October 14, 2013
At 81, a Canadian suburbanite moved from her quiet neighborhood into a condominium in the heart of Toronto. With the move, the homeowner had a chance to explore the city, mingle with locals and create her dream kitchen.
“Our client is a gifted artist, painter, violinist, stage designer and worldwide traveler,” said Alona Gazimov, lead designer for BedfordBrooks Design. “[She] is a true renaissance woman.”
As a typical city condo, the space was long and narrow without any nearby windows. “The first impression of the kitchen was ‘outdated,’” said Gazimov. Despite the kitchen’s white cabinetry, the room felt dark because of a lack of lighting. “The dark granite countertops with the dark green tile floor didn’t help either,” she added. One small light from the vaulted ceiling illuminated the dull backsplash and the dated appliances, which were upgraded but not moved with the redesign layout.
The tiny space needed to house a breakfast area, a cookbook display, additional storage space and new appliances. “I think the amazing thing about this kitchen is that we managed to create three distinct areas within this fairly narrow and small kitchen,” said Gazimov.
A cooking area fits into a tight work triangle, while a breakfast bar and a separate counter space allows for additional storage. “The focal point is definitely the stovetop area,” added Gazimov, indicating the frame of the stainless steel hood, marble backsplash and drawer cabinetry around the cooktop.
“For this particular project, we had to think classic and timeless,” she said. Aiming for a transitional design, the shaker profile of the cabinetry hints at the traditional but echoes the clean lines of modernism with a thin frame. A deep stainless steel, rectangular, under-mount sink contrasts with a nickel kitchen faucet, while warm, imitation-wood tiles determined the rest of the design palette for the previously constricting space.
Despite one section of vaulted ceiling, the kitchen still had a low overhead. Crown moldings now accentuate the height inside the white-painted vaulted area. By tiling the backsplash all the way to the ceiling and minimizing the amount of wall cabinetry, an illusion of height and light is present.
“Lighting is an important aspect of interior design,” commented Gazimov. “What’s the point of bringing in all these beautiful details if you can’t see it because of improper lighting?” The design team incorporated three types of lighting: task for under-cabinet pots, highlight for the pot lights and ambiance to illuminate the flush-mounted fixtures. “My principle is to over light everything and put it all on dimmers for maximum light control,” adds Peter Brooks, principal designer of the firm. A plethora of lights, from inset LEDs to large overhead feature lights, now illuminate the marble backsplash and countertop, which was subtly dropped to 16 inches to accommodate the homeowner’s 5’2” height.
“ Our inspiration was really the client, with her rich cultural and artistic knowledge. She is very creative with refined taste and endless ideas,” explained Gazimov. “She really guided us through her vision, and we made it come to life.”