Heart of the home deserves a great reno CARRIE KELLY Special to the Calgary Sun
PhOtOs COuRtEsY DECORAtIng DEn
Life at home is so much better with an exquisite, functional kitchen. As the heart of your home, a successful kitchen makeover requires detailed thought and planning. While it may be the biggest undertaking of any room renovation project, the payoff is the greatest, thanks to how frequently you use the space and the return on investment. Katie Rioux, owner of Calgary’s Decorating Den, has breathed new life into many kitchens and says the process doesn’t have to be all or nothing. If the current layout works well and you don’t have the budget to start from scratch, a fresh colour on the walls, new backsplash, gorgeous new faucet and countertop refinishing are a great alternative. Professional cabinet refacing is much less expensive than a tear-out, with results no less stunning. “Changing your hardware can also make a huge difference,” Rioux says. Home improvement stores have an endless array of drawer and cabinet pulls to instantly refresh your space. If you decide to do a full tear-out, the options become limitless. Most homeowners opt for an island, expanding or reconfiguring one already there or adding one. People want counter space, Rioux says, and one of the best ways to gain counter space is to have a kitchen island that’s all one level. “I prefer a sink in the island, rather than a stove. It’s very kid friendly,” Rioux says. An island gets a lot of use because it can serve so many different purposes — a place for additional storage and even replacing a kitchen table. Islands help make kitchens look great and function well. “You want your kitchen to be beautiful, but you also want it to actually work,” Rioux says. Lighting is important. Upgrading from a lone ceiling light to additional sources lets you see into deep cabinets and visually expands space in a small kitchen. A built-in coffee bar is a sought-after feature in new kitchens, as are pot filler faucets near the stove, double-door fridges, double ovens and built-in refrigerators hidden behind cabinetry for a seamless look. “In a lot of new kitchens now we’re seeing really deep drawers and a lot of divided storage,” Rioux says. “Pullout drawers in the pantry make it easier to access items.” Deep drawers in close proximity to the stove are perfect for storing large pots and pans. When selecting design elements, consider how well they’ll stand the test of time. “You invest a lot of money in a kitchen renovation, so you don’t want to have to redo it in five years,” says Rioux. White is timeless for cabinetry, as are Shaker-style cabinets, subway tiles and hardwood floors.