If a full-blown kitchen renovation isn’t in the budget, try these more manageable ideas to breathe new life into your kitchen.
Refacing cabinet doors might seem like an economical alternative to fully replacing cabinetry, but buyer beware – especially with older kitchens. “Often you have to replace the hinges as well, which can weaken the cabinet structure over time and lead to sagging,” says Robin. Instead, consider having your existing doors spray-painted. “It’s way better than painting with a brush, which can cause blobs and drips in the grooves of the door profile, and they’ll look like new.”
It’s amazing how new door hardware will transform a cabinet. If you are having the doors sprayed anyway, the pros will fill in the old hardware holes, allowing you to choose any style you like as a replacement.
Instead of replacing an ugly kitchen countertop (which has its own set of drawbacks if you are retaining the base, especially if the old countertop is glued on), you can hire specialists who will add a quarter-inch veneer of genuine granite right on top of the old counter, for the look and almost the same durability as solid granite.
Beef up and modernize accent lighting. Pendants or other decorative fixtures add instant elegance.
Ceiling lighting can have a huge effect on the look and feel of your kitchen. Robin loathes halogen pot lighting, which has become almost the norm in many new kitchens and renovations. “Halogen was never really meant for ambient lighting, and it can cause glare and fatigue. They’ve come a long way with LED bulbs nowadays; they cost more initially but they last for years, are very energy-efficient, and are cool to the touch.” Old-fashioned recessed can lighting, especially the kind with black liners, can be retrofitted with updated energy-efficient versions with little or no repairs to the ceiling.
On the subject of lighting, many older kitchens simply don’t have enough, which can be very fatiguing. If you don’t want to hire an electrician to install more built-in lighting, there are lower-cost options such as “rope” lighting, which can be added under overhead cabinets, or even plug-in strip lighting, which you can put in yourself.
Even if you don’t do anything else to update, it’s amazing what a new coat of white paint on the ceiling will do to brighten things up. “Ceilings get dingy over time with smoke, dust, and dirt almost without you noticing it,” says Robin.
If you don’t have an existing kitchen backsplash, this is a great opportunity to add character and elegance for just a few dollars. Because backsplashes don’t require a large number of tiles, you can splurge on fancy ones, add a mix of high-end and plain ones, or create a focal point with mosaics, mirror tiles or other decorative options. Dated ceramic tile can be spray-painted in the same way as cabinets. “I had my bathroom tiles spray-painted, and they still look new 12 years later,” Robin says.
Click flooring can be installed right on top of ugly old floors; providing your existing floor is level, you can also install cork, laminate tile or linoleum. With care, these are all options you can do yourself.
Update, clean and declutter accessories; many of us tend to accumulate china figurines on the windowsill and cute magnets on the fridge, and just stop noticing them after a while. Replace with something new and fresh: pretty vases or bowls, collections of vintage bottles, or simply a spotless, uncluttered expanse of windows.
Stunning bathroom design with vintage appeal
A clawfoot tub and marble herringbone flooring are just some of the beautiful vintage features in this stylish bathroom.
After moving into their 125-year-old rowhouse in downtown Toronto last year, Jane and Jeff Wood did a few cosmetic fix-ups to update the charming home, but the dark, cramped, showerless bathroom needed a complete overhaul. The couple enlisted designer Cameron MacNeil to create a bathroom that better accommodated their family. Expanding and reconfiguring the space, he incorporated the original tub and added an expansive shower and double vanity. He used classic materials like marble and brass for a fresh, light look that suits the rest of the house.
The inside of the original clawfoot tub was re-enamelled and its outside painted black. “The bathtub is really beautiful,” says homeowner Jane Wood. “It’s six feet long but quite narrow, and apparently it’s a style that’s hard to find now.” A wall of oversized eight-by-12-inch bevelled subway tiles (which offer visual interest without being too busy) and a marble-topped ledge continue from the glass-enclosed shower for a seamless look.
We designed a Parisian-style kitchen to please any mixed metal lover. Can you tell which is the high and which is the low?
1 Delta Trinsic pull-down single-lever faucet in Champagne Bronze, Roman Bath Centre, $535. 2 Copper-plated stainless steel Russet measuring cups, Anthropologie, $28 US per 4-piece set. 3 Frosted mouth-blown glass Vanadin pendant lights, IKEA, $20 each. 4 Stainless steel-lined copper saucepan & frying pan, HomeSense, $40 each. 5 Powder-coated steel Karpalund table base (customized), IKEA, $80; custom cultured marble tabletop in Platinum Grey Agate, H&M Manufacturing, $450; supplies, The Home Depot, $132. 6 Cotton tea towel, HomeSense, $8 per 4-piece set. 7 Backless counter-height polished stainless steel Rochelle stool in Gold, Black Rooster Decor, $325. 8 Tarkett FiberFloor grey geo-metric vinyl sheet flooring, Lowe’s, $1.70 per sq. ft. 9 Raised foil-coated fibreboard Grimslöv cabinetry doors in Off-white,IKEA, $144. 10 Style Selections zinc arched pulls in Aged Brass, 4", Lowe’s, $5 each. 11 Stainless steel Catering Heritage kitchen scale in Black, Kitchen Stuff Plus, $40.
1 Waterstone contemporary pull-down single-lever 5400 faucet in Polished Brass, Roman Bath Centre, $1,859. 2 Copper-plated stainless steel measuring cups, Williams-Sonoma, $60 per 4-piece set. 3 Cut frosted glass Stamp pendant lights, EQ3, $200 each. 4 Signature Line stainless steel-lined brushed copper saucepan, 1.5 l, Falk, $255; frying pan, 1.7 l, Falk, $320. 5 Free-standing Carrara marble-topped hand-finished cast steel and aluminum French kitchen island, Crate and Barrel, $1,799. 6 Turkish cotton twill tea towel in Jojoba, Williams-Sonoma, $27 per 4-piece set. 7 Backless counter-height stainless steel Metallic stool in Polished Gold, Art Shoppe, $799. 8 White Oak marble Honeycomb Hexagon floor tiles, The Home Depot, $18 per sq. ft. 9 Bevelled lacquered fibreboard Bodbyn cabinetry doors in Off-white, IKEA, $311. 10 Contemporary 141 PULLS in Burnished Brass, 5", Richelieu Hardware, $46 each, through designers. 11 Vintage-style enamelled steel spring kitchen scale, Williams-Sonoma, $60.
Create extra storage with a stylish free-standing island! Find out how we created the budget-friendly customized version using an IKEA Karpalund table base here. LOW: Powder-coated steel Karpalund table base (customized), IKEA, $80; custom cultured marble tabletop in Platinum Grey Agate, H&M Manufacturing, $450; supplies, The Home Depot, $132. HIGH: Free-standing Carrara marble-topped hand-finished cast steel and aluminum French kitchen island, Crate and Barrel, $1,799.
Add some glitz and glamour to your kitchen with a stainless steel stool. LOW: Backless counter-height polished stainless steel Rochelle stool in Gold, Black Rooster Decor, $325. HIGH: Backless counter-height stainless steel Metallic stool in Polished Gold, Art Shoppe, $799.
Add pattern to your kitchen with two fabulous flooring options to suit any budget. LOW: Tarkett FiberFloor grey geo-metric vinyl sheet flooring, Lowe’s, $1.70 per sq. ft. HIGH: White Oak marble Honeycomb Hexagon floor tiles, The Home Depot, $18 per sq. ft.
Both of these pendant lights showcase classic understated elegance. From afar, the white glass shades are unassuming, lending interest with their sleek silhouettes, but up close, beautiful intricate textures are revealed. So what contributes to the lights’ tenfold price difference? While the Low pattern is imprinted on the surface in one fell swoop in a mould using the mouth-blowing method, each of the indents on the High is individually cut into the glass. LOW: Frosted mouth-blown glass Vanadin pendant lights, IKEA, $20. HIGH: Cut frosted glass Stamp pendant lights, EQ3, $200.
Glam up your kitchen with a warm metal faucet like one of these sleek single-lever goosenecks. LOW: Delta Trinsic pull-down single-lever faucet in Champagne Bronze, Roman Bath Centre, $535. HIGH: Waterstone contemporary pull-down single-lever 5400 faucet in Polished Brass, Roman Bath Centre, $1,859.
Glam up your kitchen with a warm metal faucet like one of these sleek single-lever goosenecks. Go for brass (polished, antiqued or matte), bronze or rose gold. 1 Waterworks Henry one-hole in Unlacquered Brass, Ginger’s, $3,365. 2 Waterstone pull-down 5400 in Polished Brass, Roman Bath Centre, $1,859. 3 LaSalle 8DLAL in Matt Antique Brass, The Rubinet Faucet Company, $699. 4 Delta Trinsic pull-down in Champagne Bronze, Roman Bath Centre, $535. 5 Pull-down Spaghetti in Rose Gold, Aquabrass, $650.
Before you update your kitchen cabinets make sure the design reflects the simplicity or complexity of your kitchen and go from there. LOW: Raised foil-coated fibreboard Grimslöv cabinetry doors in Off-white, IKEA, $144. HIGH: Bevelled lacquered fibreboard Bodbyn cabinetry doors in Off-white, IKEA, $311.
While seemingly a small accessory on the counter, this scale is a useful gadget for many cooking endeavours. LOW: Stainless steel Catering Heritage kitchen scale in Black, Kitchen Stuff Plus, $40. HIGH: Vintage-style enamelled steel spring kitchen scale, Williams-Sonoma, $60.
Searching for a stylish pot rail? Look no further than the curtain aisle: Drapery rods make apt stand-ins. Use clip rings for lighter items and S-hooks for heavier pieces.
Copper cookware is a hot commodity – and for good reason. In addition to its pretty shade, the metal delivers superior even results thanks to its high conductivity. However, not all copper cookware is created equal. Unless you’re buying a specialty item, such as a sugar pan, opt for pieces lined with a stable metal like stainless steel (copper can react with acidic and alkaline foods in a potentially harmful way). Look for hefty cookware, as thickness affects conductivity, with sturdy metal handles. LOW: Stainless steel-lined copper saucepan & frying pan, HomeSense, $40 each. HIGH: Signature Line stainless steel-lined brushed copper saucepan, 1.5 l, Falk, $255; frying pan, 1.7 l, Falk, $320.
An essential kitchen item doesn't need to be boring, or hidden! Find a metal or colourful version to fit your decor and put it on display. What a perfect way to show off your skills and keep your drawers a little more clutter-free. LOW: Copper-plated stainless steel Russet measuring cups, Anthropologie, $28 US per 4-piece set. HIGH: Copper-plated stainless steel measuring cups, Williams-Sonoma, $60 per 4-piece set.
Don't forget about your hardware! With so many styles to choose from you're sure to find something that fits your budget. LOW: Style Selections zinc arched pulls in Aged Brass, 4", Lowe’s, $5 each. HIGH: Contemporary 141 pulls in Burnished Brass, 5", Richelieu Hardware, $46 each, through designers.
Photography: Tracey Ayton
Homeowners' contrasting interior design styles come together in a modern-meets-traditional Vancouver home – no compromises necessary.
It all started with the bar. “The homeowners hired me to renovate a little bar area in their family room,” says designer Chrissy Cottrell of Chrissy & Co. Design Savvy. “And I said, ‘Well, if you do that, your kitchen is going to be very jealous!’” The couple took note, and last summer, the small project turned into a full-scale two-month over-haul of their cramped main floor. Chrissy opened up the space, added storage and updated the aesthetic. Here’s how this home was given the grand treatment.
The dark and dated main level of this 3,000-square-foot home suffered from a chopped-up layout and a look that could best be characterized as nondescript. “It was very fragmented,” says Chrissy. “For such a big place, it only made sense that it have an open-concept floor plan.” In addition to poor flow, the space had a cluttered feel due to insufficient storage. The ho-hum house was also in need of some architectural interest.
A bit of Pinterest surfing indicated the homeowners’ differing styles – she gravitates toward traditional pieces; he likes modern, clean lines. Armed with this information, Chrissy sought to create a space that suited not only their aesthetic preferences but also their lifestyle. “I know they’re planning on having a family,” she says, “so I came up with a design that features kid-friendly finishes and durable furnishings while incorporating both of their styles.”
With a style that Chrissy dubs “eclectic transitional,” the house boasts a bright, organized look that’s both sophisticated and fresh. Juxtapositions of old and new, masculine and feminine, and sleek and ornate create a fine balance. For example, a curvaceous Dutch-style chandelier and ornate gilded mirror offset contemporary furnishings in the living space.
The dining area’s gallery wall was actually created to conceal a TV. “It’s hidden behind the photograph of the horse, which slides up when you press a button on a remote control,” says designer Chrissy Cottrell.
The living area’s fireplace was replaced with a timeless clean-lined version featuring a marble herringbone-tiled surround.
Tearing down the wall between the kitchen and living room and installing sliding glass doors made all the difference: On top of creating a brighter and more open space, it allowed Chrissy to double the kitchen’s size, supplant its eat-in area with a more formal dining spot, and provide better functionality and overall flow. Architectural elements like wire-brushed French white oak floors, fireplaces with marble surrounds and substantial built-ins, inject character. The palette of crisp whites and contrasting neutrals was livened up with a few pops of colour to make the space come alive.
Hand-pressed ceramic subway tiles cover the kitchen walls. With a rippled, slightly imperfect look, they provide intriguing texture and a bit of sparkle. “They have this organic feel to them and subtly reflect the light,” says Chrissy.
The kitchen cabinetry’s soft cream colour is a classic choice that also offers warmth and depth. The exteriors of the brass pendant lights were painted cream to complement the space’s palette.
In the family area, the sofa’s masculine vibe is countered by a pair of smaller-scaled Louis XVI-inspired armchairs. “The only piece of furniture the homeowners wouldn’t part with was the old leather sofa,” says Chrissy. “But it worked out really well!” The gas fireplace was given a facelift with a surround made of 12-by- 24-inch Calacatta marble tiles. “They nicely offset the built-ins, so the wall doesn’t feel too dark,” says the designer.
The family area’s built-ins offer much-needed closed storage and room for display. Painting them a rich charcoal adds handsome contrast, visually differentiates the space from the adjacent kitchen and is a practical choice. “It’s a more livable option than black because all-black surfaces show too much dust,” says Chrissy.
Chrissy painted the entire powder room black. “If you paint a ceiling white in a black room, the eye goes straight to the ceiling before noticing how striking the space is,” she says. Luxurious elements like the marble-look floor and brass-toned faucet enhance the elegant jewel box vibe.