Tag Archives: kitchen


Bringing an old home back to life

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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



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How to design a master chef kitchen

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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.


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6 hot design ideas for your next home renovation

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6 hot design ideas for your next home renovation

Renovating and regenerating a space, any space, can be incredibly fun and exciting. It can also involve a great deal of challenges, as well as the pressure that comes with managing a project and changing a space that others will use.

If you take some extra time to plan, and use a few simple ideas, getting the right look in a home doesn’t have to be too challenging or expensive. Here is a quick guide to some of the best home design ideas we’ve found to make things a little easier.

Expose materials and structure to add depth and texture to space

You can achieve a fantastic look and give your space an interesting atmosphere and feel by taking things away, rather than adding them.

Exposing a beam or the brickwork along one wall or in an alcove is a great way to add character, depth and texture to a space that may be bland and boxy otherwise.

Integrate fitness and wellbeing into your home’s design

Health, fitness and wellbeing are becoming very popular pastimes that often benefit from having their own space. Fitness equipment in particular often needs a place to “live” in the home.

By using equipment that can be folded away to store, you can have a small home gym that can double as a yoga studio or relaxation centre when the exercise machines have been stowed away.

Use timber cladding and concrete for a modern yet earthy look and feel

A great look for the exterior of a home can be achieved with timber cladding and smooth concrete footings.

Exterior changes can be a lot of work for the home renovator, so you should always consult a professional design service like The Home Design Group, who can help you plan and execute work safely and in accordance with local planning and safety regulations.

Build a large and practical pantry for your kitchen

Kitchen cupboard space is always difficult to arrange, and will often take up a lot of space in a kitchen that could be put to better use.

More and more families are turning to dedicated pantry spaces, giving them plenty of space to store and arrange food, and will often put the fridge there too; making extra space in the kitchen.

Bring the inside out and the outside in

A popular way to add colour to your home is to bring outdoor materials inside, or to make usable living spaces outside.

Some people have used high quality plastic grass, or “astro-turf,” on interior spaces like dining rooms and children’s play areas. To take the inside out, why not have an area outside for cooking and dining when the weather lets you?

Use pivot doors to make a special entrance

Frameless doors that pivot to open, rather than swing on a hinge, make an impressive first impression on anyone entering a home that has one.

Doors that open this way can be very large and heavy, but will pivot effortlessly on their vertical axel to create a huge and welcoming entryway.

Hopefully this quick guide has given you some design ideas for your next home renovation, and you can make a space that is unique, stylish and welcoming for all.


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Kitchen Appliances aren't what they used to be!

Kitchen appliances aren’t what they used to be!

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Kitchen appliances aren’t what they used to be!

Kitchens are and always will be the heart of any home! The kitchen has come a long way from simply being a utilitarian space, to a space that exudes personality and character while integrating beautifully with the rest of your home. The personality of your kitchen develops with the design — through your cabinetry, finishes, colours and design details. However, recently we have been seeing our appliances becoming more of a focal point and contributing to the overall aesthetics of our kitchens. Whether appliances are integrated or a stand-alone feature, they are definitely making themselves noticed – and for all the right reasons.

The appliances alone cannot create a beautiful kitchen. However, they are critical to the overall design and function of your space, and when well-selected can deliver large on aesthetics. Appliances are colourful, bold, streamlined and impactful. They can elevate your kitchen while delivering the “restaurant-quality” professional-grade features that many of us desire. Whether large or small, they are meant to be seen and are inspirational to kitchen design.

The selections these days are endless. French door refrigerators or door-in-door refrigerators, gas range or induction, double ovens or perhaps French door ovens, dishwasher drawers, undercounter microwaves, refrigerator drawers, warming drawers, built-in coffee centres — the list can go on and on. All have their own benefits, whether it’s space accommodating, ease of access or luxury features, the appliances of today deliver large on all fronts. They are being outfitted with Bluetooth capabilities to easily integrate into our Smart-Home systems to make our lives just a little easier; and some are bypassing the traditional “knobs” for the sleek look of “touch and swipe” controls that are inspired by our smart phones.

When you are looking to purchase new appliances, it’s really best to do your research and have a good understanding of what is available, what works for your budget and what features you will actually require, or use. Small appliances have also made huge strides in design, professional-grade features and, most excitingly, in colours. Fun coloured Kitchen-Aid stand mixers or Breville barista stations are a fantastic complement to any kitchen counter. Not only functional, they add a great pop of colour to any kitchen. Also, we have seen the emergence of exciting new small appliances such as a countertop beer brewing station.

Stainless appliances still have their popularity. However, white appliance are coming back in full force. The modernized white appliances feature stainless accents and fit beautifully with many design styles. Matte black stainless is also a great finish for kitchen appliances, offering a sleek and modern alternative to the traditional stainless appliances. Truth be told, the colours and finishes of some appliances are downright amazing and offer a great deal of “design inspo.” Custom finished range hoods that create a focal point in your kitchen can be a great design touch, but so can a fun vintage-inspired retro pink fridge. Highlights of antique brass for the knobs and handle on your range might be just enough of a detail for you, or a bright fun orange for your range is more in line with the inspiration for your new kitchen. Whichever way you decide to go, the options are available and the inspirations are countless.

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.



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DESIGN: Finishing Touches

Finishing Touches – Many inspiring options await when it’s time for a kitchen upgrade

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Finishing Touches – Many inspiring options await when it’s time for a kitchen upgrade

Planning a kitchen renovation is always exciting, and often overwhelming. The enthusiasm of pouring over the multitude of Pinterest inspirations often morphs into the stress of decision making of cabinet styles, colours, layouts and product selections.

Today, we have hundreds of options available to us when it comes to all of the finishing touches. Our sinks and faucets are no longer simply utilitarian, countertops come in an array of colours, textures, patterns and product compositions – whether natural or man-made, and appliances have taken an almost artful approach to complement our kitchens. Even accessories such as lighting, stools and hardware have upped their ante to become statement makers in today’s kitchen.

Classic white kitchens will always remain, but right now it’s all about colour! Whether it’s a deep rich green or charcoal grey for our cabinetry, or perhaps richly antiqued brass lighting, the new popularity of injecting colour into our kitchens is creating a character and style all its own. Warm metals can be found everywhere, from custom range hoods making dramatic statements to our kitchen faucets, now being designed as “showpieces.” Faucets have matured beyond simple chrome or satin nickel to a modern vibe of matte black, the warmth of aged golds and the new revival of blackened pewters. One of the hottest new trends in faucets is the two-tone blending of black and metals – and companies such as Blanco have a great selection. Also, and a favourite of mine, are their Silgranit composite sinks that come in a variety of colours and styles. Not only durable, heat and stain resistant, these sinks are also a step up in style, finish and colour from their stainless counterparts.

Black remains a powerful force in kitchen design, and it is moving past the accessories to become a strong colour for cabinetry as well as appliances. Black has the ability to add an element of drama and yet simplicity, modernism and yet a traditionally classic feel to any room – and the kitchen is no exception. Whether your comfort level allows for matte black appliances, or simply a touch of it with your faucet, sink or lighting, matte black undeniably will elevate your kitchen from lifeless neutrals to bold and impactful.

Regardless of your personal style, one thing is for certain – our finishing touches have become strong influencers in the kitchen. Find your own inspiration and comfort when it comes to colour, metals and textures, and look to inject some life into your kitchen space. These accessories have progressed from being just functional. With the choices available to us today, they have been designed to be statement-makers that not only elevate our kitchens but create stunning focal points in what was once simply a practical room. Kitchens remain the heart of any home, but that does not mean they need to be boring!

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.



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Below the surface, a family kitchen by designer Sarah St. Amand

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Below the surface, a family kitchen by designer Sarah St. Amand

There’s no question this Oakville-area kitchen by designer Sarah St. Amand is impeccably designed. From the twinkling pendants and luxe walnut and marble, to the crisp black window frames and navy cabinetry that quietly nod to kitchens of yore, the refined transitional esthetic ticks all the boxes style-wise. But what’s more important to Sarah is that the 500-square-foot space is supremely functional – carefully calibrated around the busy lifestyle of the professional couple, and their teenagers and dogs, who live here.

Black frames on the new back doors and window bring a modern industrial note to the elegant transitional kitchen. (The window was enlarged to improve the sight line through the room.) Adequate clearances around the island and all the appliances enhance flow, making the kitchen much more functional. A bold, articulated sconce provides task lighting at the sink.


The best kitchens, she explains, work like sophisticated machinery – both within the living space, and inside the cabinetry and behind the walls. And the guidance of a designer can be crucial in planning that. “I refer to myself as the director of the show,” she says. “Renovations are like a stage production: we go through everything with all the characters, and plan out absolutely everything that’s going to happen.”

This renovation meant bringing a dated kitchen into the 21st century and making it suitable for both family living and entertaining. “It was an ‘80s kitchen with terrible function,” Sarah says. “Shiny-white pressboard cabinetry and a huge vent that came down over the island stove chopped up the space.” (The transformation is part of a phased-in approach to redesigning various parts of the three-bedroom home.)


The design process starts long before demolition begins. Sarah and her assistant, Sarah Rodriguez (their social media handle is #teamsarah), walk clients through an exhaustive checklist focused on how they use the kitchen, and what they want in the new space. “Design professionals have the skill set and knowledge to consider so many things,” she says. “In kitchens, for example, flow and clearances are really important. You shouldn’t have your oven or dishwasher where you can’t get around them when they’re being used.” They tailor storage to house everything from china and foodstuffs, to stand mixers, vacuums and pods for single-serve coffeemakers. Want to add open shelving? Sarah will explain the realities of keeping it tidy, and of giving up valuable closed storage. “Like to entertain? Have pets? We look at anything that helps clients function best in the space – and offer an esthetic in line with the house, and the style that we want to create,” she says. They also consider safety and building codes, addressing details like where new wiring is installed to accommodate pendants or sconces, where to integrate USB ports for charging and home office needs. Then, once operational elements are settled, plans can be drawn, decorative pieces can be chosen, and construction can get underway.


Interior design is a service that can make our time-starved lives easier. But it’s a luxury service, Sarah explains, and top-notch design like this is expensive. Appliances can quickly eat up $20,000 of a budget. Custom-made of solid walnut, and chic and comfortable enough for dinner party guests, the stools here cost $2,000 each. Then there’s the hundreds of hours the design team puts into overseeing the project. “When you go to a lawyer for your legal issues, you pay for that – or a massage therapist or auto mechanic, they’re specialists. Unfortunately, the design industry doesn’t always get seen as specialists.”

“All in, this kitchen was easily $120,000. A design like this – especially a kitchen – is a major investment,” Sarah says. “But you really want to get it right the first time. You don’t want to have it all done and then think, ‘I wish I asked for a built-in espresso maker!’”

The rich graining of the walnut panelling on the end of the island is a textural and organic balance to the kitchen’s long stretches of white-and-navy cabinetry. Kitchen flooring is always carefully chosen, says Sarah; “these are high-traffic areas, so it has to be slip-resistant, but also comfortable, and sometimes it has heating in place as well.”


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 won the Best of HOUZZ 2016 award. For more information, visit stamanddesign.com. sarah@stamanddesign.com, Instagram @sarahst.amandinteriordesign. Portfolio & featured articles on houzz.com 519.802.6328

Photography by: Mike Chajecki


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High-Tech kitchen the latest advances in appliances

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High-Tech kitchen the latest advances in appliances

If you haven’t gone shopping for a new appliance in a while, hang onto your hats. They still heat and cool like they have always done, but technology, integration and customization means every home can have a custom kitchen that’s perfect for its chef du cuisine, who may also be known as mom or dad!

Noir series from Jenn-Air


Homes now have more built-in appliances than ever before. The kitchen in the ‘40s and ‘50s had a fridge and stove; the ‘70s added the dishwasher, and the ‘80s gave us the microwave. Nowadays, in most well-designed homes, you can expect a wine fridge, a steam oven, and a built-in coffee maker, as well as ice makers, fridge and microwave drawers, induction cooking and speed ovens. Typically people shop for appliances every 10 to 12 years. You will realize that what you know about appliances is equivalent to what a flip phone user knew about a smart phone.


Let’s start with technology. Induction cooking, which has been around commercially for 30 years, has entered the residential market. The technology is complex, but quite simply the heat generated in the pot (not the cook surface) uses magnet fields. Water boils in short order and induction has the subtly of gas in that it is hot (or not) with the flick of a switch, and can achieve a very low simmer. It is perfect for small spaces because the cook surface does not get hot, so it is free for serving or other tasks as quickly as the pot is gone.


On the topic of heat, most people are familiar with convection heating, which means fans blow the heat throughout the entire oven for a more even, faster cook time. Add connected technology and you’ve got the culinary centre popular on the Jenn-Air ovens. For people like me with limited cooking skills, simply select how you would like to cook the meal: rare to well done, the cookware, place a probe in the food and leave to join the party. The oven then will send you text messages when it’s time to come back to baste or alter the protein. When that perfect fillet becomes leftovers, the countertop microwave, which crowded your countertop or hung over your range, has now moved to a tucked in, out-of-view drawer. Or for a moist warmup, you can reheat in the steam oven. It’s perfect for vegetables, fish and reheating as well as being a very healthy and delicious way to make a meal.


The innovations are endless…there are some fridges currently that scan the bar codes of food you consume, generate grocery lists and recipes based on what you‘ve got in the fridge. The astonishing innovation in appliances has only just begun.


The next important shift in appliances is individualization. Now you can customize the kitchen with only the appliances you use. For example, if I don’t have a freezer as part of my fridge, I could opt to have two columns of refrigeration and an icemaker. The freezer isn’t part of a fridge any longer. With columns, you can have two 18-inch fridges and one freezer; whatever suits your family and lifestyle. It is also true of heating. You can select a two-burner induction cook top, next to a griddle, next to a wok-shaped cooktop. Why have four of the same burner if you don’t use them? Buy what you will use, and create the cook stations that are right for the home chef.

The visual preference in open-concept spaces is to hide the appliances behind cabinet and pantry doors, so everything is completely flush. The range is the only element exposed, and with the combination of metals and colours available in ranges, as well as the cooking combination you prefer, it has both visual and functional appeal.

The appliances are the heart of the kitchen and are where every good kitchen design begins. It’s worth spending time exploring what is possible. Get the right appliances with the right technology to suit the way you cook and live, and in the esthetic you prefer. Gone are the days when the big decision was black or white – or golden harvest and avocado! Thank goodness!

Extensive experience in residential, commercial and hospitality design. Principal of design firm Grafus Design Build, Glen Peloso is frequently in the media as design expert on the Marilyn Denis Show, and CHCH Morning Live, a contributor to Global Morning News, Breakfast Television Toronto, past series with HGTV and the Food Network, along with Radio and Blogs. Reporting on design trends from around the world, his work has been featured in various print publications throughout North America. Twitter: glenpeloso Instagram: glenpelosodesigner


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Inside and out a 30-year-old kitchen and exterior landscape get a California-style makeover

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Inside and out a 30-year-old kitchen and exterior landscape get a California-style makeover

Photography: Gillian Jackson

You get to know a thing or two about a house after living in it for 30 years. For my clients, Sue and Lou who love to cook and entertain and be outdoors, their house had served them well. The lot was a great size and the 30-year-old trees were now stately and full, so moving wasn’t a consideration, but they knew it all needed some fine-tuning.

Seating nook
The desk, and seating nook offer great views of both the kitchen and the backyard.

As world travellers, they knew they loved the Mediterranean and California lifestyle of simple indoor-outdoor living. Their backyard was substantial and had a built-in pool, cabana, outdoor kitchen and covered wood-fired barbecue/ roasting oven. But inside, the small kitchen felt cut off from the yard and view by the covered deck.

A renovation was in order to enlarge the kitchen, but because we needed to preserve the concrete roof tiles — the Marley roof couldn’t be replaced — we had to dig out from underneath it while propping the roof in place. The area under the original covered porch was incorporated into a larger, eat-in kitchen and the walls became windows to the outdoors.


Because a great cooking and entertaining space was at the top of their wish list, we knew we wanted the home to be breezy and lightfilled, and to take full advantage of the southern exposure. A Nana wall was installed because it tidily folds away, offering the perfect solution to access the outdoors. The original skylights were preserved and with new, larger windows, boundless light now floods into the space.

ABOVE LEFT: White oak floors, cream coloured cabinetry and integrated appliances soften the look of a hard-working space. ABOVE RIGHT: The Marley roof tiles were kept intact and the extension grew under it.


Once the renovation was underway, the homeowners decided to upgrade the backyard, too. They resurfaced the pool and pool deck. Lou is a passionate golfer so he had a one-hole putting green installed on one side of the yard. Light-coloured Travertine paving stones lift and brighten the backyard, and a taupe solid stain helps blend out the building structures, allowing the pool and greenery to stand out. The trick was to continue the feeling from indoors to out, so we chose white oak flooring in a light colour to blur the lines between them.

RIGHT: Custom details like the vent hood and backsplash personalize and enhance a kitchen.


The kitchen went from a small, dark space to an expansive, chef’s kitchen with plenty of room to hang out and enjoy all the views. The custom-designed kitchen by Downsview Kitchens, addresses all the homeowners’ needs. Creamy white cabinetry and backsplash tile are enhanced by the natural quartz countertops. When you walk in, your eye is immediately drawn out to the backyard and the kitchen recedes as part of the furnishings.


We created a servery adjacent to the main cooking area where counter, sink, bar fridges, liquor cabinet and cooler drawers are accessible. Guests could help themselves in the kitchen without getting in the way of the prep and cooking.

A large island accommodates the kitchen sinks, expansive prepping area and counter seating for guests. I’m not a fan of the work triangle theory, which came about after the Second World War and was practical at the time. Now we work in zones: store, chill, prep, cook and clean. I like to design kitchens, so you don’t have to cross the cooking zone to get to the fridge, keeping the zones separate but nearby.

We incorporated a desk area to rein in any paper clutter and placed it next to the new glass door that leads to the outdoor kitchen. The seating nook is a cosy, glassed-in area that gets you as close to the pool as possible without leaving the house. Swivel chairs make it easy to take in every angle, the whole view, outside and in.

Now that their wish list is complete, the homeowners live in a resort-like atmosphere, that they can appreciate every day. They didn’t bargain on the fact that I would be at their door every hot summer day for a swim, but they’ll get used to me.

SOURCES KITCHEN: custom kitchen, custom colour, Downsview Kitchens APPLIANCES: Miele OVENS, DISHWASHER: Sub-Zero, Wolf BAR FRIDGE, REFRIGERATOR: Wolf INDUCTION COOKTOP: Caplan’s GLASS WALL SYSTEM:NanaWall System TABLE AND CHAIRS: Wormwood maple table and custom chairs Brice’s COUNTERTOP: natural quartz, Dolce Vita from Interstone PAINT: WALLS: Plaster of Paris CSP-185, Benjamin Moore TRIM & CEILING: Oxford White CC-30, Benjamin Moore FLOORING: White Oak, Nautilus from Vintage Prefinished Hardwood Flooring

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


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DESIGN: The Kitchens of 2019

The Kitchens of 2019: From vintage vibes to modern drama

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The Kitchens of 2019: From vintage vibes to modern drama

Each year sees the introduction of new colours, finishes and trends. Some are easy to blend into our existing decor and others far more costly or complex. Kitchens are one of my favourite rooms to design, and this year we are seeing kitchens continue on their pared-back journey, giving us a well-loved, well-used aesthetic that is not only comfortable but invites you to stay, relax and entertain.

Wood plays a large part in the kitchens of 2019. Natural wood and white kitchen combinations are making a large impact in kitchen design. The two-tone kitchen looks warm up the plain white-on-white kitchens of late and, paired with open shelving and well-curated accessories, your kitchen will be sure to be a statement maker. As much as white maintains its coarse this year, black is boldly settling in as a stable force in kitchen design. Whether it’s black faucets, hardware, accessories or cabinetry, we just can’t get enough of it. Matte black cabinetry is a current favourite of mine; to say that it is striking seems to be an understatement. As in fashion, black goes with everything! Whether your style is classic, modern, industrial or rustic, adding black to your kitchen will definitely create drama.

Texture is a big influencer in kitchens this year as well. Our fondness for barnboard continues to be apparent as its worn look creates a calm yet welcoming environment that is both versatile and timeless. Iron, steel and other raw metals are also making appearances this year. Their raw finish adds a beautiful patina and accents the pared-down look we are seeing in kitchens. Also popular are countertops which have taken on an industrial vibe resembling concrete, iron and amazing textural finishes as seen here with this countertop by Dekton from Cosentino.

While on the topic of metals, mixing metals is a hot topic not just in kitchens but in design for 2019. When it comes to hardware, lighting or accessories, pewter, copper, black and gunmetal are the new favourites and mix well with the continuing popularity of aged brass. The blending of different metals and finishes adds to the trend towards a vintage vibe in our kitchens. Mixed wood tones, rattans, vintage inspired lighting, hand-made tiles and worn-look accessories all create a beautiful retro inspired aesthetic that exudes comfort.

When it comes to our millwork, 2019 sees us continuing with the movement towards creatively concealed storage, seamlessly integrated vents that artfully charm our kitchens; and lots and lots of open shelving. Removing the upper cabinetry and installing opening shelving lets us display well-appointed collections of worn pottery, aged silver pieces or an array of vintage stemware. This creates a relaxed, edgy yet sophisticated look to our spaces.

Colour has and will be a big show-stopper when it comes to cabinetry. While white is always classic, and matte black cabinetry is the hot new kitchen craze, we also have amazing earthy greens and blues making their appearance, and rich deep greys continue to be a favourite. Accent these fabulous colours with geometric tiles – everything from hexagons to triangles, or a simple square tile in a beautiful hand-made finish.

Whatever inspires you this year in the world of kitchen design you are sure to find that the choices are abundant, the combinations are endless and they all encourage us to create livable spaces that are still luxurious but with a personality that exudes an inviting, “laid-back” charm!

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.



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HOME is where the kitchen island is

HOME is where the kitchen island is

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HOME is where the kitchen island is

Photography by Valerie Wilcox

A High Park kitchen trades in its peninsula for a family-friendly island.

An open-plan kitchen is the epicentre for modern living. It has merged living, dining, work and play into one great space, and the kitchen island is command central.

Long gone are the days of the peninsula – making an island fit into your plan by any means very necessary! Our lives revolve around this proverbial island whether or not the home has the luxury of a separate dining room. We cook, eat, laugh and sometimes, even shed a few tears at this central gathering point. The notion of formal sit-down dinners is almost a thing of the past. We are willing to forego that formal space to make room for our busy, multi-faceted modern lifestyle.

Make a statement

The great room plays many different roles, and as such, we want our kitchens to blend into the living space. One of the ways to successfully do this is to incorporate cabinetry that resembles furniture, more so than one may expect for a typical kitchen cabinet.

The materials and colour palettes we are exploring for our kitchen spaces are getting more daring, slowly moving away from a neutral palette, and allowing statement colours, tones and textures to make a permanent appearance.

Lighting schemes are becoming increasingly more prominent and hi-tech, with the ability to alter the whole ambience of a space with the touch of a button on your mobile device.

Let’s talk about the dollars and cents for a moment; your kitchen is the best investment you can make in your home, not only for resale, but for the sheer enjoyment of your day-to-day life. Knowing how to maximize what is often the limited space of your old-Toronto home is a challenging task. Our High Park project is a prime example of a traditional old-Toronto home with a closed-off kitchen, which provided poor circulation throughout the ground floor, as well as a lack of natural light – did we mention that it had a peninsula?

Space & view enhancements

The homeowners had previously invested in their west-facing rear yard, but could barely see the beauty of their gardens from their small kitchen windows. The task at hand for our Design Build team was to respect the historical period of this Edwardian home, and bring the kitchen into the 21st century, all the while monitoring the budget.

A small addition over the existing basement staircase provided the opportunity for glazing across the entire rear facade of the kitchen, blurring the lines between indoors and out.

An island almost 10-feet long that could accommodate the family of five was the starting point of the kitchen plan. Existing architectural features, such as the stained-glass bay window, were also a key element to the kitchen design. The paint colour, Forest Black Green by Benjamin Moore, used on the cabinetry grounds the light tones of the natural limestone floors.

A servery by the doorway to the dining room plays double-duty for entertaining formally in the dining room, and preparing breakfast on the daily.

Heightened functionality

Deploying clever planning and organizational tips to ensure adequate storage needs were met allows for the open-shelving above the servery, which is not only functional, but showcases a collection of the homeowners’ curated accessories making the space uniquely theirs.

An abundance of marble shapes the focal points of the space, from the Quartize Nuage countertops in the kitchen to a striking black Belvedere marble countertop on the servery, signposts a change of function and invites a new texture into the overall design.

Updating this kitchen also meant investing in home automation; automated blinds, kitchen appliances and even music create that perfect mood, and are of course all easily controlled by your smart device.

If you are dreaming about an escape to your own island, consider what “home” really means to you, and we guarantee you will find that home is where your kitchen island is.

SOURCES: KITCHEN COUNTER MARBLE: Quartize Nuage, CIOT SERVERY COUNTERTOP: Belvedere marble, Olympia CABINETRY PAINT: Forest Black Green, Benjamin Moore WALL PAINT: Chantilly Lace, Benjamin Moore

Natalie Venalainen is a Senior Designer at Men at Work Design-Build. She has 10 years of industry experience and has won several awards including the National Kitchen and Bath Association’s top 30 under 30 design professionals across North America in 2018.

Claire Muldrew is a Designer at Men At Work Design-Build. Claire has a B.A in Architecture & Design and a profound interest in how the interior environment shapes our everyday living.


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