Decorating & Design - Styling Secrets

Canadian designers' favourite designs

11 Canadian designers share their favourite designs and what inspired their most beloved spaces.

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Photography by Carol Reed

Carol Reed: A welcoming kitchen
"This is my favourite space from a client project for so many reasons, because the redesign of this kitchen reflected so much of my own design philosophy and they were ideal clients.

These homeowners are passionate about cooking and even more passionate about sharing their home with their large circle of family and friends, not just on special occasions but every day. For me, that’s truly the essence of what a home is all about. Because this space was so pivotal to their lifestyle, the outcome of the kitchen renovation was extremely important to them and I felt honoured to be tasked with the challenge.

The previous dysfunctional kitchen was an ‘80s add-on to my clients’ century home and it was in dire need of a complete gut and overhaul. From a dimly lit kitchen with a bold Santa Fe colour scheme and very little storage or counter space, the new space is bright, fresh and easily accommodates large gatherings.

Even though the look is timeless, the homeowners own collections and antique pieces add personality and loads of custom details make the non-custom kitchen cabinets look bespoke. I love that this kitchen demonstrates that, in the hands of a designer, “off-the shelf” or “big box” doesn’t have to look cookie cutter. I also love homes that have architectural character like this one, so I infused this kitchen with classic details to evoke the charm of its century heritage. When their friends tell them their kitchen doesn’t look “new”, for me that is the best compliment of all and I know I achieved exactly what I was hoping to – to give the new kitchen an old look and her old things a new life.

This was definitely the most dramatic and extensive transformation I’ve done. It’s been truly satisfying to see how much the renovated space has enhanced their lifestyle and how much joy it has brought.

Although its a very large kitchen and family room, with many views and sight lines, my favourite image is of the kitchen table, which evokes the room’s simple, timeless elegance. The patina of the old table and contrast of the dark chairs, the mix of new and old, elegant with rustic, the flood of daylight, I love it all. The table epitomizes the change that took place yet it was the one main item that remained from the old kitchen. The antique monks table and vintage chairs, once completely lost amidst the clutter and bold colours of the old kitchen, now shine in the new space, as do all of their other favourite pieces. Just one look at this kitchen table and it beckons you to gather around and stay awhile. And they do." -- Carol Reed

Tour the rest of this fresh farmhouse-style kitchen renovation.

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