How to survive a kitchen reno with a young family
How to survive a kitchen renovation with a young family and hectic schedules.
Two busy parents plus two young boys can add up to one hectic family home. When you subtract the kitchen, the outcome can be downright chaotic. Here's how Style at Home art director Karen Paddon survived her two-month kitchen reno.
Kitchen reno survival tips
1 If possible, schedule your reno for the summer months. We did ours in the winter, but having access to the barbecue and being able to spend most of our time outdoors would have been much more convenient.
2 If you can afford it, move out during the renovation or at least during the ruckus of the initial demo. We planned a family getaway for the weekend that the floors were being ripped up to escape the noise and dust.
3 Create a makeshift kitchen. We turned the upstairs playroom into a cooking space by taking up our old microwave, toaster and George Foreman grill, as well as a mini fridge from the garage. The tub in the adjacent bathroom was handy for washing dishes.
4 Shop small. To keep our temporary kitchen functional, we did a few grocery runs a week. That way, I cut down on the trips between two flights of stairs to the basement fridge.
5 Make a clean break. We isolated ourselves from the areas being worked on. We moved everything we needed (most importantly, the kids' toys) upstairs. My husband and I didn't go near the kitchen much, so the kids didn't seem to want to either.
6 Simplify. Without an oven, our menu options were limited, but we made it work. We ate a lot of sandwiches, salads and microwaved rice and peas. I tried to keep things healthy with veggie platters and cut fruit.
7 Stay in the loop. The more familiar you are with the reno timeline, the better you're able to anticipate the especially disruptive projects and plan outings during those hours.
8 Double and triple up. I think people try to tackle one reno at a time, but redoing the kitchen floor quickly snowballed into redoing the floors on the whole main level -- we wanted the same finish throughout. And once we got to the laundry room, we decided to renovate it, too.
9 Take this opportunity to visit with family and friends. A few times a week, we ate a meal at the grandparents'. And I don't think I turned down a single dinner party invitation in those two months!
10 Plan well. We survived it, but living through a kitchen reno was not easy. Above all else, I'd recommend having a game plan in place to keep the timeline as short as possible and to ensure all the boxes are ticked so there aren't any redos down the line. We chose a timeless aesthetic, so I won't have to touch the kitchen for another 10 years, at least!
How to: Renovate your laundry room
Doing laundry isn’t a fun activity for most, but that doesn’t mean the laundry room should be ignored when renovating your home. If it’s well designed, it can be so convenient and efficient, you’ll be wishing you had more dirty clothes!
Photography courtesy of istockphoto.com
Planning your layout
Everyone meticulously plans their kitchen and bathroom layouts, and it’s just as important to do so in a laundry room. It requires plumbing, venting and electrical, so taking the time to create a floor plan is crucial. Make sure you know where your vents and valves need to go. And remember, front-loading machines are designed to have the washer on the left and the dryer on the right. Place them the other way and you’ll be reaching awkwardly.
If you’re short on space, have your laundry room double as a storage area or mud room, based on its location and your needs. it may be as easy as adding more cabinets and counter space or installing an extra-large sink. the laundry room is built for function above all else, so think about multi-tasking when planning your layout.
You'll love this vintage airstreams retro look.
A vintage airstream trailer gets a luxurious makeover complete with wallpaper, linen drapes and a champagne gold faucet.
I’ve loved Airstream trailers for a long time,” says blogger Lynne Knowlton of Design the Life You Want to Live. “A few years ago, my husband, Michael, and I toured the Airstream factory in Ohio, and it fueled our dreams of owning one.” So last spring, when a friend spotted an Airstream for sale on a roadside not far from the couple’s Durham, Ont., home, their vision became a reality – albeit a less than glamorous one.
Parked beside a spring-fed pond on owners Lynne and Michael Knowlton’s 100-acre property, the trailer is positioned to capitalize on the view. “It’s a beautiful place to take in sunrises and sunsets and to gaze at the incredible night skies,” says Lynne.
“The interior was original 1976 vintage,” says Lynne. “The flooring was carpet and laminate tile and the kitchen cabinetry was an icky wood-look veneer.” In her mind, she was already restyling the 240-square-foot space as a retreat she could park on their 100-acre property to rent out (through lynneknowlton.com and Airbnb) when she and Michael weren’t enjoying it. “I wanted a bright and airy feel while still maintaining the trailer’s retro vibe,” says Lynne.
The compact kitchenette features the original four-burner gas range and an eat-in area with a built-in collapsible table. the dining chair, a yard sale find, brings a country element to the space, while artwork from a street market in Bali adds a whimsical accent.
Lynne determined which of the original design features were keepers: the blue chenille sofas, panelling, gas range and layout of the bedroom. Everything else was cleared out to let the decor reboot begin. White paint and wood-look flooring made from partially recycled vinyl spruce up the compact quarters and provide a neutral backdrop for the sofas to pop against. New custom lower kitchen cabinets were coated in the same white as the walls and then gussied up with brass hardware.
“The original chenille upholstery is still in beautiful shape – how cool is that?” asks Lynne. The blue sofa, which opens into a double bed, is reflected on the range, making its white door appear a watery hue.
She carried the warm metallic through to the faucet, wallpaper and even the gas range. “It was trimmed in stainless steel, which I covered with gold using a permanent marker,” says Lynne. A finishing touch of soft linen drapery makes the space unexpectedly luxurious and serene. And the serenity seems to be catching on. “Our guests love the comfort here. Most don’t want to leave, but when they do, they’re well rested.” Happy campers indeed.
“I considered a queen bed, but the two twins with a nightstand in between them maintain the vintage feel,” says Lynne. She accessorized the pale bedroom with cheery yellow toss cushions and a patterned rug. A rope of twinkling LED lights casts a warm glow at night.
Learn to get this retro glam look in your own space.
Cole & Son Banbury Stone Trellis wallpaper in 3012, through designers, Lee Jofa, $226 per double roll.
Linen Niels wingback chair in Regal Blue, West Elm, $979.
Anne of Green Gables book by L.M. Montgomery with cover illustration by Anna Bond, Indigo, $18.
Smeg 2-slice toaster in cream, Hudson’s Bay, $230.
Zia Birch toss cushion cover in Soft Butter, Tonic Living, $34.
Tour this lovely cottage on Lake Simcoe!
A designer lends her expertise to help a couple resolve a colourful debate over the scheme for their family cottage.
"He wanted dark tones and a woodsy Aspen vibe. I wanted everything white with clean lines." The “he” referred to is the husband, the “I” speaking is the wife, and in terms of their decor preferences for this new-build 4,900-square-foot cottage overlooking Lake Simcoe in Innisfil, Ont., they were clearly at odds. But the Toronto-based couple, who has a seven-year-old daughter, a five-year-old son and a Samoyed puppy, did agree on one thing: The design had to be practical. And after many reassurances on the wife’s part that her vision could be inviting and relaxing, she says, “My husband eventually gave me free rein. I wanted a gorgeous unfussy space that was easy to maintain.”
To get the look, she turned to Lidia van Zyl, a designer based in Barrie, Ont., who’s well known for decorating waterfront properties in the area. “When I was hired in 2014, the cottage was in its planning stage,” says Lidia. “This allowed us to pore over the plans and confirm almost every detail before the walls went up.” The walls themselves played a crucial role in setting the tone for the space. “Honouring the husband’s preference for a traditional look, I incorporated shiplap into the mix,” says Lidia. The wooden boards, which were most often used in the construction of homes, were applied horizontally in the kitchen, powder room, foyer and master bedroom. “Shiplap, even when painted white, provides a rustic contrast to drywall and has an informal feel that really adds to the casual cottage vibe,” says the designer.
While the scheme may be all white, it’s anything but stark. “The key to decorating with white is to use different shades of it,” says Lidia. “If you look closely, you’ll see the walls are a crisp white, while the beams are coated with a warmer shade.” Wide-plank pale hickory flooring completes the airy backdrop, which Lidia chose to punctuate with bold hits of black. “I love contrast, so I added black accessories to almost every room,” she says. Lidia extended this theme to the furniture as well and, with the kids and puppy in mind, paid specific attention to practicality. “The grey sofas in the living room are covered with indoor-outdoor fabric, so they’re stain resistant and easy to clean,” she says. “And some of the pieces, such as the living room coffee table and foyer console, are crafted from steel, so they’re pretty much damage-proof.” She also introduced a few well-placed antiques throughout the cottage to create interesting tension between old and new.
The 18-month process of building and decorating netted a year-round family retreat that Lidia describes as “refined but rustic.” And even though the wife had total control, she did make an effort to include her husband – sort of. She says: “He really wanted dark floors, but even he conceded the light ones looked better. So I let him think he helped with that decision in a roundabout way. Now we’re all happy!”
Accessories like the rope-hung mirrors and the lantern-style pendant lights make this practical space feel decorated. “I don’t like to take risks when decorating,” says one of the homeowners, “but I did want to mix things up in the kitchen so it didn’t read as plain.”
Designer Lidia van Zyl played the natural tones of wood and stone against sleek black accents to create character in the living room. The tall armoire holds things like games, books and blankets, while the bare floor, a practical option, is easy to clean. A trio of metal sculptures above the reclaimed wood mantel is a departure from the expected mirror or artwork.
In the foyer, the staircase’s natural wood handrail and treads were a purposeful choice. “If we had painted them black, it would have drawn the eye up the stairs as opposed to straight through the cottage to the lake,” says Lidia.
A mix of neutral tones creates subtle depth in the dining area. “The table and chairs appear white at first glance, but they’re actually a soft shade of grey,” says Lidia. the chandelier, painted white to downplay its ornate shape, illuminates everything from meals to crafts.
“This cottage always makes me smile,” says one of the homeowners. “It’s an amazing feeling to open the front door to beautiful surroundings.” the stone skirting – a concession to the aspen look the husband wanted – ties in nicely with the herringbone brick walkway.
The artful arrangement of dark-hued antiques in an all-white area of the living room makes a graphic statement. the antlers are a family heirloom.
“I love a white kitchen because I don’t like distractions when I’m cooking,” says one of the homeowners, “and I can also see what needs to be cleaned.” low-maintenance Caesarstone countertops and a glossy tiled backsplash on the range wall make cleanup even easier. the massive island is outfitted with cupboards that hold cottage necessities, such as candles, batteries and a tool kit.
While the silhouette of the chandelier in the master bedroom is traditional, its wooden beads give it an earthy appeal that suits a cottage. the wicker basket, sisal rug and rustic artwork (it’s made of wood and says “I Love Us”) echo that earthiness, which is tempered by the black furniture.
Hooks and baskets are enough to keep the mud room in order since the basement has ample storage. The built-in bench always comes in handy.
Like the rest of the cottage, the powder room is energized with hits of black. “I love the graphic mosaic-look floor here,” says Lidia. “It’s actually 24-by-24-inch tiles, and they have just the right amount of pattern for a small space.” Vintage racquets used as informal artwork perfectly fit the laid- back vibe of this family retreat.