Thursday, February 14, 2013

Making Every Dollar Count in a Kitchen Makeover

Young couple.  First home.  Needs work.  Needs love.  Needs space.  Small budget.  Got the picture?

I had a call last fall from this very handy couple.  They had a 60s home that had been through a minor reno in the 80s.  The home is small, but with the right changes, could be very functional for this couple.  They wanted to do most of the work themselves, but brought me in to do the design and help with the finishes.  The finishing touches took a little while to put in place, but we were finally ready for a photo op this past weekend.

Here's the view from the living room (the wall is no longer orange...that left soon after they moved in.)
Before and after dining room. Porcelain tile extended from kitchen, new patio door replaces window, new dining room set.
The window shown on the left was replaced with a patio door to give them easy access to their back yard.  It's a huge bonus, as they have two dogs and therefore access to the backyard is a must.  The dogs also love to spend their days looking out the patio door. The existing access to the backyard, a door, was removed.  The large window that was beside the door was replaced with a smaller one, allowing a long stretch of lower cabinets along the back wall.

View into the kitchen from the dining room.You can see the side of the stove behind the partial wall. 
The microwave sat on an added cabinet that floated between the dining room and kitchen.

Part of the partial wall was removed so that the dining room and kitchen are one big room.
Proper layout is now possible, with space on either side of the stove for safe food preparation.
A partial wall separated the kitchen and dining area, making both spaces very tight.  It contained some ductwork that was not moveable with our budget, but we were able to move the wall back so that it was flush with the cabinetry.

The stove was moved from that centre wall, to a space a long the far wall and now there is ample safe space for cooking.  We were also able to move the sink so that it sits under the window.

An awkward stove location, with a tiered corner counter, sat behind the partial wall dividing the kitchen and dining areas.

The fridge was moved over to allow for better access to the basement. Pantry cupboards were installed to the left of the partial wall. 
The storage the previous kitchen lacked is so abundant now, there are empty cupboards.
Entry to the basement has improved with the new layout, as I made sure the cabinetry was placed so they could carry their hockey gear up and down the stairs without bumping into the cabinets.
The cappucino maker sits where the door once was.  The window was replaced with a smaller one to allow for lower cabinets to be installed in front of it.
The sink and dishwasher were moved to this wall.
We had a couple of restrictions to work with when choosing the the finishes.  First, they had a new suite of white appliances, but they did not want a white kitchen. (Dogs...hello?)  We chose a mid-tone wood cabinet, and I made sure to include lighter finishes for the porcelain floor tile and the laminate counter, so that the appliances would blend a little better. The coordinating mosaic tile in the backsplash was chosen by the client and I picked a cream coloured subway tile to compliment it and keep the costs down.

Laminate counters in a granite-like pattern pulls all the colours used in the room.
A beautiful grey-green wall colour was chosen to compliment the cabinetry and table.
My clients claim they have a whole new home because of their new large kitchen. Using my services helped them keep within their limited budget and ensured the final design worked for their family lifestyle.

Another job well done!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

When You Need to Upgrade From Ikea

Ikea furniture is great...for a while...for certain things.  And then there comes a point in time when you are no longer a student or a new grad and your income is at a level where you can have something a little better.  Solid wood perhaps. Custom draperies. That's where this client and her husband were.  They had a sofa and a loveseat to sit on.  A beautiful table that had been made by the client's father sat in front of it.  The large flat screen sat a shelf, in a position that made it difficult to see from both seating areas.  Homemade drapes were on the windows, but they needed some love.  And the walls had been very recently painted.
Source:  Ivar cabinet photo from
Well I can't say we finished the space.  It still needs some art work and some items to fill the beautiful custom stained bookcases.  There are end tables to add, as the perfect ones haven't been found yet and some more lighting. But we've added some more layers.  I believe the perfect space doesn't happen over night.  So I'm thrilled with what we were able to achieve, especially working with an existing paint colour...which from a decorating standpoint is best chosen last.  I do love a challenge!

The style of drapes we chose was ripplefold.  They are absolutely perfect for a transitional type of space, as the top of the drapes is very simple.  The photos were shot on a very bright winter day, so it's challenging to see the ombre striped pattern, but the clients adore them open and closed.  This type of drapery is often on a track system that wouldn't have been very attractive in this space.  By using a decorative rod, we were able to make it a little less modern.

We added a few feather-filled cushions to their sofa and loveseat to add some more interest and layer in some more textures.  A button detail, that matches the colour of the sofa fabric, was added to the cream striped fabric cushions, while a modern pattern adds a dramatic punch and pulls in the wall colour.

To further soften the space, we added a circular motif rug, again pulling in the colours from the room, and the adjoining dining room.

The biggest investment is their "step up from Ikea" bookshelves.  The semi-custom solid wood bookshelves were chosen to have open and closed storage.  You can pick what size you want from the catalog, and then have them stained in a select number of colours.  The media cabinet was found in a complimentary style and was stained to match the bookshelves.

I love what were able to do.  And hopefully the final pieces will be curated in the near future to make this former university pad into a comfortable "grownup" space.

If you need help freshening up your space and are not sure which stores to shop, I can help!  I have many design packages for budget friendly makeovers.  Click here for more details.