Kitchen

Drab kitchen and outdoor dining space go bold in black and white

Kitchen & outdoor dining space go bold in black & white

Drab kitchen goes bold in black and white Author: Mark Burstyn

Kitchen

Drab kitchen and outdoor dining space go bold in black and white

A Toronto couple with a shared vision cooks up an ambitious renovation plan for their outdated kitchen and backyard.


They say a renovation can lead to a separation, but that couldn’t be further from the truth for this Toronto couple. “We agree on absolutely everything design-wise,” says Melissa Evans-Lee, marketing director of Bayview Village Shopping Centre, about her media CEO hubby, John Lee. “Sometimes I think we share a brain.” The pair’s united vision for the three-bedroom Victorian fixer-upper they purchased in the city’s west end in 2006 was clear – and ambitious.

Over the course of a decade, every room was redone, but it all began with the kitchen, a priority for these foodies and skilled home chefs. A total gut job liberated the 135-square-foot pass-through cooking space from its decrepit pale yellow-painted wooden cabinetry, dark green linoleum flooring and outdated basic appliances. The original window and radiator were left intact, lending old-world character to newly installed budget-friendly modern finishes in white. Oh, and the walls were painted black. When asked about the bold choice, Melissa laughs. “Is it? We didn’t get the memo,” adding that nearly every wall in the house was painted a dark colour, from charcoal to navy. Black also spills out to the backyard for an extra dose of drama.

 

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Drab kitchen and outdoor dining space go bold in black and white

Black and white palette

Thanks to a generous helping of black paint and a good dose of stainless steel, Melissa Evans-Lee and John Lee’s Toronto kitchen oozes sophistication. Tidy open storage and the large original window mask its modest proportions.

By: Mary Levitski Source: Mark Burstyn Credits: Style at Home

Drab kitchen and outdoor dining space go bold in black and white

Open storage

“I’m a very visual person, so I like to have everything on display,” says Melissa with regard to the plenitude of open storage. But she does admit that keeping everything orderly requires a certain personality type (“Can you say OCD?” she says with a laugh). Everyday dishes and oft-used ingredients are kept in sight on floating shelves and in the island’s open base, while overflow is hidden away in a small pantry. Black and white accessories throughout look fancy and offer function.

By: Mary Levitski Source: Mark Burstyn Credits: Style at Home

Drab kitchen and outdoor dining space go bold in black and white

Cookbook display

“I think saying dark walls make a room feel dim or small is a complete fallacy,” says Melissa. “Black adds something really amazing to the mix: drama.” Case in point is this group of picture ledges she uses to display her best-loved cookbooks, which rivals some of the most affecting art walls.

By: Mary Levitski Source: Mark Burstyn Credits: Style at Home

Drab kitchen and outdoor dining space go bold in black and white

Lively greenery

Potted herbs enliven the kitchen’s dramatic black and white scheme and also add a nature-inspired feel that helps create a connection between the indoors and out.

By: Mary Levitski Source: Mark Burstyn Credits: Style at Home

Drab kitchen and outdoor dining space go bold in black and white

Stylish banquette

Whether dining on buffet-style tacos or a four-course meal, guests enjoy interior-calibre comfort on vintage Bertoia chairs and the newly built-in banquette, which Melissa cleverly cushioned using dog beds and indoor toss cushions. “Everything is movable,” she says. “These chairs can easily go in the dining room, the toss cushions in the den.”

By: Mary Levitski Source: Mark Burstyn Credits: Style at Home

Drab kitchen and outdoor dining space go bold in black and white

Coordinating accents

Choice furnishings and accessories (in a chic black and white scheme that matches the interior) create an integrated outdoor dining space – “it’s oven to patio table in about five steps,” says Melissa – that plays host to dinners à deux and mingling guests alike.

By: Mary Levitski Source: Mark Burstyn Credits: Style at Home

Drab kitchen and outdoor dining space go bold in black and white

Serene patio

Tucked into a corner of the backyard, this stone patio outfitted with vintage metal seating and a hand-me-down coffee table is a serene spot for lazing around with a book under the pleasant shade of two mature trees. Low-maintenance potted ferns add fluffy texture.

By: Mary Levitski Source: Mark Burstyn Credits: Style at Home

 

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Kitchen

Drab kitchen and outdoor dining space go bold in black and white