A midtown Toronto couple on a furniture hunt end up revamping an entire main floor.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY LARRY ARNAL
Every now and then, a client comes into the studio with one goal in mind and ultimately ends up leaving with another. This particular couple had just bought an older home in midtown Toronto and wanted to get some furniture. They were both on second marriages and were combining their lives into one; “a fresh start” in the new house. But what started as a furniture plan, ended up as a renovation of the main floor and a new kitchen.
The original house had a centre-hall plan with the living room to one side of the main entrance and the dining room on the other. The original kitchen was small and suitable for one cook only and meals were served in the dining room. The previous owners added a family room accessible only through the galley-style kitchen. The result was a slightly cramped dining room, a kitchen that was difficult to truly enjoy with friends and family, and a family room that was small and somewhat awkward.
What made sense to us was to remove the wall between the dining and family rooms and create one large room. The kitchen would ground the space and straddle the dining and family room. This way we could give them a great island where friends and family could gather around, a decentsized family room, which would be connected to the rest of the action, and a dining room that had a sense of space and modern living. Quite simply, we wanted to turn this area into the heart of the home.
Working with our engineer and general contractor, we had the central wall removed. It used to be the exterior brick wall of the house so an I-beam was required to make it work. We gutted back to the brick when it was clear that a second beam would be required. In order to effectively mask the detail of the beams, we decided to coffer the ceiling. The coffers would hide the bulk heads of the beams in a way that made them seem intentional. We could also make use of the coffered ceiling for pot lights.
All the pieces come together
When it came to the kitchen cabinetry, we knew we wanted something traditional-looking and of exceptional quality. We decided to use Bakes and Kropp, whose work has great attention to detail and is of the very highest quality. We had met them a few years earlier at their showroom in New York at the design centre on Lexington Avenue. We fell in love with the details and quality of the product and knew it would be right for this project.
We love the chrome tops to each of the drawers, the inset door and exposed hinges, the interior construction of the kitchen right down to the final details, including the construction of the cabinet doors and drawers with walnut interiors. Having this as a backdrop to the rest of the room added a charm befitting the age and character of the house. We designed the cabinetry to go along the entire back wall, which allowed us to hide not only the appliances but also the coat closet that was required for the back door. Previously, an armoire was used, which made the space feel crowded and small. The open-concept design made each of the three spaces feel larger.
High-quality and high-performance appliances were a must, and our “go-to” is Jenn Air. While we’ve compared the quality of these appliances with others on the market, we are convinced that the Jenn Air brand is every bit as good as the best-quality appliances, but with a price tag approximately 30 per cent better. We provided them with the standard five appliances (fridge, stove, oven, dishwasher, microwave) and we added a steam oven to balance the look of the kitchen as well as to increase the functionality of cooking. The steam oven should be part of any healthy family’s appliances.
When it came to countertops, sinks and faucets, we selected marble for the island for that traditional, classic look and quartz for the area of the main kitchen. The Blanco faucet in black and the chrome sink sit in beautiful contrast to the countertops and backsplash. We again felt that great quality was important to this project and as a result we selected Blanco products. The simple yet elegant backsplash provides a perfect transition between countertop and cabinet that is classic and classy.
The final step was accessories and lighting. The kitchen handles in black along with black square knobs. The large milk glass pendants over the island are a great scale for the grandeur of this kitchen and still provide for great sight lines. The window coverings and dining chandelier all take their place in the overall design to end up with a harmonious space.
Sometimes when you start the process by looking for some furniture and leave the process with a greatly improved home, you are very pleased you decided to take the leap of faith and follow the path that a designer takes you on. Not only is your home improved but ultimately so is your life.
SOURCES: FURNITURE & ACCESSORIES Designer Inspired Interiors, pelosoalexander.com; CARPET allenrug.com; KITCHEN CABINETS bakesandkropp.com; CABINET HARDWARE leevalley.com; SINK & FAUCET blancocanada.com; COUNTERTOPS yorkfabrica.com; BACKSPLASH tycostile.com; APPLIANCES jennair.ca; CHANDELIER & PENDANT LIGHTING eurofase.ca; WINDOW COVERINGS budgetblinds.com; HARDWOOD FLOORING tymegeneralcontracting.ca
Glen Peloso and Jamie Alexanders are co-founders and principals of Peloso Alexander Interiors, together they bring 35 years of combined experience, creating environments that merge clients’ lifestyle, personality and architecture. pelosoalexander.com, twitter @glenpeloso & @glenandjamie, Facebook.com/glenpeloso