed bronze one-handle high arc MOTIONSENSE PULLDOWN KITCHEN FAUCET. $618. moen.ca

SILVER: Purist SINGLEHOLE KITCHEN SINK FAUCET with pullout spout and ProMotion by Kohler. $633. wayfair.ca

GOLD: Satin gold PULLDOWN KITCHEN FAUCET. $239. bathdepot.ca

Style file

Cabinets and hardware to inspire a kitchen update.

TRADITIONAL: FLORENCE DOOR in white matte thermofoil by Eurostyle. $62. homedepot.ca Weston collection brushed gold contemporary CABINET KNOB by Richelieu. $5. homedepot.ca

ECLECTIC: BODARP DOOR in grey green. $50. ikea.ca. GREEN AGATE KNOB. $30. cb2.ca

MID-CENTURY MODERN: HASSLARP DOOR. $88. ikea.ca. Demi half-moon brass and black marble knob. $14. cb2.ca

Table talk

Do you have an eat-in kitchen? A sustainably sourced wooden table adds a beautiful natural element to the space with lower impact to the environment.

1. Whitestone OVAL LARGE DINING TABLE. $3,429. westofmain.com

2. Mid-century EXPANDABLE DINING TABLE in walnut. $1,049-$1,349. westelm.ca

3. Griffin reclaimed WOOD DINING TABLE. $2,940. potterybarn.ca

Kitchen clean-up

Libman, maker of thoughtfully designed and environmentally conscious cleaning tools, celebrates its 125th anniversary this year. Marking the milestone, fourth-generation CEO, Andrew Libman, shares his three favourite finds for embracing the mess and keeping kitchens clean:

1. KITCHEN BRUSH: Scrubbing everything from pots and pans to root vegetables, it’s the most versatile kitchen tool, hands down.

2. PRECISION ANGLE BROOM & DUSTPAN: With bristles made from recycled water bottles, flagged tips ensure the tiniest of food waste is picked up the first time.

3. FREEDOM SPRAY MOP: This handy mop with its reusable microfibre pad is ideal for sudden spills requiring swift action. Plus, the refillable tank empowers you to use your preferred cleaning solution. libman.com

Warm modern

This gorgeous kitchen combines so many modern design elements that will be popular in 2021. From streamlined design to mixed metals, interesting stone and tile work, warm wood details and a touch of black – it’s a perfect mod mix.


Interior design: MICHAEL GODMER

Designer tiles: Custom-made stone mosaic designed by CIOT STUDIO artisans.

Counter, backsplash and island in Maxfine porcelain. ciot.com

The organized pantry

We all aspire to have the kind of organized pantry that would make Jamie Oliver proud. These items will help get you started on the right track.

1. Yamazaki tosca slim white STORAGE BASKET. $49. crateandbarrel.ca

2. Modular GLASS CANISTERS by Marie Kondo. $16-$25. containerstore.com

3. WIre STORAGE BASKET. $25. homesense.ca

4. Progressive prokeeper CEREAL CONTAINER. $30. crateandbarrel.ca


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6 ways to modernize your kitchen on a budget

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6 ways to modernize your kitchen on a budget

By Jo Alcorn

Sometimes the best design decision is not to change things too much. Let me explain. I was recently working with a client who wanted to update her kitchen. She consulted with me to figure out how to spend her modest budget wisely while accomplishing a new look.


Like most people, her dream plan included replacing the cupboards to have more efficient storage. After an honest appraisal with a critical eye, I could see that wasn’t entirely necessary. She didn’t even need to paint them – she just needed to lighten the space up and get creative with functionality, and there were far less expensive and easier ways to do that. The overall footprint of the kitchen was good, so just a few adjustments to the cupboards were necessary. By adding Gliding Shelf Solutions (glidingshelf.ca) within the cabinets, we were able to solve the efficiency issue and add extra storage on a budget. Not having to do a full demolition of the existing kitchen put money back into the budget for what truly mattered, and splurging on the proper key elements.


Changing out the countertops was mandatory. We needed to lighten up the space to make it feel more open, and to balance the darkness of the cabinet colour. We chose Caesarstone’s (caesarstone.ca) Empira White marble quartz because of its classic white base with deep grey veins to accent and complement the cabinet colour. This beautiful countertop modernized their kitchen instantly. Plus, it’s durable and easy to clean, so it’s a perfect balance of fashion and function for a busy household.


This kitchen needed a new backsplash. We chose white, beveled edge subway tile for its timeless-simplicity, and to play off the new countertops. By using larger tiles, this kitchen kept its clean lines, but the tapered edge offered elegant detailing. The custom range hood became the focal point of this space. We removed the small useless cabinet above the metal range hood that was more of an eye-sore than a focal point. By making it white, it pulled the colour scheme of the kitchen together perfectly.

New appliances

A Whirlpool black stainless-steel kitchen suite (whirlpool.ca) kept the continuity of colour in this kitchen. I love to match cabinet colours and appliances whenever I can; making your appliances blend into the shades of the kitchen gives the illusion of a larger space. The appliances are fingerprint resistant, which helps keep things looking sleek and fresh with minimal upkeep. Having the counter-depth refrigerator further made the space more open and accessible. On top of that, the French door option allows for more clearance when the door is open, which makes it easier to have two people in the kitchen at once. While the kitchen used to have a microwave stand to the right of the range, replacing it with a custom wine rack, colourmatched to the cupboards, was far more visually appealing. Fear not, they still have a microwave – it’s tucked out of sight and utilizing a wasted corner.

Shelving with purpose

Notice the floating shelves? I removed the closed cabinets to modernize the look. By tiling that whole wall and adding the natural wood tone of the shelving it creates a more up to date, open look. I wanted to replace the tan floor tiles, but the cost, timing and mess didn’t warrant it. Instead, I used the shelves, chairs and accessories to tie it all together, making the floor seem more purposeful, instead of like the elephant in the room. It’s also nice to have an element from nature (wood) to help ground the space and add an organic feel to the design.

Finishing details

While the cupboards were able to be used, the hardware had to go. The new, modernized, brass handles were the perfect accents. And I was able to include a pendant light over the sink to match. I would have liked to include pendant lighting all around the kitchen, but the light locations didn’t align with the table, so this was a perfect compromise. As I shopped for the appliances, I found an ultra-useful stand mixer in blue, and I knew it would be so useful and fun for this busy family. I choose accent pieces like the dishware and vase in a coordinating blue. The floor runners also have a blue tie accent. While many people hesitate to include a runner in a kitchen, I love it. They keep your feet warm, add softness to the space and tie colours in. The secret is to buy ones that are machine washable.

I know this once basic builder kitchen has transformed into a kitchen that suits the family’s modern lifestyle. Remember, don’t be too quick to replace your entire kitchen; sometimes, a strategic update is the better way. And it can save you a bundle!

HGTV Jo Alcorn is an interior and product designer for Alcorn Home, she has a full home furnishing and pet line collection displayed and sold across Canada and the U.S. She is known for her clean line savvy design concepts. Alcornhome.com


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Kitchen refresh, seamless function and next-level upgrades

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Kitchen refresh, seamless function and next-level upgrades

Photography by Stephani Buchman

Seamless function and next-level upgrades enhance this sophisticated contemporary space

Have you ever walked through your home and suddenly felt like everything that used to make you happy just isn’t doing it for you anymore? Over time, our needs and tastes change and that once interesting trends may leave you feeling less than inspired and yearning for something new.

Certain elements, like the stove, combine all the finishes we worked with, allowing for the use of brass, chrome and black throughout the rest of the space.

In a world inundated with visual noise, more and more homeowners are looking for simplicity in design — from function to colour choices, door styles and trim. With so many design options nowadays, the job of a designer is to interpret those desires and turn them into tangible solutions with the right products to fulfill the homeowners’ esthetic and lifestyle needs.

Function first

This kitchen underwent a facelift, it was upgraded to improve function and esthetically shown some love circa the new millennium. The original space was in good shape and the floor plan worked but there were some serious issues that needed to be addressed.

When combining styles and mixing metals, focus on which metals look best on the chosen backdrop.

The original floor tiles were dated, however since the homeowners would be living on-site through the renovation, to minimize the mess, we opted for a new 6mm-thin, 30″ square porcelain tile with a subtle metallic sheen from Italy, which was expertly installed on top of the existing floor.

Contrast & finishes

The new perimeter white cabinets play against the rift-cut oak, flat-panelled cabinet doors of the island and fan hood, which were stained a dark grey to add visual contrast and depth. The darker elements were accented with chrome and the white cabinets feature brass hardware. Mixing metals and the juxtaposition of the black, brass and chrome against white and dark wood was incorporated with great care along with LED accent glass uppers, new fan hood and light fixtures.

Drawer dreams

To increase function and storage, new pot drawer cabinets were incorporated and equipped with drawer slides accented with glass to add elegance to everyday kitchen storage needs.

Cabinetry details & clearance

The upper cabinets, which once featured space for what we affectionately refer to as “dust-collectors” above the crown, were finished up to the ceiling with small, clear glass uppers inserted above the solid units to add visual interest and elegance. The depth of the coffee station was decreased, and the existing wine bar was moved into the island to allow for a more spacious and comfortable passage between the drink station and island seating. This allowed for further storage with both a decorative and functional display area above. The design for the hood was also brought to the ceiling, and the combustible materials that once sat far too close to the gas cooktop, were eliminated and streamlined for a sleeker, safer design.

Clutter-free counters

Quartz counters were added throughout and on the backsplash to provide a clean backdrop for the other elements in the space. The quartz provides an easy-to-care-for solution that doesn’t add visual clutter in the space.

The light fixtures are a nod to the dark finishes that were accented with chrome, while the white cabinets were given some warmth with the brass hardware.

The all-important details

Two statement pendants are centered over the island where a single chandelier once lived, and a soft graphic roman shade is centered over a new, clean black-framed picture window over the sink.

When undergoing a renovation, however small you may anticipate your needs to be, there are many moving parts and details to consider that may take more time and money than you originally anticipated. A seemingly small detail like continuing the existing crown across the uppers, for example, can require very detail-oriented design work and talented tradespeople to make it look seamless.

It’s important to trust the professionals you hire to make your dream a reality, then sit back and watch (as patiently as possible) while your dreams come true.

Cynthia Soda is owner, principal interior designer of Soda Pop Design Inc., a multi-disciplinary interior design firm providing complete custom renovation and design services for residential and commercial clients throughout the GTA. Soda Pop Design Inc. focuses on merging the client’s lifestyle, personality and architecture to create customized, liveable luxury. sodapopdesign.ca Instagram: @csodapop, Twitter: @sodapopdesign

SOURCES CABINETRY/MILLWORK, Pure Kitchens CABINET SYSTEMS, Grass FLOORS, Celebre Tile FRIDGE/ MICROWAVE, LG ISLAND BAR FRIDGE, Danby MARBLE HARDWARE, DRINK STATION/PANTRY, Berenson COUNTERS AND BACKSPLASH, Quartz Master Calacutta Paris & Alpine Grey GENERAL HARDWARE, Upper Canada Hardware LIGHTING, Hudson Valley LIGHTING SOUND PANELS, Control4 ESPRESSO COFFEE MACHINE/ TOASTER / SMALL APPLIANCES, Breville STOVE, Supreme FIREPLACES, Kastle Fireplaces CUSTOM WINDOWS & DOORS, Fieldstone Windows ISLAND CHAIR FABRIC, Alendel WINDOW COVERINGS, Starlight Drapery / Maxwell Fabrics CROWN, Classic Mouldings Inc. PAINTING, Final touch – Gray Owl 2137-60 Benjamin Moore ART WORK, PI Fine Art. Sodapop Construction Co., Jeff Baker Woodworks Custom Hood Fabrication


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Design 101: Made-To-Measure

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Design 101: Made-To-Measure

This baby bungalow gets a major function and style boost

By Cynthia Soda

Photography By Jason Hartog

It’s (now) safe to say that there’s no place like home for our newlywed clients, whose 1950s bungalow was in desperate need of updates in both style and function. What was once a “well-loved” piece of Toronto real estate is now a fresh, functional home, bursting with colour and personality on the inside.


It’s not about the amount of space you have, but what you do with it that makes the difference. When we attack a design project, we tend to think of each space as a puzzle. As soon as the pieces all fit together, we have the basis to add the fun to the function. With the main floor at a scant 710 square feet, our small space included a front entrance, side entrance and stairwell (with landing), kitchen, living room, dining room, two bedrooms and a main bathroom. Each space was separated into zones of use, which created small rooms that weren’t conducive to the homeowners’ modern living requirements. To add to the challenge, there were architectural elements in place (like the stairwell opening taking up valuable kitchen cupboard space) that provided some opportunities to get creative with design solutions.

“It’s not about the amount of space you have, but what you do with it that makes the difference.”


The main concern was squeezing every functional ounce out of the available space and making it more personal and reflective of their style. Taking down the walls between the kitchen, entrance and main living zones meant not only opening the rooms to optimal light, it also provided the opportunity for a considerably large island (given the square footage) and customized cabinets to house every kitchen utensil and small appliance the couple owned, and then some. Removing the walls between the dining and living area also meant that we were able to incorporate a large sectional, comfortable lounge chair and a cosy dining area with room to grow.


For many, adding colour to an interior can be a scary thing. If you have a small space, it can seem even scarier. Since colours may evoke an emotional response, most tend to worry that they’ll tire or get bored of the colour, or that it won’t be “timeless” and they’ll have to re-do everything in a couple of years. Incorporating a grey-blue and white scheme provided a twist on a neutral canvas that makes the vibrant colour accents pop throughout the space. The blue tone of the cabinet colour is amplified with the blue-glass backsplash providing contrast and balances against the wood tones of the floor and counter stools. A designated space for wine bottles and glasses was also an important feature for our clients, offering an opportunity to integrate glass uppers, adding a bit of sparkle to the kitchen.


The main bathroom maintained its existing footprint, which included a narrow vanity and sink, but the custom-designed cabinets maximized the amount of cubic footage and storage capacity for toiletries and extra linens. The conversation-starting, black-andwhite hexagon floor tile is a casual nod to the era of the home, and provides the basis to incorporate yet another opportunity for colour.

While it is true that styles are constantly evolving, it is important to design with function and form in mind. When styles change, or your tastes evolve, you can buy new cushion covers, swap out the rug, the accessories (even have your cabinets re-painted) but as long as the layout works, you will always have a home that is equal parts stylish and functional, no matter the square footage.


CUSTOM CABINETRY: Designed by Sodapop design, built by Colclo Custom Woodworking; LIGHT FIXTURES: Wayfair; FLOORS: Maple Sandstone; PAINT: Cabinets Chantilly Lace & Flint, WALLS: Wickham Gray, Benjamin Moore

Cynthia Soda is owner, principal interior designer of Soda Pop Design Inc., a multi-disciplinary interior design firm providing complete custom renovation and design services for residential and commercial clients throughout the GTA. Soda Pop Design Inc. focuses on merging the client’s lifestyle, personality and architecture to create customized, liveable luxury. sodapopdesign.ca Instagram: @ csodapop, Twitter: @sodapopdesign


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Decor Expert: Kimberley’s Guide To Kitchen Budgeting

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Decor Expert: Kimberley’s Guide To Kitchen Budgeting

In one of the most costly home renovations, it is important to know where you should splurge and where you can save.

There’s a limit. Regardless of budget, when it comes to renovating a kitchen, or any room for that matter, there is only a certain amount of money available. The leaded-glass cabinet doors may be worth the investment, but it’s only possible as part of an overall plan that incorporates other, more modest choices. In other words, splurge on a stone countertop and you might have to forego the gas fireplace in the eating area.

When it comes to the budget, staying on-target involves a delicate balancing act between what you can splurge on and where you need to save. Here are some splurges and saves to consider as you tackle your kitchen renovation.


SPLURGE Since the backsplash is at eye level, it’s worth considering a splurge for this feature. Opt for highly patterned tiles in high contrast or choose a seamless backsplash in quartz. In a small kitchen, spending a bit more on tiles can pay dividends in style and drama.

SAVE Still a popular choice, 4” x 6” subway tiles come in a variety of colours at every conceivable price range. It’s possible to lay a modestly priced tile in a more dynamic pattern to create interest without breaking the bank. For example, lay the tiles in an offset brick pattern (where vertical grout lines are staggered from one row to the next) or, create a more elaborate herringbone pattern, or use a dark grout to create contrast. Remember to ask for a firm price before commencing, because labour costs may be higher when you lay tiles in a more elaborate pattern.


SPLURGE If budget is no object, there are stunning countertop choices in natural stone and high-end quartz. Remember that natural stone is porous and as such, does require some care and maintenance.

SAVE Most homeowners want a durable, low maintenance countertop, which means you are typically limited to granite and quartz, two pricey options. To save on this expensive element, consider approaching various stone suppliers and see if they have mis-cuts or ends of lines for sale. Sometimes, you can save money by piecing together smaller sections of stone, rather than having large slabs. Or, you can save when an item becomes less popular. For instance, granite has fallen out of favour in recent years so there are deals to be had.

If budget is very limited, consider synthetic countertop options that look like their natural counterparts. For example, linoleum that looks like tumbled marble or a laminate countertop in place of granite.

You may want to visit a resource like Habitat Restore. They frequently get model-suite kitchens with countertops intact, and the savings can be substantial.


SPLURGE There’s a big difference between stock (fixed-size) cabinets and luxury custom-built cabinetry. For one thing, custom cabinets can go all the way to the ceiling, rather than stopping short at a standardized height. With custom, you can add niche storage options, heavy-duty self-close hardware, glass-front features and built-in lighting. To bring decorative dishes and glassware into the spotlight, add wallpaper to backs of shelves. Remember to light the full interior of cabinets rather than adding puck lights only at the top.

SAVE If you are working with existing slab-front cabinets, those with a totally flat appearance, consider applying a wood moulding to the face of each door to create a “panelled” look before painting. A clean coat of paint and new hardware give tired cabinets a fresh start without breaking the bank.

You can also stretch the budget by combining stock cabinetry in the lower sections with custom cabinetry in the upper sections, where the impact is more immediate. Or, use stock cabinetry everywhere, except as part of a focal feature such as a decorative hood over the range or glass-front cabinets over the sink and flanking a window.

Photography: Donna Griffith

Kimberley Seldon


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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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Cover Story – Designer Kitchen

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Cover Story – Designer Kitchen

A designer learns first-hand that the road to a dream kitchen is filled with dust and decisions.

Photography By Mike Chajecki

If you ask a designer what was the most challenging project they have ever tackled, most will respond “my own home.” For me, that couldn’t be more true. With unlimited choices and a library of samples to choose from at our fingertips, what might seem like the perfect choice one day will likely change the next.

After several months of planning and conceptualizing and daily phone calls to my designer friend to help confirm my selections, it was finally time to begin the inevitable demolition of our kitchen.


When my crew started to tear out the 1,200 square feet of 20-year-old ceramic tile, there was no turning back. It was the first step to the tornado of dust that became a part of everyday living. Next came phase two, which involved the removal of the stippled plaster ceiling turning our living space into a vortex of drywall dust.


With a busy household, a husband, three kids all under the age of 12 and a teenager, this renovation wasn’t fun. Two pails of paint with an old door on top of them became a table for cereal in the morning, and a crockpot became our best friend in the evening. The renovation was planned over the warmer months so we could utilize the bbq, which became a saving grace. Paper plates and plastic cutlery were well stocked in our pseudo outdoor kitchen. The local pizza joint didn’t need to ask what we wanted on our pizza. By the third week of construction, we couldn’t wait for a homemade meal.


The pre-reno space had dark, dated cabinetry, minimal lighting, an awkwardly shaped island and a wall that divided the living space from the kitchen. We decided to remove the wall in between the kitchen and living room to create an open-concept space. The kitchen is now more functional, brighter and expansive and suitable for keeping an eye on kids and entertaining friends.


Designing a fabulous kitchen requires more than just coming up with the perfect layout—the choices are endless—white cabinets, wood-stained cabinets, floating shelves, white countertop, dark countertop, chrome hardware, polished nickel hardware, appliances, and the list goes on. The decorative details inevitably are what make a kitchen special. Details like hardware, cabinet profile, upholstery and lighting capture the personality of a homeowner.

Details like hardware, cabinet profile, upholstery and lighting capture the personality of a homeowner.


Most people would consider lighting to be the last decision to be made, however, it is imperative the electrician is given direction during the demolition phase so he knows exactly where to place the electrical boxes. The placement of lighting in relationship to the cabinetry is an integral part of the kitchen in the planning stages.

The oversized sconces flanking the hood and the pendant lights over the island were the jumping-off point for the style direction I wanted so I opted for outdoor sconces that gave me the scale needed to create visual impact. The sconces were also an unexpected element in the design of the kitchen. If you have the space for it, don’t be afraid to do something unique.

It is important to take the time to carefully consider your space and how you see yourself living within it.


The next decision was appliance selection. It is important to choose them prior to the final design of a kitchen as the cabinetry is dependent on the sizes selected. Prior to the construction phase, electrical, gas and plumbing rough-ins must be decided based on the appliance specifications. After several hours of research I opted for professional appliances for the home from Fisher and Paykel.


The countertop selection is essentially the icing on the cake. It can be a showstopper or it can be an understated design element. There are numerous choices from granite, quartz, soapstone or marble, and the process of narrowing them down can be daunting. The size of slabs vary so it must be chosen at the beginning of the process. The size of an island is sometimes determined by slab size. Price per square foot can also be a factor but with careful planning and budgeting, it is possible to splurge where you want to and yet save without going over your overall budget.

Marble was my stone of choice but I did not want the maintenance of sealing it and worrying about guests placing a glass of wine on the surface and creating a stain. It is a very porous material and absorbs liquids, a beautiful choice, but there are many quartz options that mimic the look. After searching high and low for just the right piece, I came across one that was a creamy white with lovely fluid veining that was perfect for my cabinetry colour, Swiss Coffee OC-45 from Benjamin Moore.


The cabinetry is the part of a kitchen that is most noticeable. By adding details like crown moulding, beautiful hardware and furniture-base toe kicks, the look is elevated. If budget is an issue, keep cabinetry minimal and perhaps splurge on lighting or a decorative backsplash. In order to maximize the kitchen’s storage capacity, the cabinets were extended to the ceiling with a five-inch crown detail taking full advantage of the nine-foot ceiling height. The extra space can be used to stow away off-season items and other specialty kitchenware.


If not precisely planned, a tiny kitchen or a grand kitchen can lead to chaos. There are so many aspects of a renovation that must be considered and without a plan in place and consideration of all aspects of a renovation, it can be a terrible experience and result in a disaster. It is important to take the time to carefully consider your space and how you see yourself living within it.

After many years in the industry, I have consulted and assisted many of my clients with their renovations and helped them through the process. After living through the chaos, I can now empathize with the chaotic way of living for months on end.

Swiss Coffee OC-45, Benjamin Moore

Onyx 2133-10, Benjamin Moore


But one thing is for sure, after a few meltdowns and the usual construction issues, I would go through it all over again. After all, in the grand scheme of life it’s not a long time and the benefit is a beautiful dream space that transforms a house into a home.

One tip I can offer— brace yourself and learn to enjoy a lot of take-out!

SOURCES APPLIANCES: Fisher and Paykel CUSTOM FURNITURE AND CABINETRY, SINK, FAUCET, ACCESSORIES, CUSTOM HARDWARE ON BACK OF COUNTERSTOOLS AND BUFFET: through Sarah St. Amand Interior Design SINK: ACF Surfaces FAUCET: Aquabrass FABRIC ON COUNTERSTOOLS: Kobe fabrics PAINT: Walls & Cabinetry, Swiss Coffee OC-45, Benjamin Moore ISLAND AND COFFEE STATION: Swiss Coffee with Onyx accent, Benjamin Moore SCONCES BESIDE RANGE HOOD: Universal Lamp DINING ROOM FABRIC ON SIDE CHAIRS: Kravet through designers HOST AND HOSTESS CHAIRS, ROMAN BLINDS: Joanne Fabric through designers PATIO DOOR: Dayside Windows and Doors

Award-winning designer Sarah St Amand, principal/owner of GTA-based Sarah St. Amand Interior Design, specializes in residential and commercial design. CDECA member, Sarah’s work is nationally recognized and has most recently won the Best of HOUZZ 2016 award. For more information, visit stamanddesign.com. sarah@stamanddesign.com, Instagram @sarahst.amandinteriordesign 519.802.6328


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Design Experts – Once Upon A Kitchen

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Design Experts – Once Upon A Kitchen

The melding of modern and rustic takes shape in a country kitchen on Mother Nature’s clock.

Photography By Alex Lukey

Getting a kitchen design just right is always a little stressful. In this particular project, timelines were somewhat tight seeing the homeowner had a bun in the oven of her own, making it an even more time-sensitive project. Our young professional couple had bought a wonderful home in the country with the thought of starting a family— complete with animals, lots of space to grow, and land to spare. The setting is nothing short of bountiful Mother Nature in her glory but inside the home, the kitchen needed help bringing its outdated appliances, tiled floors and oak-stained cabinets into the now. Ultimately, we knew we had to conceive and create a modern country kitchen before the birth of her first child. From start to finish, we had seven months to complete the project. We knew this kitchen was going to go full-term and we needed her to do the same. The race was on to see who would cross the finish line first, baby boy “Harrison” or us!


We started by removing the floor tiles in the old kitchen and replacing them with some beautiful hardwood. Many people worry about hardwood in the kitchen but the reality is that factory-finished hardwood will perform as well as tiles and is a little softer underfoot. Water is no issue unless it is left on the floor for hours and hours. We replaced the floor throughout the main level with a beautiful Satin wide board product in a warm-grey tone. Our first trimester ended on solid ground.


Next was the selection of appliances. Both she and her husband love to cook, so selecting a premium brand like Jenn-Air was the natural choice. A six-burner cooktop and range hood, coupled with a double oven and panel-received French door fridge and dishwasher were selected in record time. When cooking is a passion, it is important to look at products that will give you the superior performance a chef comes to expect. We love the idea of panel-received appliances in open-concept spaces to ensure that the kitchen looks like fine cabinetry when you are in the family room but is filled with function when you are working in the kitchen. In open-concept living, you want to elevate the visual of the kitchen to suit the elegance of the principal rooms.



Next, we selected a farm-front style sink from Blanco to maintain the charm and era of the homeowners’ property coupled with a vegetable sink on the island. We were delighted to find they were both available in a Silgranit material, making them almost impossible to destroy and perfect for this new family. Blanco faucets in chrome, one for the farm-house sink with a spring control and the other has a simple arch, complemented each other perfectly. With a budding family, we needed a beautiful yet easy-to-maintain countertop. The Silestone by Cosentino option, a man-made quartz, fit the bill. We selected the Nebula Orion colour because it was simple but also had some graining in it like marble. Every new mom knows that any help hiding the dirt until you can get to cleaning it is a God-send.


We then ran an elongated subway tile as a backsplash made of a bevelled glazed porcelain paying homage to the traditional country kitchen. Clean and crisp, modern and approachable— the space is elegantly embellished by black-and-gold lighting above the sink and island. We also selected knobs and pulls in matte black to provide contrast as well as add a touch of the “local blacksmith” look. The warm and reflective properties of the gilded drum shade interior result in a soothing glow, day or night.


A classic black-and-white palette wove a common thread throughout the kitchen colour scheme. Anchoring the design, we incorporated a matte-black island and moving the eyes upward we selected, along with the homeowners, white raised-panel door cabinets. The result is a modern kitchen with a farm-fresh feel for this wonderful family in waiting.


This modern country kitchen was completed just one week before “Harrison” arrived on the scene. Our sources tell us that both kitchen and baby are doing brilliantly.

SOURCES – FLOORING: Satin Flooring COUNTERTOPS: Silestone by Cosentino SINKS AND FAUCETS: Blanco BACKSPLASH: Olympia Tile CABINETS: CCW Millworkers LIGHTING: Living Lighting on King CABINET COLOUR: Benjamin Moore, Cloud White OC-130

Glen Peloso and Jamie Alexander are co-founders and principals of Peloso Alexander Interiors. They bring 35 years of combined experience to creating environments that merge the client’s lifestyle, personality, and architecture. pelosoalexander.com, twitter @ glenpeloso & @glenandjamie, Facebook.com/glenpeloso


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