Convenient storage solutions are at the heart of this Victorian home’s kitchen renovation.
Tara Ellis and Andrew Bell lived with the cramped and outdated kitchen in their semi-detached Victorian in Toronto for 12 years before deciding it was time to make some changes. Not only was the space aesthetically unpleasant, but it was also a pain in their backs – literally. “The existing countertop was installed below standard height. I’m six feet tall, and my husband is about as tall,” says Tara.
Since a few other rooms in the house weren’t terribly livable either, they called on designer Philippe Beauparlant to oversee a massive renovation. “As for the kitchen,” says Tara, “we wanted a better layout with lots of storage, and I’ve always loved a banquette.”
The planning process
“One of the challenges I noticed right away,” says Philippe, “was the kitchen’s poor connection to the backyard.” Specifically, the back door in the adjacent mud room opened onto a tall outdoor staircase. His solution was to move the inside stairs that led down to the basement to the back of the house, incorporating a lower landing area that’s level with the yard. This clever approach allowed for floor-to-ceiling storage on the landing. And with the back wall now completely clad in glass, natural light floods the kitchen.
The design decisions
While the couple loves a modern industrial feel, they also wanted to preserve the home’s character. That’s why Philippe chose a clean cabinet door profile and installed crown moulding that matches an existing one in the house. He also played up the heritage aspect by picking a traditional grey-green shade for the cabinetry. A splash of colour comes from mustard yellow pendant lights and tomato red handles on the Wolf range, which Tara tied together with two stools her mother calls “mustard and ketchup.”
“Everyone gravitates to the kitchen now because it’s so bright and airy in the day and cozy at night,” says Tara.