Photography: Angus Fergusson | Styling: Stacy Begg
A decorator and contractor lift an old house out of its funk to create a pleasant abode for their family of six.
Jennifer Reid and Chad Kulchyski know how to turn a frown upside down. From booboos to boy trouble, the parents of four kids under the age of 16 have had plenty of practice. The decorator and contractor duo is equally adept at uplifting the spirits of a drab home, and their 2,500-square-foot abode in Toronto’s Armour Heights neighbourhood is a case in point.
“It was too nice to demolish, but every room needed renovating,” recalls Jennifer of the 1950s build she and Chad bought in 2016. The couple stripped the home back to the studs and rebuilt it with style, starting with a bright contemporary backdrop of white walls, black-framed windows and engineered oak flooring. Then each room got some special attention: “I wanted a bit of drama in the kitchen,” says the decorator, who achieved it with contrasting cabinetry, oversized pendant lights and a graphic mosaic backsplash. The living room was reimagined with a new marble-tiled fireplace facade and a parade of cheerful accessories; the dining room with stunning custom furniture and a geometric chandelier.
And that pink sofa in the master bedroom? Jennifer calls it an epiphany. The rest of the decor, including sharp black and white furniture and custom-matted Etsy photography, fell easily into place from there. “I haven’t changed a thing. That speaks to how well it works – especially for a decorator!” Jennifer says, proving that, like mom, decorator knows best.
Decorator Jennifer Reid incorporated a peninsula and classic Shaker-style cabinetry in contrasting black and white in her radiant newly renovated kitchen. “The brushed brass hardware is so striking against the dark cabinets,” she says.
Allyson, one of the kids in residence, grabs a snack from the fridge, which is panelled for a streamlined look.
“For the living room inspiration, I was torn between Jonathan Adler and Kate Spade,” says Jennifer, who chose to channel both with fun accessories in bouncy hues. Flanking the fireplace, floating shelves offer the decorator room for expression: “Styling is my happy place.”
With chunky brushed brass bases, the custom live-edge walnut table and bench are totally stunning, but they’re also cozy, casual and practical (the varnish finish is easy to wipe clean). “I like a dining room that feels approachable, and to me, a bench beckons you to just slide in and eat,” says Jennifer. The sculptural black plastic chairs on one side relax the look further, while subtle yellow geometric wallpaper layers in more character.
Before millennial pink was ever a thing, Jennifer laid eyes on this master bedroom and knew just what it needed: “I reupholstered my sofa in pink fabric the moment we bought the house, knowing it would go in that window,” she says of the once-grey piece that stood in her old living room. Next she ordered custom cushions in a forever-favourite watercolour-like fabric. Everything else was kept strictly masculine black and white to promote a mature feel.