Victorian home gets a spacious kitchen facelift
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Tara Ellis and Andrew Bell lived with the cramped and outdated kitchen in their semi-detached Victorian in Toronto for 12 years before deciding it was time to make some changes.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.
A dark, cluttered, uninviting kitchen.
Count on designer Philippe Beauparlant to solve the space crunch in this small kitchen.
“There’s a good mix of open and closed shelving,” says designer Philippe Beauparlant of the renovated kitchen. Walnut-veneered uppers open horizontally and provide access to all the items the homeowners use regularly but want out of sight. Only the most used dishes were designated for open shelving so they don’t gather dust.
The dining table was custom made from vintage table legs and a reclaimed-wood top stained to just the right grey-brown. The banquette’s vinyl fabric looks like leather but is easier to maintain.
The floor-to-ceiling cabinet on the landing houses coats and boots as well as sports equipment and seasonal items like patio cushions.
The cabinet on the left side of the range houses a pullout bin for recycling. The garbage and compost containers are located under the sink.
Tins and vases help declutter counters and spice up the area.
Crisp white jars and dishes keep the kitchen clean and simple.
Grey grout deliberately draws attention to the unique pattern of the white subway-tiled backsplash.
You'll love these lavender shortbread cookies.
These sophisticated shortbread cookies are a wonderful pairing of citrus and herbs.
You're likely familiar with the wonderful results that come from pairing citrus and herbs, but our guess is that you tend to reach for rosemary or mint when preparing a lemony summer treat. Up the ante this month and try a combination that's a little more unexpected, but just as powerful. Delicate lavender imbues desserts with a distinct floral note and flecks of pale purple, and when combined with lemon, the flavour is even stronger. These elegant shortbread cookies are a satisfying snack and the perfect accompaniment to afternoon tea in the garden -- complete with big hats and sundresses, of course.
1 Cream the butter with an electric mixer until fluffy. Stir in the flour, sugar and salt; beat on low speed for 1 minute. Add the lavender, beating until just incorporated.
2 Transfer the dough onto a floured surface and roll to a 1⁄4" thickness. Cut out the cookies using a round cookie cutter and place 1" apart on a greased baking sheet.
3 Bake on the centre rack of a 300°F oven for 20 minutes; let cool.
4 Make the glaze by whisking the icing sugar and lemon juice together. Spoon about 1 teaspoon of the glaze over each cookie, spreading to cover the whole surface. Let set for 30 minutes to 1 hour before serving.
Makes: 36 cookies
Luxe hardcore bundle, Brooklinen.
With the cooler weather coming it's time to prepare your home with these eight fall accessories that can warm up any night in.
If you tend to spend a bit more time keeping warm in bed on chilly fall nights, you might want to invest in quality bedding. Brooklinen’s buttery smooth sheet sets come in an assortment of stylish stripes and solid colours and have a bit of a sheen, which adds a luxurious feeling every time you slip between them. Made with long staple Egyptian cotton, you’ll appreciate the quality every night. Luxe hardcore bundle, Brooklinen, prices vary depending on size.
Crisp fall evenings mean turning up the heat in the house. But install a Nest thermostat and you’ll enjoy having your home at your ideal temperatures all day long while also making your home more energy efficient. You’ll be able to remotely control your home’s temperature from your smartphone, even if you’re traveling. All of this control means you’ll save money on your heating bills, too. Nest learning thermostat, Nest, $249.
This Indigo exclusive pillow cover unites the rich colours of autumn beautifully. Boasting gorgeous florals in earthy hues, this seasonal throw pillow is a simple way to bring a touch of fall into your home. Toss on a couch or bed for an instant facelift! Midnight floral pillow cover, Indigo, $30.
Classic. Iconic. Canadian. This signature HBC Collection striped point blanket’s popularity dates all the way back to the 1800s when it was first commissioned. Since then, this high quality, 100% woven wool blanket has never been out of production, a sure sign of its enduring style. Fall has never been cozier! Hudson’s Bay Company multi stripe point blanket, Hudson’s Bay, starting at $295.
Warm up the chilliest of days with a treat that the whole family will love. This premium cocoa powder is flavoured with natural vanilla to deliver a perfectly sweet cup of hot chocolate each and every time. Sweet ground chocolate, Williams-Sonoma, $15.95.
Blanket? Check. Hot drink? Check. Now you just need a good book to make your evening complete. Mindy Kaling to the rescue! If you watch The Mindy Project, have read her first book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me, or secretly wish that Mindy was your real-life BFF, then you can’t miss out on her recently released second book Why Not Me? This collection of essays, though thoughtful and personal, is also just as hilarious as you’d expect from the queen of comedy. Why Not Me, Indigo, $20.
When it’s cold outside and all you want to do is stay snuggled up inside where it’s warm, you’ll be thankful you’ve got your AppleTV to keep you company. Bringing all the apps you love to use on your computer to life on your television screen means you can get really comfortable as you settle in to watch your favourite shows on iTunes, Netflix, Crackle, CraveTV, Shomi and other streaming services. Apple TV, Apple Store, from $199.
Keep those tootsies warm with these adorable, comfy reading socks. They’re made with just 12% wool so they’re cozy but not itchy. When regular socks just won’t do, these cable socks will be your perfect indoor companions. They make a great gift, too! Cabled cozy reading socks, Indigo, $29.50.
A basket makes the perfect vessel for a potted tree in this kitchen.
Trends come and go, but these four stylish accent pieces are here to stay.
This tropical beauty is coveted for its wide, glossy leaves and towering height. If you can’t find the real thing (or discover it’s too fussy), try a good-quality imitation. Artifical Fejka tree, IKEA, $15.
Towering above the mantel, this tree in a burlap “bucket” is a fresh, organic counterpoint to a contemporary hand-painted wall mural.
A basket makes the perfect vessel for a potted tree in the California-modern kitchen of Style at Home design editor Stacy Begg.
In a handsome den, a fig adds a sculptural note to an empty corner.
Whimsical and eye-catching, the juju hat, a type of African headdress, has become a contemporary decorating staple. The piece’s round bull’s eye shape makes it a natural focal point over fireplaces, beds and sofas. Plus, it injects a note of softness to hard-edged modern rooms. Feather headdress in White 30", Snob, $500.
A canary yellow headdress is a can’t-be-missed feature in an otherwise neutral dining room.
When matched with the beautiful bedding, this hot pink juju hat offers a decorative one-two punch of boldness.
White feathers keep the mood calm in a home office nook, adding texture without the distraction of colour.
Soft underfoot and graphic in impact, Berber-style rugs can be made from nylon, synthetic fibres or wool. But it’s the natural creamy tone and black zigzag or diamond design that really set these rugs apart, making them a perfect fit for spaces both contemporary and traditional. Wool Souk rug 8" x 10", West Elm, $1,139.
Preppy splashes of green and pink liven up the neutral rug in this youthful living room.
A feminine bedroom gets graphic impact from the black lines of the rug and the Hollywood Regency-style ribbon trim on the valance.
Distinctly Italian in flavour, this living room vignette shines with just three colours: cream, black and honey brown.
The versatile Moroccan-style leather pouffe – a more sophisticated version of the beanbag chair – comes in almost any colour imaginable, with metallic versions on offer as well. Pouffes can present as playful or polished – it’s all about the context. For a dash of global flair, this piece can’t be beat. Moroccan leather pouffe in Pink, The Cross Decor & Design, $395.
A white pouffe with reverse stitching goes upscale as a spot to put on shoes or makeup in this dreamy dressing room.
In this stylish nursery, a pink pouffe provides a chic footrest for a nursing mother.
There’s no need to worry about little ones running into sharp edges – pouffes are super soft and toddler-safe.