Tag Archives: kitchen


6 ways to modernize your kitchen on a budget

Latest News

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


Featured Products


Make it yours, Samantha Pynn customizes this cookie-cutter condo

Latest News

Make it yours, Samantha Pynn customizes this cookie-cutter condo

Photography by Virginia MacDonald

As condos continue to get smaller and smaller with each passing year, it is decidedly still the most common single-person dwelling type of household in Canada. Inevitably, the question of how to decorate a cookie-cutter condo and make it ‘yours’ is one dilemma many people face.

Inherited style choices

Pulling a small space together gets even trickier when fixtures and finishes, such as the countertop, tiles and floors, have been chosen for you by a builder or the previous owner.

This certainly was the case for my 500-square-foot condo, which came with standard-issue, stark-white walls and dark-wood floors; plus, a kitchen with a busy backsplash of large brown and grey tiles, and a beige speckled counter. While none of these finishes were on my decorating wish list, I knew that with a few small reno and design changes, I could personalize this little white box and even give it some architectural detail.


Work with what you have

I started with the kitchen, knowing that the finishes would influence all my design decisions in this tiny abode. It didn’t make sense to gut the kitchen: the layout was wellplanned, the cabinets were new and their grey undertone worked well with the floors. As for that granite countertop’s not-so-desirable brown speckle? Well, it would just be too costly and wasteful to remove and replace.

So, I embraced the counter and chose an inexpensive, handpainted 3 x 6-inch tile in the lightest sandy-beige tone of the granite. The handmade tile worked like a charm to bring a homey softness to the space and tone down the brown-and-grey speckles of the counter. While this is not something that I normally do, the original busy backsplash was installed so solidly, that I had my contractor tile right over it.

Worthwhile upgrades

I sold the kitchen’s original stove, which had a plastic backsplash control panel and replaced it with a new front-control range. This immediately elevated the vibe of the kitchen and gave it a cleaner and more streamlined esthetic.

Unifying makeovers

Next, I upcycled an inexpensive big-box store kitchen island. The base of the island got a coat of paint in the same colour as the new backsplash tiles. And, the island’s original butcher- block top was donated and swapped for a dark grey piece of quartz. The dark grey quartz makes both the dark hardwood floors and stainless-steel appliances feel like a purposeful part of the kitchen’s design.

Lastly, I switched the pedestrian stainless-steel cabinet pulls with luxe gold pulls and tucked two vintage counter stools with newly upholstered sand-toned fabric under the island.


Cohesive colour palette

With the direction of the kitchen set, it was easy to run with the sand-and-grey colour scheme. The dark grey velvet sofa connects with the island counter, while the linen drapes pick up on the backsplash tile. The large 12×10-foot living area rug not only works with the kitchen palette but also brightens the space by covering a good portion of the dark-wood floors. The round white-marble coffee table and pale-blue lounge chairs bring a light and airy vibe to the living space.

Soft & soothing

This lightness was then echoed in the bedroom – where only a sliding door separates the open-concept living and kitchen space – with lavender and sand-tone linen bedding and a large soothing piece of nature-inspired abstract art. The drapery is also light in colour, adding softness and texture to the room, but when drawn together, these thick blackout panels dampen sound and block the city’s evening light.

My favourite part of the space is the gridded 1×3-inch MDF panelling. The feature wall requires no headboard and adds depth, architectural detailing and personality galore to the space.


KITCHEN ISLAND COUNTERTOP Quartz in Aramis, Hanstone Quartz. TILES, Saltillo Tile. RANGE, Whirlpool. CABINET HARDWARE, Richelieu. PLATES, CUTTING BOARDS, VASES, KETTLE, JARS, TEA TOWELS, PITCHERS, Home Sense. ISLAND, Ikea. CABINET PAINT (on island base) Inukshuk Advance, Benjamin Moore. COUNTER STOOL UPHOLSTERY, Fine Interiors By Susan. LIVING ROOM SOFA, COFFEE TABLE, RUG, CHAIRS, VASES, PILLOWS, LAMP, Samantha Pynn Home, Home Sense. ART, Amy Stewart, Art Interiors. DRAPERY PANELS, Ikea. BEDROOM SIDE TABLE, COVERLET, PILLOWS, SIDE TABLE, VASE, Home Sense. LINEN DUVET, SHAMS, Samantha Pynn Simons. LAMP, Ikea. MDF PANELLING, Home Depot. ART, Amy Stewart, Art Interiors. DRAPERY PANELS, Ikea.

Samantha Pynn is a beloved Canadian designer, editor and television personality. Known for her approachable, fresh and colourful style, Samantha’s rooms are rooted in the classics, but always with her own modern twist. Samantha Pynn Home – her collection of furniture, accessories and textiles – is designed to be mixed and matched, so that anyone can feel like a decor expert. Follow her on Instagram @samanthapynn


Featured Products

Kitchen comfort - trends that whet our appetites

Kitchen comfort – trends that whet our appetites

Latest News

Kitchen comfort – trends that whet our appetites

The central hub of the home is the kitchen, and kitchens warm up to customization and inviting textural tablescapes.

Celebrating sophistication & glamour

This black, white and gold colourf combination clebrates sophiticalion and glamour The new black-gold dual finish option in the Graceline kitchen faucet collection adds an additional contemporary flair.


Slabs versus tile

There’s a resurgence of slab format surfaces being used for backsplashes instead of tile. This can easily be achieved with both Dekton and Silestone surfaces, which are offered in a 20-mm thickness and thinner, especially now with Dekton Slim in four mm.


Appliances with personality

These stylish knobs and finials allow homeowners to tailor their kitchen aesthetic through jewelryinspired accessories that complement the Heritage Series. Available in real gold, copper and black nickel plating to outfit the Heritage line’s ivory, matte-black, and stainless-steel finishes, Bertazzoni Heritage Series decor set starts at $500, available at Caplan’s Appliances and Canadian Appliance Source.

Tasteful temporal teal

This year’s colour evolution of Le Creuset collection is dramatic teal. A significant departure from last year’s softer hues of Sage and Meringue, Teal is rich and sumptuous – a colour that has depth and a timeless quality. This hue is the natural progression of the brand’s celebrated shades, delivering an interesting and restful green combined with a soothing blue. Braiser 3.5L, $350.


Nature calls

Natural stone-inspired surfaces continue to trend in 2020. Our new Eternal D’Or has soft golden veins across a bright, white background and is for the most elegant kitchen spaces.


Heritage style, modern engineering

Stunning stainless steel, all gas Victoria range cooker. Also available in black and cream, the largest super burner reaches up to 18,000 BTUs with a capacity of 4.4 cu. ft. A show-tipping range in anyone’s kitchen.


Textural Tablescapes

Ceramicist Jono Pandol is a boutique maker of handcrafted dinner and serveware and is a favourite among A-list chefs for his unique dinnerware options for restaurants. Pandol has now created a custom, handmade serveware collection for home. These three pieces are the workhorses of everyday home dining. Each piece is formed and finished by hand.



Featured Products

Bimbrok Marble

Bimbrok Marble offers top quality marble and tile design

Latest News

Bimbrok Marble offers top quality marble and tile design

Photography: Angelo Distefano

Combine a family business with more than 30 years experience with quality craftsmanship, and top quality marble and tile design, and you get Bimbrok Marble & Granite, a Vaughan-based business that has been providing quality to personal and commercial clients since 1986. Bimbrok’s team of skilled craftsmen provides more than 100 years of combined experience, resulting in a professional, hassle-free installation.

Thirty years ago, this family-run business began with an idea of meeting and exceeding the demand for top quality marble and tile designs. It is now one of the industry leaders in manufacturing and installing any type of natural stone in the world. Marble, granite, quartz and exotics, thousands of custom and highrise jobs continue to be produced on location, each done with the very same skill, dedication and care designed to meet and exceed your expectations.

Bimbrok provides the knowledge, experience and quality to meet your needs. The confidence and trust when choosing Bimbrok as your natural stone provider and project manufacturer is a relationship that this family-owned business takes to heart. Quality materials, crafstmanship and installation means having your project perfectly delivered by Bimbrok on budget and on time.

Equality quartz/engineered stone provides some of the industry-leading materials, providing a beautiful white canvas with a gorgeous grey vein running through the slab to give it a natural look.

The featured photos show the beautiful characteristic of materials being book matched from a profile or even a waterfall, giving an eccentric look to the flowing pattern to the countertop. The featured photos show engineered quartz, natural granite stone and exotic natural quartzite.

Bimbrok Marble Importing Ltd.

965 Creditstone Rd., Vaughan




Featured Products

Caesarstone Dark Collection

Embrace the beauty of the new Dark Collection from Caesarstone

Latest News

Embrace the beauty of the new Dark Collection from Caesarstone

5810 Black Tempal
5810 Black Tempal

In the kitchen, a countertop is the place where meals are lovingly prepared, where gatherings gather, and where finished dishes are featured for consumption. Not only is durability a concern, but the visual impact of such a large area sets the tone of the room – it’s the backdrop to all that is served.

As part of its Dark Collection, Caesarstone introduces deep, bold colours, as well as tantalizing textures to its newest line.

A counterintuitive approach

For a look that will stand the test of time, complement and offset a myriad of appliance and cabinet finishes, Caesarstone’s Dark Collection adds a touch of drama and contrasting shades, while inspiring a sense of warmth and comfort. A homeowner’s choices of decor, art, furniture and colour help identify a room’s personality, and Caesarstone’s Dark Collection is just one more way to help them create a look all their own.

Form and function

Deep veined variances and fluctuating tonal shades of mined products upgrade the look of any well-designed room. Darker colours can also be more forgiving, and possess an imperishable quality that elevates natural attributes.

Caesarstone countertops are made from composite quartz, which is a non-porous product. Because this material is low maintenance to stains, its appearance will never be altered or require extra maintenance. This outstanding feature, combined with the bold tones of the Dark Collection, have given new meaning to enduring beauty.

Deeper shades of dark

The Dark Collection consists of four extra-deep shades, enhanced by Caesarstone’s new Natural Finish, which adds extra depth to the textural darks. The look and feel of this collection is set by the beautiful grain that runs throughout, adding a tactile warmth and a pleasing emotive response. A satin sheen emphasizes the natural veining and textures, while intensifying the depth of colour. These saturated features take this collection to next level of desirability.

5101 - Empira Black
5101 – Empira Black

The deep black base of 5101 Empira Black is augmented by fine white veins to emulate authentic characteristics of real marble, and is available in a matte or a gloss finish.

3101 Platto Black
3101 Platto Black

3101 Platto Black intensifies any statement look. A fine granular appearance enhances the textured finish.

4735 Oxidian
4735 Oxidian

The oxidized russet effect of the tarnished 4735 Oxidian finish warms a dark grey base, with a slightly textured grain.

5810 Black Tempal
5810 Black Tempal

A light veil of white streaks emulates a galaxy of stars on the charcoal base of 5810 Black Tempal. This complex composition is reminiscent of an industrial travertine.

Caesarstone products combine the look and feel of natural surfaces with advanced technology, which ultimately intensifies the hardness and durability, and guarantees surfaces that are non-porous, scratch-resistent and low maintenance.



Featured Products


Kitchen refresh, seamless function and next-level upgrades

Latest News

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


Featured Products

Product showcase – kitchens

Product showcase – kitchens

Latest News

Product showcase – kitchens

Small. Simple. Stunning.

The stunning ENA 8 Super-Automatic espresso machine from Jura is defined by its compact design, cylindrical water tank, TFT display and brilliant colour variations. Using whole beans, it’s simple to prepare specialty coffees including cappuccinos, lattes and espresso in just one touch. This compact machine is perfect for small and large kitchens.


Exotic collection

Every year, Vicostone quartz surfaces introduces new colours to their collections. This year, the Exotic Collection features a unique quartz composition Gan Eden BQ8881, inspired by a sky of floating, puffy clouds of various shapes and sizes. This new addition is sought out by designers looking for an engineered stone that is easy to maintain all the while resembling natural stone, making it the perfect balance of functionality and beauty.


Classic craftsmanship

In the game of chess, you sometimes have to retreat in order to advance. The same is true of design. The new Brizo Rook kitchen collection is a perfect illustration of this: forward-thinking, yet rooted in tradition. Its classic craftsmanship style is reminiscent of an early 20th century esthetic, while contemporary, feminine touches elevate and modernize the look. Offered in five luxurious colours, including the new Brilliance Polished Gold, it is sure to fit any kitchen design. Available at an Ensuite bath & kitchen showroom near you.


Pretty practical

Soapstone is an excellent choice for countertops and sinks because it is non-porous and, therefore, resistant to stains and bacteria. Soapstone does not require chemical sealants and withstands extreme temperatures. The natural-honed matte finish and silky smooth texture give this stone a timeless elegance and beauty.


Bold statement piece

Drawing on inspiration rooted deep in Americana, Kohler introduces the Graze Kitchen Faucet. This bold statement piece conjures memories of the spikes that built railroads — the steel industry where iron was forged. Breaking from the norm of more delicate smooth round lines, the bold square base and unique strong silhouette is eye-catching on your counter, and a design to complement most every home.


Renovators dream shop

Beyond Marble and Granite is committed to finding the ideal kitchen or bath design to suit your budget and lifestyle, offering a wide selection of quartz and granite countertops, BMG also has a wide selection of mosaics and backsplashes, porcelain tile, faucets, sinks, and more. The team at BMG believe that every project deserves to be a masterpiece, whether big or small. Installing quartz or granite countertops adds value and beauty to any room in your home, office or cottage. Visit the Vaughan showroom for all your renovation needs.


Custom cabinetry

JH Kitchens is a family-owned business that has been operating for almost 10 years. Their team of experts specialize in custom cabinetry and design, and work with you to meet your every need. From the initial stages of consultation, home visits, followups, and installation, they are dedicated to working with each and every client to achieve exactly what they envision to be their dream kitchen. They offer the highest quality, with a diverse selection of designs, at the best price. Their primary goal is to ensure a customer’s complete satisfaction.


Set a bold tone

Caesarstone is launching a new collection featuring four new colours for 2020. The Dark Collection embraces a contemporary trend in kitchens and bathrooms that has recently set a bold tone. From the classic luxury of Empira Black to the matte infinity of Piatto Black via the evocative patinas of rusted Oxidian and weathered Black Tempal, this dark collection presents an intriguing range of captivating hues that bring warmth to the home and an emotional caress to the stone. Shown here, Oxidian.



Featured Products

Kitchen life for a new decade

Kitchen life for a new decade

Latest News

Kitchen life for a new decade

The kitchen has always been the heart of any home. Not simply a utilitarian place, this important space is now a room widely used for entertaining family and friends.

As much as kitchens demand functionality, style is equally important. This year, we are seeing spaces full of texture, colour and pattern that are designed with a less formal approach, intended to accentuate an open concept feel and integrate seamlessly with your adjacent living areas.

Whether you intend to fully renovate your kitchen or are looking to just give it a little boost, here are some of the trends we are seeing for 2020 and the decade ahead.

White will always be popular in cabinetry. It provides stability and longevity, but don’t be afraid to add a pop of colour. Soft blacks, shades of blues, greys and even brighter colours have been making their way to our kitchen cabinetry.

Colour, in fact, is a great way to inject a little life into a space, so if you find that cabinetry is too much of a leap for you, consider adding colourful small appliances and accessories. We are also seeing kitchens with a combination of colours or finishes. White cabinetry paired with wood accents or a secondary colour is the perfect way to stay on trend, and you may find the transition a little more to your liking.

Wood has returned – but not with the heavy and dull tones of decades past. Today’s kitchens are seeing this natural material as an accent to your cabinetry, or featured prominently as the cabinetry itself. Warm and sophisticated grains such as walnut, light and airy woods like birch or rough-hewn reclaimed are just a few of the woods we are seeing. Whether using them in cabinets, counters, shelving or accessories, you can’t go wrong.

This year is more about character and personality in your kitchen, and less about being too “matchy-matchy.” The idea of combining colours, textures and finishes also applies to mixing metals in your kitchen. Varied styles and colours of metal knobs and pulls can be combined with the different colours and finishes of your faucet and lighting to create a space all your own. Copper, too, has quickly moved to become a featured metal in kitchens. Consider hanging some beautiful copper pots or use as an eye-catching range hood. A little copper is sure to dress up your space, while blending well with the other metals in the kitchen.

Not only are appliances becoming more modern in colours and finishes, they are also now designed to be statement pieces, and thereby anchoring a kitchen. Whether you select a matte black stainless finish, a pop of colour in a retro shade of blue or the return to simple white, you are sure to find that today’s appliances are designed for visual impact, especially when it comes to cooking. A nice alternative, however, is cladding your fridge and dishwasher to blend seamlessly with your cabinetry.

Open shelving is a great way to showcase your beautiful kitchenware, add some colour and create an open and airy feeling in your space. It creates an easily accessible area for your regularly used items, and can be a great way to enjoy heirloom pieces that often get hidden in the back of your cabinetry. Many homeowners feel this approach is not for them, as the shelves can look untidy. An alternative is to add closed door cabinetry with textured glass. This is a nice feature that can still give you a more open and airy feeling, while camouflaging what’s inside.

Kitchens trends of 2020 are designed to create warm, inviting spaces with personality. While functionality will always be at the forefront of a good kitchen design, today’s trends will create for you a space with character and style that will move you forward.

Linda Mazur is an award-winning, 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.



Featured Products


Bringing an old home back to life

Latest News

Bringing an old home back to life

When my clients purchased an older Craftsman-style house, they had no interest in razing the property and replacing it with an infill. They loved the bones of the home and planned to update and improve upon what was already there.

AFTER – The custom vent hood, backsplash and cabinetry are all in white to keep the visual space light and airy.

The chopped-up floor plan had been partially addressed in a previous renovation. An addition in the back created a sunken family room with skylights and a patio door to the backyard. This was the main access directly into the house from the driveway and garage.



The kitchen, perched over the family room, was dated and lacked storage.

Original Craftsman-style gum wood trim and built-in cabinetry preserved at the front of the house, and the open — but dated — back part of the home, conjured up images of a bad ’80s haircut, a mullet. Business in the front, party in the back.

To preserve the original charm and increase the useful square footage, they debated how to work around what they had. Even the dated skylights above the addition negated a second storey extension unless they were removed. Did they want to preserve an older addition or start from scratch?

The new open-concept kitchen moved to the south side of the house to take advantage of the light.


Scratch being the operative word. As soon as they looked behind the walls, the scope of work exploded. Although the plan was to maximize the floor space without harming the integrity of the home, they knew to make the home efficient, they needed to start over. Sadly, that meant most of the original features, like windows, would need to be replaced.

The new mudroom lets in plenty of light and increased the storage 100 per cent from the previous layout.


After gutting the house, they expanded the second floor, adding a master ensuite and walk-in closet to the master. The main floor was levelled out, the floor plan reworked, which also helped gain ceiling height below in the basement for a new laundry room.

They added a bright, open mudroom at the back of the house to access the garage and driveway. This bright, well-organized space is a welcoming entry with heated floors and plenty of storage.

The new family room, located at the back of the house, benefits from being on the same level as the rest of the main floor.
The reconfigured staircase and an overhead skylight brightened up the entry.
The master bedroom suite now expands across the back of the house and includes an ensuite bathroom and walk-in closet.


The family room, now at the back of the house, still feels connected to the now-open main floor. The kitchen, which is in the centre of the home, was kept purposefully light. Although there are few upper cabinets, the kitchen plan functions more efficiently with the added floor-to-ceiling pantry behind the reclaimed, custom-made barn door. A bold swath of navy on the island adds personality without overwhelming the space, it’s also an accent colour throughout the home.

AFTER – The dining room, now at the front of the house, is a perfect place to feature panel moulding. Here it flanks the fireplace and adds interest.

The dining room, now at the front of the home, was made cosy with a new electric fireplace. The marble-like porcelain slab was an indulgence the homeowners couldn’t resist and makes a big statement in blue. The built-in window bench offers extra seating.



Upstairs, the staircase was moved to add two new bedrooms with full-sized closets at the front of the house. Unable to preserve the original, my clients vowed to find a beautiful custom solution so the staircase would still be an outstanding feature.

The layout is more practical now and an abundance of custom cabinetry discourages clutter. It’s a testament to the homeowner’s passion for the past that this updated home now offers more space but feels as cozy as it was originally meant to be.

Jane Lockhart

Designer, spokesperson, author and television personality, Jane Lockhart is one of Canada’s best-known experts in the world of design and colour. janelockhart.com


FLOORING, throughout White Oak Nautilus Vintage Flooring TILES, throughout Cercan Tile CABINETRY, HANDLES, kitchen, bathroom, pantry, mudroom Aya Kitchens STAIRCASE, Deluxe Stair and Railing WINDOWS, Anderson Windows PANEL MOULDING, Estate Interiors CEILING TRIM, Mouldex Mouldings PAINT, Collingwood OC-28 Benjamin Moore KITCHEN COUNTERTOP, Calcutta Gold, Silestone Counter STOOLS, Wayfair LIGHTING, Kitchen and dining room pendants, “Rotterdam” Savoy House MASTER BEDROOM: BEDDING, Pottery Barn.ca SIDE TABLES, Wayfair.ca Lamps and RUG, Homesense DINING ROOM: TABLE, Wayfair CHAIRS, Structube FAMILY ROOM: SOFA AND CHAIRS, Pottery Barn PILLOWS, COFFEE TABLE, SIDE TABLE, Carpet Urban Barn MUDROOM: ACCESSORIES, Homesense



Featured Products


How to design a master chef kitchen

Latest News

How to design a master chef kitchen

You may have mastered the art of creating a culinary masterpiece out of just about anything but without an efficient “workstation,” cooking can be a hassle. When you have limited space, barely any storage, and are ill-equipped with the right appliances and tools, you become frustrated and uninspired to cook. The best way to resolve the matter (if you have the budget for it) is to redesign your kitchen to suit your needs.


Start with the layout

Want to know how master chefs can seamlessly move throughout their kitchen without even thinking about it (or so it seems)? The layout of the kitchen is conducive to their movements. While you don’t want to feel cramped in the kitchen, you also don’t want to have to move too much from one area to another trying to prepare a meal.

You can look at photos on social media, home improvement blogs, and even house plans (like those found at monsterhouseplans.com) to get an idea of how you’d like to set things up in your new kitchen. As you view images and floorplans as inspiration, just remember to keep your pattern or routine of cooking in mind.

Divide into stations

If you’ve ever watched a master or top chef show you realize their kitchens are divided into sections or stations. When deciding on a layout for your kitchen, you can make things easier by doing the same. Decide the best area for prepping, cooking (stove and oven), cleaning, and storage. You might place seasonings next to the cooking or prep station while dishes would be stored in cabinets on top of or beneath the cleaning station. If you have a larger kitchen, you might even like the idea of adding an eating area such as a kitchen nook and a place for storage like a pantry.

Don’t forget about storage

When redesigning your kitchen for more efficient cooking don’t forget about the importance of storage. Clutter and disorganization only slow you down and cause frustration for something that should be therapeutic and fun. So, you want to make sure that the new design has a space for everything you use in the kitchen. Take a survey of your kitchen and get rid of anything you won’t need or use once the design is complete. For everything else, make sure you’ve made a selection on the type of storage. From cabinets and drawers for food, silverware, and dishes, shelves and hooks for pots, pans, and cooking utensils everything needs it’s own space.


Invest in high-quality appliances

They say an artist is only as good as the tools they use. The same is true for a chef. It is your skills, experience, and culinary style that allow you to make such great dishes but the quality of the appliances you use matters. You may not be able to spring for industrial or commercial-sized ovens, microwaves, and stoves, but you do want appliances that can withstand the frequency of use and enhance your cooking experiences. There are a lot of energy-efficient high-tech appliances to choose from. Look at not only the style and brand name but the features and overall quality to decide which items are best for your new kitchen.


Colors, texture and decor

The last step to remodeling your kitchen to make it more efficient for cooking is the colors, textures, and decor. You want an inviting space the inspires your creativity while also making you feel comfortable. Most popular kitchen colors right now are gray and white with stainless steel appliances. You can, however, go off the grid choosing a vibrant yellow and a soft gray or a dark navy blue paired with beige. Try to bring in some texture and decor into your kitchen as well. You can create a feature wall, add a unique backsplash pattern, or decorate with common houseplants, flowers, and bowls of fruit.

Anyone who loves to cook or cooks with a passion deserves to have space where they can do so without the frustration. Whether you’re making a stir fry or looking to make more advanced dishes you’ll love how much easier and more enjoyable it is when you’ve designed a kitchen that is just as aesthetically appealing as it is functional and efficient.


Featured Products