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Simple, achievable design and renovation strategies for a beautiful, comfortable home

kitchen design book


Diane and Jim were very unhappy with their kitchen. It was a big room, but there wasn’t enough counter space, and the way it was laid out, Diane felt like she needed roller skates to get from one area to the other while preparing a meal. Jim was unhappy that there was no comfortable place for their friends to hang out while he and Diane were cooking. They had never done a renovation before and simply didn’t know what was possible or how to begin to think about how to improve the function.

This is what Diane said about the online design:

Jim and I found it really helpful and well worth the cost. I had no idea what was possible, and I am not very good at visualizing, so to actually see a conceptual design was great.

The questionnaire is a great tool also. I hadn’t really thought about what I needed in my kitchen space and so it forced me to really think about that. Your book and e-book have been really helpful.

Interior design fees are mostly based on time. Doing what seems like a straightforward kitchen design, for example, is very time consuming. The steps involved are:
• Drive to a house to measure and do a client interview
• Drive back to the office
• Develop a concept drawing, which can take several hours
• Drive back to the client home to present the concept and discuss any modifications
• Drive back to the office to develop working drawings, which is a set of construction documents containing
o a detailed, to-scale, dimensioned floor plan
o fully dimensioned elevations of each wall
o detailed sectioned drawings if required
o a written cabinet legend, cross-referenced to the plan
o an electrical plan showing locations of lights, switches, receptacles, voltages with details on the manufacturer and model # of the lights
All of this can take between 18-25 hours, or even more for complex projects! With online design, you complete 5 easy steps:
1. Fill out a detailed questionnaire that we’ll send you
2. Follow our template to measure your room
3. Take room photos of every wall and special features (i.e. soffits or bulkheads at the ceiling line)
4. Upload the questionnaire, measurements and photos into the online Dropbox we set up
5. Tag photos in an online idea book we set up, to illustrate your preferences

These few steps allow us to spend time only on the design concept, which takes less time so costs you less than in-person visits.

You then receive:
1. Design concept drawings where appropriate
1. A digital sample board with suggested products and
2. Web links to buy the products whenever you’re ready, from websites that offer extremely competitive pricing
3. A follow up phone call to review the design
4. Up to 3 follow up e-mails with any further questions

Our passion is solving your design dilemma, and in 20 years, there has never been a house that was not dramatically improved functionally, and aesthetically, with our design services. And now, technology makes it possible to offer design to anyone, no matter where you live!


Option 1: The Gut-job

If the kitchen layout is inefficient and there is not enough working counter area, inadequate storage space, and poor lighting, you may be a candidate for a full scale re-design for a future remodel. In this case a re-design will take your needs, wish list and budget into consideration to re-configure the layout giving you improved function, circulation and creating a room that is a pleasure to spend time with friends and family creating delicious treats!

You’ll receive a floor plan and elevations including a written cabinet legend, electrical plan, digital sample board with photos of product suggestions with shopping links, one follow up phone call up to one hour, to review the design, answer any questions you may have and up to 3 e-mails to answer any follow up questions or dilemmas. Three months and six months after the design portion of your project is completed, we will follow up to see how your project progressed.

Cost: $797.00 (Ontario residents plus HST) 50% deposit prior to starting the design work, balance due prior to delivery of design package. Lead time: 4 to 6 weeks. Subject to change.

Option 2: The Facelift

If the layout works the way it is, but the kitchen is gloomy and dowdy and you just need some ideas on how to replace or fix what you have to give it a facelift, this option will make food preparation a happier experience so you can look forward to meal time again!

You’ll receive a digital sample board with suggested photos with shopping links, one follow up phone call of up to one half hour and 2 e-mails with follow up questions or dilemmas. Three and six months after the design process, we’ll follow up to find out how your project progressed.

Cost: $457.00 (Ontario residents plus HST) Full payment due prior to design work. Lead time: 3 – 4 weeks. Subject to change.


Option 1: The Gut-job

If your bathroom layout is cramped with little or no storage space or has enough floor space but is poorly laid out, a complete re-design will give you a new layout and materials ideas that will dramatically improve your space and give you a road map to your own personal spa.

You’ll receive a floor plan and 4 elevations, electrical plan, digital sample board with photos of product suggestions with shopping links, one follow up phone call of up to one hour to review the design, up to 2 e-mails to answer any follow up questions or dilemmas you may have. Three months and six months after the completion of the design portion of your project, we will follow up to see how your project progressed.

Cost: $687.00 (Ontario residents plus HST) 50% deposit required prior to design work with balance due prior to design delivery. Lead time: 3-4 weeks. Subject to change. Please note: In the case of a bathroom, once you have paid your deposit, I will assess your photos, measurements and questionnaire results to determine whether or not a full design and remodel will be in your best interest or will even be possible. If not, the deposit will be the full fee for option 2 below.

Option 2: The Facelift

If your bathroom isn’t large enough to make a re-design worthwhile or even possible, then we will suggest new materials and products that will update your space to make its use a more comfortable, happier experience.

You’ll receive a digital sample board with photos of suggested products and materials and shopping links, one follow up phone call of up to one half hour to review the product options and one follow up e-mail with any questions or dilemmas you may have.

Cost: $347.00 (Ontario residents plus HST) payable prior to design work. Lead time 2-3 weeks, subject to change. Please Note: In the case of the facelift option, once you have paid the fee, if we feel you could benefit from a complete re-design, we will make a telephone appointment with you to discuss it and you can then decide if you want to upgrade to the full design option. If so, the balance of the full fee above will be due prior to design delivery. If not, we will proceed with the facelift option.

Furniture Layout and/or Room Facelift

If you are thinking of buying new furniture for any room in the house, and you’re not sure if it will fit or work with your existing furnishings, or you just want to make the most of what you have already and you can’t find a way to arrange it that makes the room feel comfortable, you may need a furniture layout or a room facelift.

Here’s what Connie said:

We’re all dashing off to school and work, and the painters have just arrived to paint the downstairs, but we wanted to let you know that we moved back in on the weekend and love our new space.

There are still a number of small things that need tweaking/completing, but wow – it’s very exciting.
Thank you again for everything that you have done to make it happen…

You’ll receive a room plan to show you up to three possible options for arrangements with 2 follow up e-mails to ask any questions you may have. Three months after the project has been designed, we’ll follow up by e-mail to see how the project progressed.

Cost: $210.00 (Ontario residents plus HST) for up to 300 sq. ft. payable prior to design work. Lead time 1-2 weeks, subject to change. Please Note: If you would like to add a room facelift to this package, it can include color recommendations, digital fabric swatches, drapery styles, photos of furniture, lighting and accessory suggestions with shopping links and a one half hour phone call to review the recommendations. Add $150.00 to furniture layout cost

Ask the Design Pro

If you have a single issue regarding a renovation you’re going through or whether a certain type of window treatment is practical or advisable, or what colors could work with your existing furnishings, a single phone consultation could be all you need to give you the confidence to carry on with the task at hand on your own.

You’ll receive a one hour phone consultation to discuss your problem and find the best way forward. It is advisable to send photos of your room or problem so we can fully understand your question and get right to the heart of the issue.

Cost: $100.00 (Ontario residents plus HST) Payable prior to the consultation. Once payment has been received, you will receive an e-mail to schedule a phone appointment. Phone consultations are booked not less than one week in advance, unless an emergency consultation is requested at which time we will do our best to accommodate you as scheduling allows.

Local, Single Consultations

For homeowner’s who live in the Toronto area, you may opt for an in-home consultation. This is when you may have multiple questions about one or more rooms in your home and you feel more comfortable discussing it in person and being able to demonstrate any functional issues, but ultimately, you want to implement the project yourself.

Here’s what Linda of Leaside had to say:

One of the services Robin offers is a one hour, in -home, consultation. This made so much sense to me as a way to get specific information about my options and the best use of my money. I spent an hour with Robin and I feel so much more confident now about how to proceed. We covered a lot of ground discussing materials, colour and design. We talked about vendors and a logical order in doing the work. Robin provided a wealth of useful information.

I have no hesitation in recommending the consultation service that Robin provides. In my opinion it is money well spent to help ensure a positive outcome to making changes in your home.

You’ll receive a one hour, in-home consultation with one follow up e-mail to re-cap the ideas, recommendations and any other options that may be practical and one further e-mail to answer any questions you may have.

Cost: $250.00 (Ontario residents + HST) Payable prior to the consultation by credit card or Paypal. Please Note: If you live outside the metropolitan area up to Thornhill to the North, Oakville to the West, Pickering to the East, an extra $100 + HST to cover travel time and mileage will apply.

Local Full or Partial Home Design and Project Management

As time permits, there are 3 openings per year for full design and project management for homes in the Greater Toronto area. Design fees will be discussed on a per project basis.

Here’s what Teresa of Toronto had to say:
Over the years, we’ve had other designers and even an architect consult on our aging kitchen in our turn-of-the century Arts and Crafts home. The kitchen was very small with no scope for enlargement. The original layout made the working configuration difficult and awkward. The conclusion was that nothing could be done other than to replicate the exact same layout with new cupboards and appliances. Finally, Robin came, saw, measured, and returned with a novel plan, which turned everything on its ear. Robin flipped the layout and gave us a third more counter and shelf space while making the kitchen feel much larger, far more practical and much more graceful. I asked for more useable space and Robin teased extra shelves on the other side of a counter for Tupperware containers and bottles; she designed a flush built-in coffee maker, an under-mount microwave drawer, a retractable step-ladder instead of a kick plate and two corner cabinet units that are still the talk of the neighborhood. Our kitchen is a genuine hit and the envy of all who enter it. More importantly, it is a welcoming and useable space that is a genuine hit with our family.