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

kitchen design book

Project Portfolio: Kitchens

(before and after photos- click on photo to see full size view)

Project: Beach House

This 12-year old builder home at the Beach had a kitchen that was poorly laid out with extremely poor quality cabinets. The peninsula cut the room in two making the work area cramped and inefficient and the eating area empty with wasted space. The kitchen door is the main family entrance and the original 30" wide closet was completely inadequate causing the room to be littered with boots, shoes and backpacks. Eliminating the peninsula in favor of an island allowed me to use the entire length of the kitchen for storage on both sides of the room. On the working side is a generous amount of working counter top and pantry and the other side affords 6' of coat/boot/backpack storage and still leaves room for a bar area with sink and beverage fridge. The blue, white and yellow color scheme reflects the beachy-quality of the neighborhood and feeds the owners' love of all things blue.

Project: Etobicoke Bungalow

This architecturally unremarkable bungalow had a kitchen that had been installed in the 1970's. And while I've seen worse, it didn't add anything functional or pleasant to the home. By removing the wall between the dining room and the kitchen, partially removing the wall between the kitchen and living room, and adding traditional custom cabinetry with a long, stately island which incorporated display in the end, the whole ground floor was transformed.

Project: Leaside Lovely

This sad, dilapidated kitchen was located in a charming cottage in the middle of the city backing onto a forested ravine. The view out the window was stunning but the kitchen inside was depressing and poorly laid out. By reorienting the island parallel to the longest wall in the kitchen and building a banquette onto the back side of it, the work flow was vastly improved and traffic flow to the family room and the deck was unimpeded.

Project: Lytton Park Prince

Built in the late 1930's, this boxy house was a rabbit-warren of dark, dinky rooms screaming for air. The decision to build a large addition onto the back of the house afforded us the opportunity to create a great room with a kitchen that begs to host parties. The owners and I were so happy with the final result, I used it for the cover of my book, Renovation Bootcamp(R): Kitchen.

Project: North York up and comer

This 20-year old builder home was such a mess of contradicting styles and elements it was Greek Revival meets Big Box. Fortunately, the owners' taste is warm contemporary, so we were able to strip away the uglies and make the duckling shine. The owners knew it was time to remodel when a cabinet door fell off into a sink full of greasy water! The use of warm color and textured materials turns this sleek room into a space that invites you in for a nice long chat.

Project: Knox down

This city house was built in the late 1920's and still had the original kitchen that the owners had been working in for 20 years! It was like stepping into a time machine! Fascinating, but a nightmare to work in with a Fridge, stove and portable dishwasher pushed up against one wall of the dark galley with no counter top, and the sink under a mean little window looking onto the neighbor's brick wall. The breakfast table and back door fought for space in the tiny nook at the end of the kitchen. By enclosing the tiny 3' x 6' back porch and incorporating it into the kitchen, I was able to open up the whole back of the room, put new doors opening up to the new deck and garden and double the counter and working space. A remarkable, functional transformation! Read the client's testimonial here.

Project: Bedford Park South West

The owners of this home loved everything South Western and that was reflected in their taste in folk art, colorful walls, cow hide rugs, navajo throws and dream catchers. They had a delightfully whimsical sense of humor so were thrilled when I suggested trees "growing" out of a counter top, and faux painting to suggest crumbling plaster over lath construction, distressed pine cabinets with pewter lizard pulls, terracotta tile floors with reclaimed barn board accent pattern and hand-painted tiles. The end result was quirky, but fun and a perfect reflection of their personalities and yet the house still sold in less than a week for more than the asking price. Proving my belief that beige is not necessarily what every one wants or likes but defaults to out of fear.

Project: Dear, Deer Park

This Grande Dame of a home is a stunning example of Arts & Crafts architecture that had a criminally ugly kitchen renovation done in the 1970's. Cramped, inefficient and ugly, there was no room to enlarge the space, so I had to use the existing footprint and reorient everything to open it up and breathe new life into it while preserving a traditional feel to compliment the heritage of the home. You can read the full story here.

Project: Rosedale Renovation

Three staircases leading into the original kitchen gobbled up most of the available floor space, leaving a kitchen that was extremely tight on circulation space. The fridge didn't have enough space to open when someone was sitting at the eating area on the back side of the island. Moving some walls, eliminating two of the staircases and building a counter height table onto the side of a pantry, opened up the floor space and gives the cook space to breathe in a gracious light-filled kitchen.