Kitchen interior: Haute bohemian
We inherited our builder-box kitchen when we bought our downtown Toronto Victorian eight years ago. It had fed my family of five for years but lacked an eating area and usable counter space and, with its glossy black laminate counters and peeling white melamine cabinets, was remarkably ugly. The brief? A radical take on traditional that features the clean lines I’m drawn to but doesn’t look out of place in my 1890s home. Here’s how I turned my dated space into what I call my haute bohemian kitchen.
Click on the image to see how the kitchen was made over.
Lesson 1: Brighten with yellow
Bold punches of yellow decor are modern, but I kept the bright hue to items that could easily be swapped out when my fickle tastes long for something different.
Lesson 2: A symmetrical room
Keeping the room as symmetrical as possible has a calming effect on the eye, so I flanked the range with equal runs of countertop and placed open shelving overtop on either side.
Lesson 3: Custom nooks
Cutting out a section of the cabinetry and then cladding it in stainless steel allowed me to create custom nooks that are both functional and stylish for my microwave oven and espresso maker.
Lesson 4: Spending wisely
Like most kitchen renos, mine was an exercise in saves and splurges. I purchased budget-friendly big-box-store cabinetry and elevated the space with Carrara marble countertops that waterfall over the sides of the kitchen island and a stunning Calacatta marble herringbone backsplash.
Lesson 5: Visual interest and harmony
Mixing styles with restraint results in a room that has visual interest and harmony. For example, the porcelain floor is new, but its faux bois finish and herringbone pattern mesh seamlessly with my Victorian home. Modern high-gloss cabinets and industrial sconces are paired with traditional materials like marble for a jolt of the unexpected.
Lesson 6: Spacious kitchen
Freeing one wall of upper cabinets creates the illusion of more space. I reclaimed the lost storage by surrounding the fridge with kitchen cabinetry. And keeping the fridge white allows the eye to view this pantry wall as a unified area – the overall effect is a seamless, spacious kitchen.
Lesson 7: Repeated patterns
Patterns and materials were repeated so they wouldn’t look out of place – the herringbone on the floor was continued on the tiled wall, while the marble on the kitchen countertops was used on the backsplash as well.
Lesson 8: Warm wood tones
Warm wood tones are the perfect foil for the cooler elements in the kitchen. Reclaimed wood shelves with a live edge, a faux wood-grain tile floor and a pair of oversized chalkboard frames warm up the cool white cabinetry and stainless steel appliances.
Lesson 9: Large chalkbaords
Playing with scale adds a wallop of drama. The subtle but intricate backsplash tile running up to the ceiling emphasizes the kitchen’s height, while the large-scale chalkboards enhance the otherwise blank wall and lend a touch of fun and whimsy.
Lesson 10: Kitchen organization
The dead space upon entering the kitchen was transformed into an organization zone by having a custom desktop and open shelves built to match the existing cabinetry. File holders for each family member house homework, bills and notes. A shallow desk surface acts as a charging station for phones and music devices.
Get the look: Haute bohemian
- Sleek, modern white cabinetry.
- Metal accessories with an industrial vibe.
- Traditional patterns like herringbone and materials like marble.
- Warm woods and rustic touches.
- A bright, fun accent colour like yellow.