tag : kitchen design, kitchen designers toronto, kitchen designs toronto, kitchen renovation, Renovation Bootcamp, Robin Siegerman, Sieguzi Kitchen & Home, Tales from the Trenches
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One of the fascinating things about being a home designer, is sneaking a peak into the interior of a client’s life and home and having the privilege of enhancing both. When I’m called in to evaluate how we might be able to improve the function and aesthetics of a house, the owner has either recently moved in and found the previous owner’s choices ill-suited to their lifestyle, or after a number of years in the house has hit a metaphorical wall and feels that change is essential, though they may not immediately know precisely what changes would be best.
The latter is the case of Eliza Reed. On her mature, tree-lined street in mid-town Toronto, stands a mix of relatively newly-built and typical, very compact, semi-detached, pre-war brick homes.
Having grown up in one of the semi-detached homes, and having lived there all of her 60+ years, she has made surprisingly few changes besides up-dating the second floor bathroom. Over the last few years, Eliza has developed some mobility issues and is now retired. Because of her disability, she contemplated moving to a place with no stairs. However, having a garden is an important feature for her so she made the decision to stay in the house as long as she is able but wanted to upgrade the kitchen in case she ever needs to sell, and in the meantime improve its flow, function and aesthetics.
A Divided Kitchen
Knowing that the kitchen needed to be improved and knowing how to accomplish that feat were two completely separate problems. The biggest obstacle to improvement in Eliza’s house is that the original kitchen was in two separate rooms.
In the first and larger of the two rooms at 11 feet by 12 feet, is a round table and 4 chairs which occupy a good deal of space in front of a picture window with a view of the lovely, recently landscaped garden, a large fridge, and on the wall where, in Eliza’s mother’s day, the free-standing range use to be, sat a couple of low coffee tables on which rested a toaster oven, a hot-plate with one burner and an electric can opener. When the stove gave up the ghost some years ago, Eliza, living on her own and not inclined to cook a large meal, never replaced it.
In this relatively compact room, in addition to the large window, are 3 doors: one to the dining room, one to the back garden and at the opposite end of the room from the fridge, is the third door to a small back room about 5 feet by 11 feet which her family referred to as the “pantry”.
In fact, it is the second room of the kitchen and houses the sink, a scant few feet of counter on which sits a microwave in front of a small window, a very few cabinets and a door to the basement.
Added to the physical limitations of the space, was the over-sized fridge that was relatively new and had to be incorporated into the new design and Eliza’s wish that a table for four continued to be located in front of the window so she could watch the birds & squirrels and entertain friends and family.
It seemed clear to me that the first order of business was to unite the two rooms, which would require at least partially removing a wall between them. However, in small kitchens, walls are essential for cabinets and appliances, so the loss of a wall in this awkward space could have proved problematic. In addition, there was plumbing and some electrical wiring running through that wall. The other consideration was that since the clearance required by four diners seated at a round table is considerable the table would have do battle with cabinetry for floor space, and we had to get some proper cooking equipment into the room. Even for homeowners who profess never to feel the need to cook another meal, in my 20 years of designing and renovating kitchens, I know that a newly renovated kitchen provides powerful culinary inspiration, but not if there’s no means of cooking!
So the walls came tumbling down! But not before I did a design concept for Eliza’s approval, then working drawings for all the trades and cabinet company to work from and a virtual sample board of materials, lighting and decorative finishes to get Eliza visualizing the new kitchen.
Next time: The kitchen starts taking shape and a transformation occurs!
Do you have a really challenging area of your home like Eliza’s kitchen in two rooms that you’re struggling to improve? Leave a comment and let’s brainstorm your issue!