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Get cooking, The recipe for a fabulous and functional kitchen

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Get cooking, The recipe for a fabulous and functional kitchen

Photography by Stephani Buchman

When it comes to dream home designs, a fabulous kitchen always tops my clients’ must-have list. The kitchen is, by far, the hardest-working room in the home. It’s used multiple times a day, for a variety of tasks from cooking and dining, to homework and entertaining. Needless to say, it has to be functional. Kitchens also yield the best return on your investment in terms of resale value.

For these homeowners, the kitchen design project began with a simple request: function. This family with two busy boys and a hectic lifestyle were in need of some order in the form of flow and storage and we added some style for good measure.

Kitchen challenges

Right off the bat, there were some obstacles to address. The kitchen was dark, dated and very orange. The cooking area was closed off, which made it impossible to watch the boys while tending to kitchen chores – and let’s face it, parents with young kids spend a disproportionately large amount of time in the kitchen. We removed the wall to the living room to open sight lines and improve flow.

This kitchen was burdened by a big bulkhead between the cooking and eating area, which housed a beam from a previous renovation. We were also faced with a large, irregular height island, very limited wall storage, virtually no upper cabinets, two odd little windows, and an awkwardly positioned refrigerator that obviously ignored the “golden triangle” theory.

Despite its flaws, this kitchen had some good bones that laid the groundwork for a stunning, fully functional hub of the home.

“A custom built-in banquette becomes the perfect setting for meals, homework and crafts.”

Footprint improvements

We began the transformation by re-jigging the kitchen’s footprint. Admittedly, this isn’t always what a client wants to hear, as re-routing electrical and plumbing come at a somewhat hefty cost. But ultimately, most people will also agree that the functional lift you’ll see from a more efficient kitchen footprint is worth the expense. By changing the floor plan, we improved flow, closed off the two windows, and added a cooktop with an efficient range-hood insert.

The placement of the fridge was also problematic, so we recommended relocating it to an area that offered more open access. The homeowners were surprised and delighted with the suggestion, and ultimately this small move was a game-changer for how they now use the kitchen.

Embrace custom features

“Custom” is another word that puts the scare in budget-minded clients, but custom cabinets can be found in a range of materials, colours, finishes and price points, and they’re generally a worthwhile investment in the name of function. Custom kitchen cabinets in this space allowed us to amp up the storage capacity, which in turn opened up the rest of the space and made it that much more functional.

A custom built-in banquette becomes the perfect setting for meals, homework and crafts. We selected a durable vinyl for the seat with a small-print fabric for the back, which makes it feel cosier all around. Toss cushions add comfort and colour. Storage underneath is a perfect hideaway.

Fixtures and finishes

Beyond function, esthetics always play a vital role in good design. The kitchen cabinets offer a dark, almost-black look, which contrasts beautifully with the unlacquered brass pulls. The brass kitchen faucet by Rubinet adds sparkle with the added local bonus as they are made here in Canada.

We added some character and warmth with the walnut bar cabinet, which also serves to conceal a support post for the beam above. This provided a clever solution to hide this unsightly structural element.

Brass architectural mesh on the cabinet doors allow ventilation for the coffee machine situated inside, as well as quartz counter inside to protect the cabinet from coffee spills.

Unique brass brackets for the counter overhang add character, while the cognac leather stools are a rich complement to the dark-coloured island.

Easy, breezy style

A farmhouse sink and square subway tile keep the space feeling relaxed and much to the homeowners’ delight, make it easy to keep clean. After all, isn’t low-to-no-maintenance the ultimate in “function?”

The homeowners love their new kitchen and marvel at how much simpler their day-to-day life is post-renovation. A little function goes a long way.

Designer Rebecca Hay is principal of Rebecca Hay Designs Inc., a Toronto-based Design firm specializing in classically livable family homes. Offering complete decorating and renovating services for over a decade, Rebecca and her team manage all of the details from start to finish. Known and celebrated for her design work and appearances on various acclaimed HGTV shows, Rebecca is an active YouTuber, you can also follow her daily design adventures on Instagram. Servicing clientele throughout Toronto, Muskoka and throughout Canada. RebeccaHayDesigns.com

SOURCES PENDANT LIGHTS, CB2, Globe pendant light – large CABINETS, custom designed by Rebecca Hay Designs STOOLS, CB2, Roadhouse 24″ Leather counter stool SINK, Franke farmhouse sink KITCHEN FAUCET, Rubinet CABINET HARDWARE, Rejuvenation Mission drawer handle, Mission pyramid cabinet knob, Mission bin pull CABINET COLOURS, Racoon Fur, Chantilly Lace, Benjamin Moore QUARTZ COUNTER, Silestone – Eternal Statuario (suede finish) APPLIANCES, GAS COOKTOP, Kitchenaid 30″ OVEN COMBO, KITCHENAID FRIDGE, SIRIUS HOOD FAN, Miele DISHWASHER (panel ready) AREA RUG, Custom by Studio BANQUETTE, custom DINING PENDANT, Matteo Particles BACKSPLASH TILE, Olympia tile, Max white 6″ x 6″ subway tile

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Fleurco’s new products for 2019 at IDS19

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Fleurco’s new products for 2019 at IDS19

Fleurco, one of the leading providers of high-quality glass showers, bases, baths, sinks and other bathroom products, had many of its new products on display at IDS19. Two of its new products are the Latitude Virtual Grid shower doors that use black silk-screened bars in lieu of metal bars, and the Halo medicine cabinet.

Watch this video to learn more about their new products for 2019.

fleurco.com

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A modern take on traditional sinks

Kitchen Trends

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Kitchen Trends

A modern take on traditional sinks

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

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

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

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

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

List prices range from $950 to $999.

MeasureFill Faucet

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

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

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

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

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

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

americanstandard.ca


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Luxurious Gold

Luxurious Gold

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Luxurious Gold

by Linda Mazur

Synonymous with luxury and opulence, the colour gold has been enjoying a resurgence as of late. This is not the brassy yellow gold of decades past, but a fresh revitalized look of gold that not only gives this metallic colour a new lease on life but also gives the design world an inspiring playful element.

Florin shower fixture Victoria + Albert
Florin shower fixture Victoria + Albert

Metallic finishes are always a distinctive element in design and décor. They are easy to incorporate into any space and often can be the heart of the design. Metals can inspire creativity or simply be the finishing touches to your space. When looking to design a “spa-like” bathroom retreat, consider adding a bit of gold for that luxe-look. One “gold-toned” finish that definitely deserves some attention is un-lacquered brass: warm, less formal than polished nickel, less typical than chrome. Unlacquered brass has an organic, unparalleled finish that is sometimes referred to as a “living finish”. Due to the absence of the lacquer, this durable solid brass finish is able to naturally age over time and develop a beautiful patina of colour and unique texture unique. It offers a beautifully aged slightly antiqued look. Un-lacquered brass can complement a modern design, work with rustic influences or add oldworld charm to a traditional space.

Shropshire clawfoot slipper tub by Victoria + Albert
Shropshire clawfoot slipper tub by Victoria + Albert

When creating a high-end bathroom oasis, functionality, durability and comfort are just as important as selecting finishes that offer a level of timelessness. Your faucets are not only the “jewellery” in your bathroom, they are also one of the hardest working elements sustaining a large amount of daily use and abuse; as such, quality is of the utmost importance.

Metals can inspire creativity or simply be the finishing touches to your space.

As we know, sourcing reliable and reputable faucets for sinks, baths and showers can be a significant part of the design process; and knowledge is an important part of making the right selections for your project. Take the time to understand the practical elements of your selections, from water pressure, and ease of cartridge replacement, to warranties and faucet repair or replacement, there can be several deciding factors when making your final choice. Another factor you may want to consider in your decision-making process is installation. For example, exposed shower systems have gained notoriety as of late and may prove to be a simpler installation option for your project. In this case, the mixers are combined with the temperature and pressure components of the shower and are located on the exterior of the shower wall usually in unison with the shower head.

Bathroom sink, Lario 100 Volo by Victoria + Albert
Bathroom sink, Lario 100 Volo by Victoria + Albert

Whether wall mount, single lever, vintage inspired or more modern and streamlined, your selection can be the difference between a moderately successful bathroom design and renovation, or a truly remarkable one.

The following are important tips to keep in mind when selecting your bathroom faucets:

  • To avoid delays or additional costs decide early on in the renovation process if you are wanting counter top or wall mounted faucets as this is critical when your plumbing rough-ins are being completed. Also, consult with your contractor or plumber if you’re looking to situate plumbing on exterior walls.
  • Touchless faucets require electrical mechanisms that mount under the countertop. Often, the sink does not allow for enough room to accommodate them.
  • Wall hung sinks and floating countertops can be great, but ensure that any exposed plumbing is well constructed and metallic pea traps are used. All too often, contractors install plastic ones and they become unsightly focal pointed when construction is complete.
  • Select the best quality faucets from reputable suppliers that the budget permits to ensure longevity, durability and maintainability.

 

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

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

LindaMazurDesign.com

@LindaMazurGroup



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Spa day: High-end bathroom renos can require some extra planning work

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Spa day: High-end bathroom renos can require some extra planning work

For many contractors, bathroom renovations are their bread and butter. For one, as people’s tastes change over time if you do a good job the first time, you could end up with repeat business every five or 10 years. Often, the work is a simple touch-up, swapping out some dated fixtures and tiles, and repainting the walls.

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But some clients want a complete spa-like experience at home and are willing to take over dens and smaller bedrooms to achieve their goals. While potentially lucrative, these larger bathroom renovations require some careful planning.

For starters, you’ll likely need to extend or run new water supply lines to the new fixtures and connect the drain for each to the stack.

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Many modern fixtures also often require electrical power supply. Kohler’s DTV+ system, for example, uses a waterproof touchscreen to control the showerhead, body sprays, steam settings, and built-in audio. The interface connects to a controller via a supplied 25’ cable that should be hung with a drip loop. The controller itself plugs into a standard outlet.

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An in-home sauna is another luxurious option. Once framed, you’ll want to insulate the walls, floor, and ceiling around the sauna and cover it with foil vapour barrier to reflect the heat back inwards. In addition to framing the room itself, you’ll need power supply for the lights, thermostat, exhaust fan, and heating cable (or natural gas if you’re going that route). You’ll also need dedicated ductwork for the exhaust.

While long-popular overseas, bidets are slowly but surely making inroads here in Canada. Kohler’s C3 units are retrofit seats that can convert an existing toilet into a working bidet, complete with heated seat and warm-air fan for drying. The unit plugs into a dedicated GFCI receptacle. If one doesn’t exist within 12” of the basin, you’ll need to add an outlet.

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Mirrors and vanities may also require wiring. Kohler’s lighted Verdera medicine cabinet has built-in LED lighting that can be connected to a dimmer switch. There are also two electrical outlets on the inside for small appliances such as electric razors and toothbrushes. The company’s Tailored Vanity series includes an optional three-plug outlet that mounts inside the cabinet.

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To maximize space and add a stylish look, one increasingly popular option is a wall-mounted toilet such as Kohler’s Veil. The nice thing about this model is that the tank mounts on an adjustable bracket that fits between the wall studs. If your client is considering a Veil toilet, keep this in mind when running your other plumbing, wiring, and ductwork in the wall cavity.

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If you are tearing out walls to combine existing rooms, you may need to reroute some of the ductwork so you don’t end up with hot and cold pockets in the newly configured room. Also keep in mind that adding additional fixtures and opening up walls may mean the existing exhaust fan is undersized. Check the unit’s CFM rating to see if you need to upgrade it.

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Finally, if they’re going to go to all this trouble, your client will likely also want heated floors. Heated mats hardwired in place directly below the tiles are the simplest option. But for long-term savings, homeowners might want to consider a hydronic system.

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