Since space was an issue in this small kitchen, homeowner and Style at Home executive editor Suzanne Moutis opted for square-footage-saving elements like an 18-inch dishwasher (instead of the typical 24-inch) and an overhang to act as a breakfast bar.
Blue and white and beautiful all over, even the insides of Suzanne’s cabinets could really be on display. Her favourite cookbooks share space with all the first aid musts that a mother and dog owner has on hand – everything from bacon-printed bandages (Suzanne’s, not her son’s) to medicine for the dogs is housed here.
Lemons sit in the sun beside the sink, ready to add flavour to a cool glass of water on the go. Mini bowls and vintage McCoy planters (pottery Suzanne collects) on the windowsill hold dog treats, sometimes kid treats, and rings while she washes dishes.
Cooking staples like garlic, sea salt and a range of utensils are easy to find and ready to use at an arm’s length from the stove. The garlic bowl – another vintage McCoy piece – demonstrates Suzanne’s panache for making her favourite collectibles functional so they don’t amount to needless counter clutter.
In the pantry, Suzanne shows off simple organizing ideas at their best: Shelves are organized and labelled (for soups, seasonings and baking ingredients), spices are corralled in a tray (making it easy to remove and search through) and file folders mounted to the back of the door sort takeout menus and filing.
The success of the space planning in this small kitchen is largely due to strategic use of open shelving. Favourite bowls and dishes (collected on different trips to London, England) are displayed on a shelf built atop an inconvenient bulkhead. When life hands you lemons....
In another strike of exposed-shelving genius, Suzanne used the space between the wall studs to make a shelving unit to display some of her collected glassware. It’s a beautful idea that reminds us of the display cases in the prettiest stores.
When you have to fit a lot into a small space, it’s difficult to ensure that things look easy on the eye. Suzanne managed this by repeating curves throughout the room (the countertop, shelves, dishware and even the print on the Villa Romo fabric), resulting in an effect that’s stylishly soft and seemingly imbued with the clouds and sky.
An unfinished, uninspiring laundry room.
To eliminate one of the most time-consuming tasks of the design process, Sarah finalized the floor plan and sourced her most important materials before Day 1 of the challenge. “The biggest layout problem was the furnace and water heater,” she says. “They were the first things you saw when you walked in the room.” She landed upon the ideal solution to strike a visual balance: a wall of white oak-veneered sliding doors to conceal the “guts” of the home on one side counter-weighted by a work area on the other. Originally, she planned for a bank of cabinets above the work surface. “But with the sliding doors, I didn’t want to close off the space completely.” Instead, she opted for a chunky floating shelf in matching white oak.
The One Room Challenge was the perfect thing “to light a fire under our butts,” says homeowner and designer Sarah Walker of her basement laundry room reno. She rallied her handy husband, Graham, to do all the construction. “He’s the real star here,” she adds. The work area’s varying counter heights create more rhythm and interest than a straight run would have; the brass accents along with the white oak help warm up the cool palette.
“I went with a subtle subway tile for the backsplash so it wouldn’t compete with the graphic patterned floor,” says Sarah. Grey grout brings out the tiles’ bevelled edges and complements the veining in the quartz countertops.
Sarah splurged on white oak for the sliding doors. “I waited six years to do this room, and I wanted to do it right,” she says.