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FRIENDS AND FAMILY KITCHENS DESIGNED TO HOST VISITORS

TONY TABLEWARE Perfect items for beautiful place settings

TOWNHOUSE KITCHEN Getting the most out of a modest floor space

MELDING STYLES Two distinct design

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Harlem – Wool & Silk blend in Sky colourway

CROWN ACHIEVEMENT We are excited to feature the winner of this year’s prestigious International Carpet design award for the Best Modern Design, The Summit. Through the artist’s many treks on the Himalayan Mountains, he was captivated by the beauty of the many cliffs & ridges. From that experience he envisioned how the view from the summit of Mount Everest would translate onto a canvas in full color. Accents of white silk are expertly used to illuminate the peaks of the snow capped mountains, which creates the illusion of depth. Truly A Work Of Art!


Floor Art “Great design will forever change your perspective...” – Michael Pourvakil

2017 WINNER

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Michael Pourvakil Owner of Weavers Art

Summit – Wool & Silk blend in original colourway

HOME TO THE WORLD’S MOST BEAUTIFUL RUGS

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Vaughan Showroom 255 Bass Pro Mills Dr. Vaughan, ON 905.660.7929


“I’m Jeanne Beker, and for over 50 years Georgian Renovations has been crafting spaces you’ll love.”

GEORGIANRENO.COM


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Ibrahim Dining Collection

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Over 50 types of stools on display at our Supertest location

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Cohen Bar Cart


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EDITOR’S LETTER

WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THE BATHROOM, the kitchen is the most functional room in the house. If there are difficulties in the kitchen – a broken stove, plumbing or lighting problems, a dysfunctional fridge – they have a major impact on daily life. By contrast, we can easily navigate around problems in such rooms as the den or a bedroom. But the kitchen? It’s the centre of the home. A kitchen that is poorly laid out can fast become a tedious environment in which to prepare meals or entertain. Being functional, however, doesn’t mean that the kitchen can’t also be beautiful. For several years, designers have been marrying beauty and function in this room. In this issue, we take you into several kitchens that have been cleverly renovated for both beauty and function. One such kitchen, in North York, was designed by architect Thomas Tampold in the shape of an eye to facilitate the homeowners’ adherence to religious dietary laws. In addition to offering them extreme function, this kitchen is a beautiful room in which to entertain friends and family. Another story takes us into a downtown townhouse with a sleek, contemporary-style galley kitchen. The homeowners wanted to update the space but discovered that an adjacent hall and powder room could not be moved. They managed nonetheless to create a space that serves their needs and is a beauty to behold. The kitchen designed by Dvira Ovadia in her own home is warm and welcoming. Dvira, owner of the eponymously named Dvira

Interiors, wanted a kitchen that would remind her of the one she knew while growing up, which was filled with the aromas of Egyptian and Moroccan dishes. What all of the kitchens on these pages have in common is that they are magnets for visitors. Homeowners entertain in their kitchens now, so the function transcends family use to embrace entertaining. And that’s where good design and beauty come into play. If your kitchen is in need of a facelift, you’ll want it to be functional and beautiful. You’ll want it to serve your family’s daily needs as well as being a locus of fun when you entertain. We give you plenty of inspiration on these pages.

STEPHANIE WHITTAKER Editor-in-Chief stephanie@movatohome.com

There are several ways you can stay in touch with us: @leahlipkowitz, @movatohome

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THE KITCHEN ISSUE

@leahlipkowitz, @movatohome


INTERIOR | EXTERIOR | KITCHENS | BATHROOMS | FULL HOME ARCHITECTURE | DESIGN

Yorkville Village | Toronto 87 Avenue Road | 416 . 922 . 6620 www.yorkvilledesigncentre.ca Find us on Houzz and Facebook


CONTRIBUTORS

LARRY ARNAL Toronto photographer Larry Arnal says that photographing spaces for Toronto Home gives him an opportunity to “work in some of the best and most design-centric homes� in Toronto. The kitchens he photographed for this issue are no exception. “From the eclectic to clean contemporary, these kitchens feature current trends: black cabinets, walnut accents, split island work surfaces and the latest models in appliances,� Larry says. “It’s always a pleasure to work with the talented design professionals who create these stunning rooms.�

SUSAN SEMENAK Susan Semenak is a writer with a soft spot for kitchens that have personality. For this issue, Susan profiled the kitchen of designer Dvira Ovadia. The vintage Egyptian doors and beaded chandeliers that Dvira installed while designing her own kitchen are a nod to her Middle Eastern heritage.Â

Volume 7, Number 1, Kitchens Issue 2017 Date of Issue: March, 2017 4020 St. Ambroise St. Suite #367 Montreal, Qc. H4C 2C7

Tracey Arial is an author and entrepreneur who specializes in writing nonfiction profiles and books. Tracey says that interviewing designer Rhonda Thornton about the challenges of using traditional wood in a contemporary kitchen reminded her of her own home renovations. Like the homeowners in her profile, Tracey is an avid foodie. She’s currently involved in a nonprofit organization aimed at solving food-insecurity issues with locally grown produce.

SUSAN KELLY

sales@movatohome.com

ASSISTANT TO THE PUBLISHER Hana Rakovski EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Stephanie Whittaker

Randy Laybourne ASSOCIATE EDITOR Phillipa Rispin ASSISTANT ART DIRECTOR Marieve Gagnon ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANTS Diane Dollisen Benjamin Harrouch Carmen Lefebvre EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT Sarah Lugassy

The creative process has long fascinated contributor Susan Kelly. For this issue, she profiled two kitchens that boast big style in small footprints: a downtown condo with an unmovable wall that forced unique design solutions, and a Mississauga bungalow that showcases a slew of top-of-the-line European appliances. “It just goes to show that the starting point for superb design can be just about anywhere,� says Susan, who specializes in style and decor.

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PUBLISHER Leah Lipkowitz

ART DIRECTOR

TRACEY ARIAL

Call 1-866-846-1640

CONTRIBUTORS Tracey Arial Julie Gedeon Susan Kelly Susan Semenak PHOTOGRAPHERS Larry Arnal

CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER Jennifer Mula OPERATIONS MANAGER Lynn Tremblay CLIENT SPECIALIST Sheila Toby PRODUCTION DIRECTOR Wendy Loper ACCOUNTING Valentina Tarantchenko SALES DIRECTOR Hazel Rapanan COLLECTIONS Trudy Kerman LEGAL DEPOSIT issn

1927-324x Toronto Home

Magazine Inc. 2017. All rights reserved. Any copying or reproduction of content without the written permission of Toronto Home Magazine is strictly prohibited.

Younes Bounhar Stephani Buchman Lucas Scarfone Alessandro Shinoda Rhonda Thornton STYLISTS Erika dela Cruz Revi Mula Dvira Ovadia Susi Pereira Vanessa Suppa

Printed in Canada   

Rhonda Thornton Theresa Verdile

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Extraordinary Wide Plank Flooring IT IS POSSIBLE

1310 Castlefield Ave. Toronto

europeanflooring.ca R


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CONTENTS

42 ON THE COVER

A concrete wall is no impediment to the renovation of a downtown kitchen

WONDERFUL WALLS AND FABULOUS FLOORS

A Toronto company specializes in unusual treatments that enhance any room

116

DREAM ON

The art of Irena Chrul looks at the contents of the subconscious mind

144

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THE KITCHEN ISSUE

32 THIS JUST IN

An array of new products for your home


This is what we do. A design team of ten, we can enhance your space and make your home a home. Our specialty is residential homes. We work throughout the entire GTA and even in Muskoka. We have two showrooms, soon to be three, full of beautiful product from leading manufacturers. White glove delivery service. Liz@TheLake opening Spring 2017 in Port Carling.

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CONTENTS

PAST AND PRESENT

A Richmond Hill kitchen is renovated with old and new elements

120 22 EDITOR’S LETTER 50 GLITTER AND GLOW 52 COMPLETELY KOSHER

A kitchen designed in the shape of an eye facilitates religious dietary observance

60 GET FRESH

The right appliances can keep and cook foods to preserve high nutritional value

62 HAPPY MARRIAGE

A husband and wife successfully unite their two design styles in their kitchen

72 SHOWPIECE KITCHEN

A kitchen in a Mississauga home was once installed at Vancouver’s Interior Design Show

80 HOME COOKING

A couple enjoy cooking together in their newly designed kitchen

98 HER OWN PLACE

Designer Dvira Ovadia designs a warm, welcoming kitchen in her home

106 ENTERTAINING TONIGHT

A King Township kitchen is reconfigured to welcome guests

112 SOUNDS LIKE A PLAN

Event planners can take the stress out of organizing an event

126 PUTTING THE ACCENT ON STYLE A GTA store offers its customers help from staff designers and decorators

128 PERFECT FLOOR PLAN

A Woodbridge kitchen is reconfigured for more convenience

132 A WINDOW ON GREAT DESIGN

There are many new design trends in doors and windows

136 WIDE OPEN SPACES

A renovation in a cramped house creates a flow-though kitchen

152 SMALL VICTORIAN ROOM

A kitchen reno in a Montreal triplex makes the most of limited space

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92 TEMPTING TABLEWARE

The latest kitchenware makes it easy to create beautiful place settings


MARKHAM 6 SHIELDS CRT UNIT 1 • 905.475.8353

MISSISSAUGA 100 LAKESHORE RD E • 905.990.5433

casualife.ca S I N C E

1 9 8 1


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DESIGN

1. FLOWER POWER ——— The Kate armoire has an up-to-date geometric relief pattern around a slightly retro flower motif, conferring charm upon any hallway, bedroom or living space. Crafted of hardwood, it has one fixed and three adjustable shelves. 41.5" W x 22.75" D x 90" H. $4,097.

——— Accents For Living 8 Brock Rd. N., Guelph 519-822-2929 243 Speers Rd., Oakville 905-849-8537 www.accentsforliving.ca

2

2. STAY IN FORM ——— The Form tub: contemporary design that’s nonetheless comfortable in transitional and even traditional

3. ELEGANT ABLUTIONS ——— Loom is a freestanding acrylic tub that’s lightweight yet sturdy, with optimal insulation. These benefits are

surroundings. Made by the German company Knief,

hidden within a sleek design that gives it an elegant aura.

freestanding Form has a double skin of acrylic, meaning it’ll

Like all bathtubs by Knief, it carries the CE quality mark.

retain heat well and keep you cozy for long soaks. 75" L x 35.5" W x 23.6" H. Exclusive in Canada to Canaroma.

——— Canaroma Bath & Tile 7979 Weston Rd., Vaughan 905-856-7979 www.canaroma.ca

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74.8" L x 37.4" W x 23.6" H. Exclusive in Canada to Canaroma.

——— Canaroma Bath & Tile 7979 Weston Rd., Vaughan 905-856-7979 www.canaroma.ca


Introducing The New Jura E6

A World First P.E.P © Pulse Extraction Process produces the perfect espresso.

672 Dupont Street Toronto, ON M6G 1Z6 Toll Free: 877.323.6226 Web: www.faema.ca

Toronto • Sherway Gardens • Mississauga • Vaughan • Hamilton


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DESIGN

1. MIX ’N’ MATCH ———

2. SMOOTH SAILING ———

Cementine B&W porcelain tiles by Fioranese are suitable for floor

The Sailboat daybed is a witty and comfortable design element for

and wall applications in both residential and light-traffic commercial

poolside or patio. The aluminum frame has an all-weather woven cover,

buildings. Designed by Silvia Stanzani, the tiles’ patterns fit right in with

and the canopy and cushion covers of Sunbrella fabric resist moisture

current fashion and home decor trends while encouraging compositional

and fading. Colour shown: Kubu Mushroom. 63" W x 173" D

freedom. 20cm x 20cm.

x 31" H. $8,365.

———

———

Ciot

Casualife Outdoor Living

1020 Lawrence Ave. W., Toronto ~ 416-785-8080

6 Shields Crt., Unit 1, Markham ~ 905-475-8353

3050 Vega Blvd., Unit 1B, Mississauga ~ 905-606-2468

100 Lakeshore Rd. E., Mississauga ~ 905-990-5433

8899 Jane St., Concord ~ 416-739-8000

www.casualife.ca

www.ciot.com

1 3

3. SELF STORAGE ———

4. GREAT GRILL ———

This striking coffee table makes a handsome style statement

The main elements of this rustic wood-burning grill and

while offering clever functionality: the top lifts off to reveal

kitchen are made from COR-TEN steel, fabricated to weather

storage space within. Made of hammered aluminum, it’s

appealingly while maintaining structural integrity. The grill

available in silver, matte black, and white. 17" H x

sits atop a storage box for wood, and the prep area features a

37" Diameter. $995.

——— Casualife Outdoor Living 6 Shields Crt., Unit 1, Markham ~ 905-475-8353 100 Lakeshore Rd. E., Mississauga ~ 905-990-5433 www.casualife.ca

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food-safe cutting board. 66" W x 33" D x 39" H. $3,995.

——— Casualife Outdoor Living 6 Shields Crt., Unit 1, Markham ~ 905-475-8353 100 Lakeshore Rd. E., Mississauga ~ 905-990-5433 www.casualife.ca


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DESIGN

1. EXTRA SPECIAL ——— Statuario Extra marble is

2. RUSTIC YET REFINED ———

characterized by pure white

Is it possible for something

colour with black veins. It’s

to be rustic yet refined? We

offered in several convenient

think so. Take this Richards

formats, including slabs as

bar cabinet, for instance. It

well as square and rectangular

features an intricate trellis

tiles ranging from 12" x 12" to

over inset mirrors on each

24" x 24".

door front, complemented

———

by a rustic distressed finish

Ciot

and a sculpted metal base.

1020 Lawrence Ave. W., Toronto

$4,999.

416-785-8080

———

3050 Vega Blvd., Unit 1B,

Decorium

Mississauga

363 Supertest Rd., Toronto

905-606-2468

416-736-6120

8899 Jane St., Concord

1212 Yonge St., Toronto

416-739-8000

416-515-1212

www.ciot.com

www.decorium.com

1 3

3. CLEAN LINES, SOFT COMFORT ———

2 4

4. SUPER SURFACE ———

The Williams sofa is inviting and cozy. Balanced with a clean

Natural stone veneers in large-format strips add interesting texture

hardwood structure and perfectly sized cushions, this trendy

to a wall. We show model 06LRP White Wolf in marble. Like the

sofa brings a special warmth and comfort to any room.

many other offerings in the Large Format Strips series, White Wolf

———

is made of high-quality precision-cut stone to give a seamless finish

Decorium 363 Supertest Rd., Toronto ~ 416-736-6120 1212 Yonge St., Toronto ~ 416-515-1212 www.decorium.com

in an easy-to-install format.

——— ErthCOVERINGS 55 Silton Rd., Unit 1, Woodbridge 905-265-8565 ~ 1-866-657-6606 www.erthcoverings.com

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THE KITCHEN ISSUE


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DESIGN

This glamorous twist on the

2. THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS ———

classic klismos chair is called

Sometimes it’s hard to choose

What Goes Around . . . . Klismos

just one metal for decor

styling comes around again and

accessories. This six-light

again because it’s elegant and

chandelier solves the problem

comfortable. This particular

with a combination finish

version has a metal frame in

of polished nickel and gold

Champagne Gold, with fine

leaf. Dining room, living

fluting details on the legs and

room, bedroom – it makes

a white Ultrasuede-upholstered

a contemporary statement

1. KLISMOS, REDEFINED ———

seat. It would look equally at

anywhere.

home pulled up to a games table,

———

a vanity, or a dining table.

Litemode

21.75" W x 23.25" D x 34.5" H.

8355 Jane St., Unit 2, Vaughan

———

905-738-8889

Import Temptations

www.litemode.ca

188 Bentworth Ave., Toronto 416-256-3150 www.import-temptations.com

1 3

3. CULINARY CLASS ——— Zeyko, the German manufacturer of custom luxury kitchens,

2 4

4. NO FIXING UP NEEDED ———

now offers the Ocean Green stone veneer finish. With both warm

Magnolia Homes designs by

and cool natural hues, it’s a versatile finish conferring elegance

Fixer Upper’s Joanna Gaines

in any space. Available in both handle-less and handled door

offer vintage elements,

styles, and in custom sizes. Also available in black Slate. Exclusive

creatively combined. This

to O.NIX Design Boutique – Kitchens & Living.

Primitive Cabinet Armoire

———

includes small file-card

O.NIX Design Boutique – Kitchens & Living

drawers, deeper drawers,

550 Queen St. E. #G121, Toronto

and adjustable shelves for

647-499-1150

plenty of storage. Its finish is

www.onixdesigns.ca

just right: a dusty grey-green patina with wood-tone rubs showing through.

——— Stoney Creek Furniture 395 Lewis Rd., Stoney Creek 7979 Weston Rd., Vaughan www.stoneycreekfurniture.com 904-643-4121

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THE KITCHEN ISSUE


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DESIGN

1. ALL THE POSSIBILITIES ——— For clean lines in your bathroom, consider the spacious Miller Collection by Dezign Market. Made with select hardwood and European hardware, these pieces offer many decor options. Choose from a 24", 32", 39" or 51" vanity size; an eco-friendly matte-white or charcoal-grey lacquered finish; a countertop of Carrara white or Nero Marquina marble. Also available: handles with Swarovski crystal and chrome, black nickel or chrome bin pulls.

——— Dezign Market 1641 Langstaff Rd. #8, Vaughan 1-888-398-8380 www.dezignmarket.com

1 2

2. UNIQUE COUNTERTOP ———

3. SECRET SOUND SOURCE ———

This ThinkGlass lunch

The Sonance Landscape Series offers a totally scalable outdoor

counter features a waterfall

speaker system that delivers even coverage and great sound quality

leg in Ice texture, along with

throughout any-sized space. Strategically placed satellite speakers

an integrated LED lighting

and buried subwoofers are hidden within the landscape to produce a

system. It’s an intriguing

perfect blanket of audio that does not disturb the neighbours.

example of ThinkGlass

———

soft-mold technology,

Trutone Electronics

whereby each application

980 Dundas St. E., Mississauga

is unique, with a selection

844-980-3838

of original and organic

www.trutone.ca

handcrafted textures, and even integrated artwork if desired.

——— ThinkGlass www.thinkglass.com 1-877-410-4527

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THE KITCHEN ISSUE

3


DESIGN

NO LIMITS A concrete wall is no barrier to the renovation of a beautiful galley kitchen

BY SUSAN KELLY PHOTOGRAPHY: YOUNES BOUNHAR

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DESIGN TORONTO KITCHENS 2017

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DESIGN

PLANS TO REMODEL THIS GALLEY KITCHEN in a downtown Toronto townhouse literally hit a wall – a concrete one. But while they were willing to compromise, the new owners weren’t about to sacrifice style, says co-owner Jason McMurtrie. “We updated the kitchen first because we spend a lot of time there and it was so outdated,” says the paralegal who lives there with his husband Christopher Schmid. “And as the focal point of the house, we wanted it to show our character and style.” When the couple bought the 12-year-old home, they envisioned an open-concept main floor. Their dream was dashed when a powder room and an adjacent hallway proved to be unmoveable. So the kitchen remained a galley-style space.

The homeowners called upon Martin de Sousa, senior designer at Binns Kitchen + Bath Design in Toronto, for the revamp. And they threw him a major challenge, requesting that he retain the appliances, which had been recently upgraded and inherited from the previous owners. They were all from prestige manufacturers, and included a wine fridge, a massive 48-inch double-oven gas range and imposing stainless steel refrigerator. Though beautiful in design, the designer found them out of proportion to the 180-square-foot kitchen. •

An existing pantry was removed and cabinets built to increase storage and house the refrigerator and microwave. Refrigerator: Sub-Zero; custom cabinetry: Artcraft.

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THE KITCHEN ISSUE


DESIGN TORONTO KITCHENS 2017

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“I used one of the tricks of the trade, which was to install even more stainless steel to make what was already there look intentional.”

THE KITCHEN ISSUE

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DESIGN

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The solution: “I used one of the tricks of the trade, which was to install even more stainless steel to make what was already there look intentional,” says de Sousa. His design called for a streamlined, integrated range hood, which also helped bring the ventilation system up to code. It is discreetly tucked into a long charcoal grey upper cabinet. The lower cabinets are covered in an Aluma-Steel finish that echoes the gleam of stainless steel. Together, these elements conspire to create a sense of unity, he says. The designer also wanted to highlight the area as a dedicated cooking zone. To emphasize it, he used warm white quartz slabs to create both the countertops and the backsplash. The overall effect is seamless, clean and highly functional, which was important to the homeowners. A feature wall covered in distressed palm wood adds a natural counterpoint to the gleaming metallic surfaces. Purist faucet and Stages sink by Kohler.

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THE KITCHEN ISSUE


DESIGN TORONTO KITCHENS 2017

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The 48-inch Wolf gas range forms the centrepiece of the cooking zone. Countertops, backsplash and ceiling detail: Silestone quartz in Bianco River; polished chrome and black matte cabinetry hardware: Top Knobs; porcelain floor tiles: Céragrès.

De Sousa also removed the existing pantry and inset the refrigerator and microwave into a bank of tall grey lacquer-finish cabinetry. It makes the appliances more discreet, and provides more storage than previously. “And it makes the kitchen look larger by extending them into the breakfast nook,” he says. Some warmth was needed to counterbalance all the metallic surfaces. Underfoot, the designer had installed 12-by-24-inch textured porcelain tiles in a soft grey-sand colour. And on the wall opposite the range he added a feature wall of light-toned distressed palm wood. Three open floating shelves add further design interest. It’s the mix of function and style that most pleases the owners. The old kitchen layout had no functioning drawers. Now everything the couple needs when cooking or entertaining is within reach. “And we love the modern look and think it will be relevant for a long time,” says Jason. “So much so, we’ve used it as a starting point for the rest of our home.” •

THE KITCHEN ISSUE

47


Beautiful Lighting. Designer Brands. Expert Advice.

(905) 738-8889 8355 Jane Street, Unit 2 Vaughan, ON L4K 5Y3 litemode.ca


Oysters, lobsters, crab legs, fish and premium steak or artisan pizzas will satisfy and tantalize your pallet!

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LIFESTYLE

1. PRETTY IN PINK ——— Pink is the hot colour in decor this year, but we know that it’s a winner at any time. These pretty earrings feature 28.53 ct. of pink opal in a 14-kt. rose gold setting, embellished with 0.66 ct. of rose-cut diamonds and 0.53 ct. of round diamonds.

——— Mark Lash 480 Eglinton Ave. W., Toronto 416-256-5229 9033 Leslie St., Richmond Hill 905-881-5229 www.marklash.com

2

2. BANGLE ANGLE ———

1 3

3. BIG BAGUETTE ———

Wear this bangle solo for understated sophistication, or

Can you say “wow factor?”

stack a bunch of them for serious bling. Either way, the

This ring with a modestly

intriguing angle in the 14-kt white-gold bangle adds to

slim 14-kt yellow gold

the effect of its 0.57ct. of baguette diamonds and 0.18 ct.

band sports an impressive

of round diamonds.

array (0.99 ct.) of baguette

———

diamonds wittily arranged

Mark Lash 480 Eglinton Ave. W., Toronto ~ 416-256-5229 9033 Leslie St., Richmond Hill ~ 905-881-5229 www.marklash.com

into a baguette shape.

——— Mark Lash 480 Eglinton Ave. W., Toronto 416-256-5229 9033 Leslie St., Richmond Hill 905-881-5229 www.marklash.com

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THE KITCHEN ISSUE


Whether your taste is contemporary, traditional or ultra-modern, we create to please the mind's pursuit of excitement and luxury. SALE ON NOW! 7850 Weston Road Woodbridge ON (Beside Michaels) 1-844-MY-GLITZ (1-844-694-5489) | www.Cairo-Glitz.com


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DESIGN

THE EYE HAS IT

This kitchen, shaped like an eye, has the right layout for the preparation of kosher meals BY STEPHANIE WHITTAKER PHOTOGRAPHY: LARRY ARNAL STYLING: VANESSA SUPPA

The homeowner visualized the new kitchen designed in the shape of an eye. Here, two distinctive food-preparation zones face each other like a pair of letter Cs. The curved counter on the right, topped with Caesarstone quartz in Blizzard White, is dedicated to the preparation of meat meals. The one on the left, topped with Brazilian granite, is for dairy meals. One of the homeowners says that an element that attracted him to the granite slab was some of its natural veins, which are reminiscent of a Star of David. The glass surface attached to the outside of the island is one piece. It took the homeowners a while to find a company that could furnish a seamless piece of frosted glass to run the 13.5-foot length of the dairy island. The faucets on each of the sinks rotate 360 degrees. Pendant light fixture: Union Lighting & Home; flooring: Terra Legno engineered oak in Desert Sand; painting: J.D. Stevenson; quartz and granite: Moscone Marble; Dacor cooktop on granite counter: Direct Appliances.

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DESIGN TORONTO KITCHENS 2017

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DESIGN

The breakfast nook, just beyond the eye is in the space added to the back of the house during the renovation; it’s shaped like a ship’s bow. The metal chairs and Saarinen table confer a contemporary look.

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IT MAY HAVE BEEN ONE of the most unusual design requests architect Thomas Tampold had ever received. The owner of Yorkville Design Centre had been asked to create a kitchen in the shape of an eye. And while the request could have perplexed many architects, Tampold was intrigued and inspired. “My client wanted the eye shape because he could see it would lend itself well to a kosher kitchen,” Tampold says. “So I did some sketches that showed part of the kitchen as an upper eyelid and the other half as the lower lid.”

The result is an unusual but appealing configuration in this North York home. Tampold was tasked with redesigning the whole house, which was built in the Art Deco style, albeit on one storey. In the extensive renovation of the house’s interior and exterior, done by Battiston Construction, a second storey was added and the layout was completely reconfigured. While the new structure is distinctly contemporary in style, the rounded shape of one of the corners on the front facade was preserved to honour the building’s architectural origins.


DESIGN TORONTO KITCHENS 2017

The large painting in the dining area is by Uno Hoffmann. Traditional-looking in this contemporary kitchen, the chandelier and dining table are family heirlooms. “We wanted to keep them to honour our family history,” says one of the homeowners.

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The new kitchen is located at the back of the house where a wall was bumped out in the shape of a ship’s bow. The curvaceous eyeshaped kitchen fits perfectly into the new configuration. A kosher kitchen was de rigueur for this couple. “I wanted a kitchen that would be useful and attractive in which I could access things easily,” one of the homeowners says. The design facilitates the couple’s adherence to Jewish religious dietary laws, which stipulate that meat meals and dairy meals must be prepared and consumed separately. To that end, there are two refrigerators, two sinks,

two cooktops and two dishwashers. There are also distinct cabinets for the couple’s separate sets of tableware and cutlery in addition to a special cupboard for Passover dishes. But it is the design of the kitchen that makes the preparation of kosher dishes so convenient. The two food preparation areas are configured like letter Cs facing each other. The counter that abuts a wall, topped with white Caesarstone quartz, is dedicated to the preparation of meat-based meals. The opposite one, topped with green Brazilian granite and equipped with a Dacor cooktop, is the preparation zone for dairy meals. •

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Downsview Kitchens built the cabinetry of Italian laminate. The quartz-clad counter is dedicated to the preparation of meat meals. The fridge on the left holds meat provisions; the one on the right is for dairy products. There is a walk-in pantry (not shown) behind the dairy fridge. Bosch fridges and dishwashers: Direct Appliances; cabinetry hardware: Richelieu.

The corner behind the quartz-topped counter features f loor-to-ceiling cabinetry, clad in Italian laminate. A Dacor gas range in this area, which is equipped with a custom-made stainless steel range hood, is used to cook meat meals, while the two refrigerators keep meat and dairy provisions strictly separate. Despite the functional nature of the space, it has also proved to be ideal for entertaining. “We hosted 80 people here at my daughter’s engagement party in December,” says one of the homeowners. “There was plenty of room for everyone and the flow was perfect.” Tampold says that one of the advantages of bumping out the back facade is the view it affords the homeowners of neighbouring backyards rather than brick walls. The homeowners say their collaboration with their architect was a creative one. And Tampold credits his clients with knowing exactly what they wanted. “We worked together to make it sing,” he says. •

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FRESH FOOD FOR A NUTRITIOUS DIET New technology in ovens and fridges allow home cooks to eat well and be healthy

IF YOU’VE MADE A DECISION to improve your health by changing the way you eat, you’re probably careful about your calorie intake, you seek out organic and GMO-free foods, and you cook nutritious meals. But did you know that the right appliances can also help you create a healthful diet? Toronto Home asked Mark Eglington, president of Euro-Line Appliances Inc., about the impact that the right appliances can have on what we eat. QUESTION: Mark, it is said that cooking food in a steam oven has a major impact on its quality and nutritional value. Please explain why. ANSWER: Cooking with steam is the healthiest way to prepare a meal. The high humidity in the oven cavity helps to lock nutrients into food. For example, if you are cooking vegetables in a typical dry-heat oven, the moisture slowly evaporates out of the food. The moisture holds the vegetables’ highest nutritional content. Cooking with steam provides low heat and a wet environment so vegetables maintain their moisture content through the cooking process instead of releasing their nutritional value. On this setting, the oven temperature never exceeds 96 degrees Celsius, which is the key to fullsteam cooking. It also helps food maintain its colour, texture, and flavour. Q: Steam ovens are relatively new. What is a steam oven and how does it work? A: Steam ovens have been used in premium rest au ra nt s worldw ide for yea r s. The technology was unavailable for domestic use though because formatting the ovens in manufacturing facilities was costly and inef f icient. For tunately, our AEG and Porter&Charles factories have research and

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development teams that have made this technology affordable for home use. These ovens work on a simple premise. Water is put into an internal tank and the oven uses sensors to inject as much or as little steam as desired to create the perfect dish with minimal effort. Adding a burst of steam to almost any dish creates excellent results: moist and succulent meat, crisp and flavourful vegetables, or firm fish filets. Many of our clients find greater value in combi-steam ovens.

Q: What is a combi-steam oven? A: As its name suggests, it is a combination steam/dry-heat oven. You can use it to cook with 100 per cent steam, 100 per cent dry heat, or you can combine the two modes to create optimal levels of humidity for a specific meal. The best example I can give is cooking a Thanksgiving roast. By using a 25 per cent steam-burst setting, you can increase the oven to roasting temperatures, but the internal sensors will know when the air is too dry and inject moisture, locking juices into the meat.


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The high heat gives the outside of the roast a beautiful brown colour, but the humidity makes it moist and delicious. This works for pastries and bread as well…no more cracking along the top, thanks to steam. Q: How can a combi oven be used to foster a healthful diet? A: Cooking with steam preserves the food’s nutritional value. No lifestyle change is necessary to take advantage of this system. A secondary bonus is that it combines two units into one, creating more usable space in the kitchen.

Euro-Line Appliances Inc. 871 Cranberry Crt., Oakville 905-829-3980 www.euro-line-appliances.com

Q: Refrigeration can also have an impact on food quality. What are the latest innovations in refrigeration that lend themselves to a healthful approach to eating? A: Ref r igeration plays a huge role i n maintaining maximum nutritional value in food. The longer something is in the fridge, the more the nutrients evaporate out. We have refrigeration products that maintain high humidity levels in the vegetable and crisper drawers. Liebherr’s BioFresh and DrySafe storage compartments allow you to control the humidity level in those compartments.

You would use DrySafe for cured meats and cheeses and BioFresh for fresh fruit, vegetables and fish. DrySafe ensures that no humidity gets into that drawer to maximize the lifespan of food and reduce the formation of mould. And BioFresh injects moisture so fresh food can reabsorb moisture and maintain its integrity longer. Also, both of these compartments are anti-microbial and regulated at 0.5 degrees Celsius, so bacteria struggle to grow, and the cells in food do not break down as quickly. These three food-preservation factors triple the storage time, making grocery shopping and timemanagement easier. Q: Which appliances are recommended to create that kind of healthy lifestyle? A: I recommend any Liebherr refrigerator that has BioFresh, the AEG combi-steam oven, and an AEG induction cooktop. These products are made in Germany, have long warranties, represent some of the best equipment at affordable prices and, most important, look gorgeous in any home. •

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A HAPPY MARRIAGE A couple with different design tastes combine their two styles in one superb kitchen BY SUSAN SEMENAK PHOTOGRAPHY: ALESSANDRO SHINODA STYLING: ERIKA DELA CRUZ

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FRED LEUNG AND SARAH LIMBU have all kinds of big ideas about interior design and home decor. The only trouble is they don’t always match. She likes herringbone patterns and tufted upholstery. He prefers clean, modern lines. How to bridge the gap? When the Toronto couple decided to upgrade the standard builder’s kitchen in their new Thornhill Estates home, they called in kitchen designer Erika dela Cruz, co-owner of O.NIX Design Boutique, to mediate. Dela Cruz says her clients’ conundrum is not so rare. Many couples, it turns out, need help melding his and her tastes when building or renovating. Sarah says dela Cruz helped them embrace their differences by creating a two-tone kitchen that is contemporary, but warm and inviting. They chose kitchen cabinets from the Italian manufacturer Biefbi Cucine because the company offers both classic and contemporary styles. The dramatic light fixtures over the table and the island are showpieces picked up by the homeowners during a trip to China. The pendants over the island, with their glass and gold tones, are hung at different heights. The giant metal globe over the table measures more than four feet in diameter.

Most people ignore the ceiling, but the homeowners wanted something unique. They asked for recessed crown moldings backlit with LED lights.

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The coffee station features a drawer below the Miele automatic coffee maker where the homeowners store coffee, cups and supplies. When pulled out, it also serves as a coffee bar.

Fred got what he wanted in tortora-coloured (a cross between dove grey and taupe) shiny, flat-front cabinets. His wife got her way with elegant upholstered counter stools, a tiled backsplash in an Old-World herringbone pattern and lacquered white oak cabinets with handleless panelled doors. Dela Cruz harmonized the two styles by keeping them apart. She positioned the classic white in the middle of the kitchen and kept the modern gloss at the ends of the walls. Side-by-side they would have looked mismatched, she says. •

The tabletop is a solid piece of wood the homeowners found in Foshan, China. They had the wrought-iron scrollwork base custom-made in Toronto, based on a design they had seen in China, to tie in with geometric motifs of the furnishings and ceiling in the adjacent room.

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Sarah and Fred took an active role in choosing the kitchen’s decor. Even before the space was designed, they took a furniture-shopping expedition to Foshan, China. Among their favourite finds from the trip are a table with a massive single-plank wood top and a custom-made banquette, plus lighting fixtures such as the dramatic four-foot-diameter globe that hangs above the table. (It was so big that it wouldn’t fit through the front door. So the couple had to fish it up about 18 feet from the backyard to the patio by using an extendable paint-roller pole.)

Under the island, on the inside of the waterfall panel, laminate with a wood-grain motif adds drama “like the red soles on a pair of Louboutin shoes,” dela Cruz says.

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“Sarah has an adventurous side. She likes to mix colour and pattern and she isn’t content playing it safe,” says dela Cruz. It was the designer’s job to put it all together. She says the taupe-toned cabinets act as an intermediary between the warm tones of the wood tabletop and the hardwood floors and the cooler aesthetic of the appliances and stainless steel faucets. She pulled it together with a subtly veined off-white quartzite countertop. “It can be f inicky to have too many styles in a single space,” dela Cruz says. “But when you get it right it’s a fabulous, beautiful hybrid.” •

The kitchen design incorporates two styles of cabinets, both by Italian manufacturer Biefbi Cucine. The white cabinets feature integrated handles hidden in a recessed area behind the panel.

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BRINGING THE SHOWPIECE HOME A kitchen once displayed at a design show is now installed in a Mississauga house BY SUSAN KELLY PHOTOGRAPHY: LARRY ARNAL

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“There’s also a one-touch cappuccino option, which is amazing, especially when we have guests.”

The AEG built-in coffeemaker, induction cooktop and wall steam-convection combination oven are mounted flush with cabinetry for the seamless look preferred by the homeowners. Warming oven drawer and microwave: also AEG; floor and backsplash tiles: Porcelanosa.

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MOST HOMEOWNERS COVET a kitchen that is the showpiece of the home. Not only is this Mississauga kitchen exactly that for the owners; it once starred at the 2015 Interior Design Show in Vancouver. “It was conceived for my home, but was installed first at the show,” says homeowner Michelle Eglington, vice president of Euro-Line Appliances West, who works out of the company’s Oakville office. “It got good reviews there, so everything was packed up and shipped back east to be installed.” It was definitely time to modernize the kitchen. For two years, Michelle and her husband Matt Gagné had made do with the previous owners’ updates to their 30-year-old bungalow in the Erindale area of Mississauga. And for Michelle, who works in the family business founded by her dad, the dated appliances were making her feel like one of the proverbial shoemaker’s children. She drew up her dream appliance wish list first, which included a state-of-the-art refrigerator and wine cooler, and the rest of the design was built around them. “The European makers I chose provided options with the clean contemporary look we prefer,” says Michelle. “And now I can’t live without so many of the many special features.” •

The homeowner chose the stainless steel and glass range hood for its distinctive shape. Retro curves on the small appliances soften the kitchen’s linearity. Toaster, blender, kettle: Smeg; range hood: AEG.

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Take the induction cooktop, which to the eye seems to sit almost flush atop a cabinet drawer. The effect is no illusion; the sleekly styled appliance measures a scant two inches deep. The homeowner loves that there is no wasted space. And she can cook with the drawer half open and cooking utensils at her fingertips without cluttering the countertop. Also high on both homeowners’ lists was the built-in automatic espresso maker. It sits close at hand in a niche above the wall oven. The couple most appreciate its speed and efficiency when getting that first brew of the day. “There’s also a one-touch cappuccino option, which is amazing, especially when we have guests,” Michelle says. For a quick cup of tea she uses the integrated hot-and-cold water dispenser installed by the sink. The steam-convection-combination wall oven proved to be a happy surprise for Michelle. Once mastered, it helped her score culinary points with an extended family that is big on roast dinners, which the right mix of steam and dry heat makes perfect. Her

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German-made model is the largest available and can easily accommodate a holiday turkey with side dishes. Michelle also chose the European-designed-and-made white lacquer-finish cabinets. To complete the kitchen’s design she called upon designer Brittany Oakley of Be. Designed. in Oakville. Oakley suggested the large-format porcelain tiles used on the floor and backsplash. The distinctive textures and patterns of each help pull the overall look together. Grey-tone quartz countertops and an undermount granite composite sink complete the look. The couple has no plans to take their kitchen on the road again. But they do enjoy using it every day, and showing it off to guests at least once a month. “My husband and I like to entertain, and when we do, the party invariably ends up in the kitchen,” says Michelle. •

Drawer configurations in the cabinets and refrigerator expand storage options. Custom cabinetry designed and made in Germany by Bauformat. Refrigerator: Liebherr; sink, faucet, and soap and water dispensers: Franke.


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HOME COOKING This contemporary Oakville kitchen is perfectly equipped for a couple who cook together BY TRACEY ARIAL PHOTOGRAPHY: LARRY ARNAL

IF YOU VISIT THE HOME of Ali and Roman Rockliffe around 6 p.m. on a typical winter evening, you are likely to see them cooking dinner together in their contemporary kitchen. He might be frying up some shrimp on their Dacor induction cooktop for a seafood pasta linguini and she’s likely to be washing the spinach. “We love cooking with induction and it is really safe with young kids,” says Ali. “Well, actually, I cook because I have to; he cooks because he wants to. I’m often sitting at the island sipping a glass of wine. Our three children (aged 9 months, two years, and five years) are likely to be running around chasing each other.” •

Jumbo-sized Caesarstone slabs clad the island. Porcelain tiles with the look of Calcutta marble were used on the backsplash. A Dacor induction cooktop has a sleek profile atop the counter.

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A giant Franke pull-down faucet is a stylish element in the kitchen. The side-by-side Sub-Zero fridge and freezer are panelled in walnut to match the cabinetry and island base. The Jenn-Air double oven in the corner is inset with a steam option that’s great for cooking vegetables and fish.

Ali and Roman own a home-building company in Oakville that’s playfully called Rock Cliff Custom Homes. The couple specializes in building perfect houses for customers, so when they designed their own dream home in Oakville last year, they knew exactly what they wanted.

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The key element for them was a 24-by-12foot contemporary-style white and walnut kitchen with an unusually long bright white island in the centre. “It’s a 19-foot island, which allows for eight chairs,” says Ali. “We enjoy entertaining and we enjoy homecooked meals with our children, so we really wanted a large island with a separate area for wine and mixing drinks.” •


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“We love to entertain and everyone always gravitates to the kitchen.”

The walnut and white lacquered cabinetry has the clean lines that reflect the contemporary style of the house.

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The art installation by Alex Turco is a lively conversation piece in the dining area. Wood legs and tall backs distinguish the dining chairs from the casual stainless steel legs and lower backs of the island stools. All are made of white leather.

A full wall of windows and patio doors looks out onto an aquarium-like pool in the backyard. Floor-to-ceiling cabinetry on two walls gives them the storage they need. The other wall frames an Alex Turco piece, custom-made to form a stunning backdrop for the dining table. The backsplash is made of thin porcelain slabs and the floors are engineered white oak with an oil finish. “I wanted to bring in the natural element,” says Ali. “I just love the combination of the high-gloss white against the wood notes.” High-backed leather chairs, contemporary light fixtures, brushed nickel cabinet hardware, a glass-topped dining table and stainless steel sinks, appliances and faucets contribute to the contemporary style the couple desired in the space. “We designed it in such a way that reflects our lifestyle,” says Ali. “We love to entertain and everyone always gravitates to the kitchen, so we wanted a large island with ample seating and lots of prep and cooking space.” The kitchen has more than met their expectations since they moved in last year. •

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CELEBRATING

38 Years

160 East Beaver Creek Rd., #26, Richmond Hill, On. L4B 3L4

www.gppatio.com 905-709-1162


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Accent on Style A home furnishings and interior design store expands to two locations YOU KNOW YOUR BUSINESS is doing something right when demand requires that you open a second location. The impression is reinforced when you get repeat business, and when a second generation – children of customers – starts coming to you also.

“We have great craftsmen whom we work with for wallpaper, cabinetry, rugs, stonework.”

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ACCENTS FOR LIVING 8 Brock Rd. N., Guelph ~ 519-822-2929 243 Speers Rd., Oakville ~ 905-849-8537 accentsforliving.ca

Accents For Living has experienced both. The home furnishings and interior design retail store is marking its 18th year at its original Aberfoyle location. In 2016, a sister store opened in Oakville, and the company now serves the GTA and points west. “We have a collection of fine furniture, art, bedding, area rugs, lighting and accents,” says Daniella Dolman, interior decorator and merchandiser for the store. In her own way she’s part of that second generation: she’s the daughter of founder Linda Dolman-Weddel. Accents For Living sells products by such well-known companies as Lee Industries, Vanguard, Currey & Company, Arteriors and Regina Andrew Design. There are also one-off items from around the world. “One of the beautiful things about going on buying trips is we always go on a little discovery,” says Cristina Kirby, a design consultant and merchandiser with the company. “We have gorgeous, one-of-a-kind Persian rugs. Some are 100 years old. We have some pieces that are unique and exclusive.”

Retail is only one facet of Accents For Living. “We have 12 designers on staff, and we offer interior design consultation,” Dolman says. That includes space planning, colour consulting, furniture selection, lighting, styling and accessories. She and the rest of the design team work with a range of clientele: first-time home buyers, people downsizing, and owners doing major renovations or having new homes built. With the relaxed way we live now, kitchens are a major focus of home design and renovation. The styles chosen by the company’s clients are wide-ranging, from traditional through Mid-century Modern to contemporary minimalism. These rooms tend to be multipurpose and often cater to more household activities than just cooking. “We call them ‘living spaces’ where families can spend lots of time together,” Dolman says. Adds Kirby, “We like to incorporate a little wine room off the kitchen, and maybe a little study area with club chairs and bookshelves.”

They describe a current project, a beach house on Georgian Bay where the kitchen is OldWorld inspired; instead of an island there’s a big farmhouse table for people to gather around. But it has what Kirby calls a contemporized look – for instance, Lucite hardware. At the opposite end of the design spectrum, and also popular, is sleek Italian style. Kirby describes a kitchen reno in Niagara Falls where the homeowners have gone from traditional to contemporary, with “huge three-by-three white floor tiles, very white cabinetry, and no cabinets overhead; it’s all drawers. It’s very clean-lined and minimalist. And then you throw the odd antique armoire into the mix, where you put all your dishes, and everything else is nice and sleek.” Custom-built design elements are common in Accents For Living designs. “We have great craftsmen whom we work with for wallpaper, cabinetry, rugs, stonework,” Kirby says. Dolman sums it up succinctly: “We create beautiful spaces all over southwestern Ontario.” •

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Inspire…Create…Perform

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READY, SET, GO

IT USED TO BE that a well-set table included such items as fish forks, fruit nappies, salt cellars . . . Anybody remember those? They’re not considered so important now, according to Gino Andreoli, the product planning and analysis manager for Linen Chest. “Things have changed in the past 10 to 15 years in how we entertain, how we host,” Andreoli says. “The formality of it has changed.” However, “the essence hasn’t. I think people still like to take the time to host and to talk and to show what they have.” Entertaining still counts; it’s just done in more casual circumstances than previously.

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Setting the table to enhance the dining experience

This informality is reflected in tableware. More refined or traditional pieces have been forgone in favour of sturdier dishes and eclectic choices. Andreoli notes that people often enjoy mixing traditional, heirloom pieces with what they have now. “That’s why we see mostly white dishes,” he says. “Solid white, maybe slightly textured, is a strong seller in both high-end and everyday dishes.” Andreoli says that another reason for coloured and patterned dishware being less popular is that “people are watching TV shows and learning about new food from new places, and spices, and colours, and they want

the food to show.” He says that, in keeping with less distracting tableware, glass dishes are still popular for everyday dining. The casual trend is also reflected in cutlery. Stainless steel is more popular now than silverware, for both serving and f latware. Styles range from traditional to contemporary, and an eclectic mix can be quite stylish. Stainless steel is also being offered with special treatments such as colour: black, copper, metallic blue. Often most or all of the activity takes place at the kitchen island or table as opposed to a room dedicated to dining. “The ritual of


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hosting is centred a lot more on preparation than just on serving,” Andreoli observes. This might include having, say, appetizers and wine around the kitchen island as opposed to canapés in the living room. “People want to talk, to interact,” he says. “Exchange is more casual, warmer, in the kitchen. People also like to show off their equipment, and this is reflected in better-looking electric appliances, colour-matched appliances.” Providing an attractive tablecloth, place mats, or napkins still counts, but fine linen is not as popular. People want efficiency and easy maintenance. Andreoli says that there are plenty of choices here. “Design has come a long way,” he says. “It’s not just about solid colours, and there are different textures, such as jacquards, and placemats in different fibres. Even plastic now is so refined, so nice.” He adds that many people keep their table linens neutral, using accessories for dashes of colour. Candles and candlesticks continue to be a big part of the dining experience. “A lot of people use them every day, and I think they should,” Andreoli says. “Nothing warms up a table like candles.”

With our contemporary penchant for cooking as a domestic art rather than a chore, for dining as entertainment rather than necessity, and bounteous Web sites for foodies, eating is definitely not a question of merely stoking the furnace. It’s a social and aesthetic experience, and a well-set table is all part of that very human activity. • Linen Chest www.linenchest.com

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HOMEMADE HOSPITALITY Interior designer creates a kitchen in her own home that’s perfect for entertaining BY SUSAN SEMENAK PHOTOGRAPHY: STEPHANI BUCHMAN STYLING: DVIRA OVADIA

THERE WAS OFTEN a large and aromatic pot of Egyptian stew or Moroccan tagine simmering on the stove when Dvira Ovadia was growing up. Her family liked to cook and to eat, and the kitchen was the heart of the house. Once Dvira, an interior designer and founder of Dvira Interiors, and her husband bought their home in Allenby, they began drawing up renovation plans. And top on the designer’s list was a large and welcoming kitchen – but one with a contemporary sensibility. The couple enlarged the house and opened up the main floor into a rectangle, setting an 18-by-13-foot open kitchen right in the middle, nestled between the dining room at the front and family room and study at the rear. It was to be the showpiece of the house, and Dvira wanted it to be stylish, original and elegant. •

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To create a layered look, Dvira relied on a variety of embellishments. For example, the kitchen features no fewer than six kinds of hardware, including flat bronze pulls and agate knobs from Lee Valley Hardware.

“My dream was a modern kitchen that didn’t look like everyone else’s. I wanted to give it finishing touches that are eclectic and worldly, “ says Dvira, who grew up in Brussels, where even the most modern homes she visited always seemed to retain a sliver of Old-World history. The layered look of her own kitchen, which features sumptuous details against a spare backdrop, is a trademark that runs through all of her design work, imbuing her contemporary spaces with personality.

In her home, Dvira began by installing white no-profile wood cabinetry along the perimeter. Though the kitchen needed to be functional and well-organized enough to accommodate a passionate everyday cook (herself) and an enthusiastic weekend cook (her husband), Dvira still wanted it to feel glamorous. So she dispensed with traditional upper cabinets and replaced them with units that, with their decorative agate knobs and black edging, look more like wardrobes than kitchen cupboards. When they are open, though, they are the height of efficiency, the doors swinging open and then retracting right into the cabinet for easy access to teapots and small appliances.

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For drama, Dvira painted the cabinets in the 11-foot-long island jet black and added custom-made antiqued brass frames to each of the doors and to the gables. She lifted the two narrow ends onto slender legs that lend the appearance of a dresser even though there is enough space in the island to house a dishwasher, a bar fridge and a speed oven. Then she topped the island with lightly veined white Statuario marble, its edges heavily detailed. •


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The 11-foot-long island can seat as many as seven people when Dvira entertains. “We cook here, we eat here and when we entertain I put out a big spread of food and everybody gathers here,” she says. Gas stove: Wolf; panelled dishwasher and fridge, speed oven and bar fridge: Miele.

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“For everyone who walks in, it’s something to marvel at.”

Dvira has a flair for original lighting ideas. Over the island, she hung a pair of chandeliers from Restoration Hardware that are made of wooden beads painted white and distressed. Also from Restoration Hardware: a set of vertical wall sconces made of antiqued brass and glass. For a lower-profile effect, she chose flat LED wall lamps from Royal Lighting for the opposite wall.

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With all the black and white, it seemed to Dvira that another touch of “pretty” was called for. So she hung a pair of beaded chandeliers from Restoration Hardware above the island. They cast romantic shadows when lit, she says. It’s no surprise that Dvira eschewed a conventional backsplash. Instead of tile, she opted for an original flourish behind the 36inch Wolf stove: a smoky, vintage-look pane of mirror.


DESIGN TORONTO KITCHENS 2017

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The kitchen is 18 feet by 13 feet and takes up the middle third of the home’s main floor. It is open to a casual dining room that is positioned at the front of the house and to a family room at the rear. “It all looks quite glamorous, but it’s very practical,” Dvira says.

Of all the kitchen’s dramatic flourishes, the one that Dvira loves best is the double door leading to the mudroom. It’s a massive, 300-year-old set of blue-painted wood and wrought-iron doors from Egypt that she and her husband found at The Door Store, which specializes in architectural salvage from around the world.

“For everyone who walks in, it’s something to marvel at,” Dvira says. “For me, it’s a bit of nostalgia, a nod to my Egyptian roots.” •

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DESIGN TORONTO KITCHENS 2017

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Entertaining Tonight This welcoming kitchen was renovated to allow its owners to entertain their many guests BY TRACEY ARIAL // PHOTOGRAPHY AND STYLING: RHONDA THORNTON

(Opposite) The Nero Assoluto-granite-topped walnut island is balanced by pale porcelain floor tiles from Ultimate Stone in Woodbridge. The custom-made light fixture is from Israel.

STEPHANIE SABELA AND DEREK STUNDEN, the owners of this King Township home, considered tearing down a wall and integrating an adjacent office to get more space for their kitchen renovation. “They are very big entertainers,” says Rhonda Thornton of Bloomsbury Fine Cabinetry, the company that renovated the kitchen. “It’s not unusual for them to have a dozen people over, even on a weeknight. We bounced around quite a few ideas. They liked their outdoor kitchen. They were torn between the functionality of a big table (and

an island) but they found that the table was too far removed from the food preparation area.” Ultimately, by reconfiguring the existing space, the adjacent office was left untouched. Thornton, who co-owns Bloomsbury with her husband Robert, suggested balancing the room’s square symmetry with a custom-built 10-by-seven-foot chef’s-table island in the centre. The island is large enough to seat 12 comfortably while serving as a food preparation zone. Its position leaves enough space for flow-through traffic.

Space under the island and ceiling-height cabinets in the rest of the room provide lots of out-of-sight storage for this foodie family. The result is an open, comfortable place for enjoying home-cooked meals. “To us, it was obvious what needed to be done,” says Thornton. “Our plan minimized their construction and gave the family a key part of their home back. The kitchen had a major traffic flow between the family room in the front of the house and the entrance. Also, she used the office a lot, so it didn’t make sense to get rid of it.” •

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DESIGN

“The kitchen feels different from night to day.�

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A Miele 36-inch wall hood and range is the focus in the food-preparation area.

The brushed stainless steel hardware on the cabinets is echoed by the stainless steel Miele

A Waterstone potfiller was installed on the wall behind the range.

ovens. The fridge is panelled in the same walnut as the cabinets, which extend to the ceiling.

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A random pattern of stainless steel horizontal tiles on the backsplash, a undermounted stainless steel sink, and two Waterstone faucets confer contemporary elements on this kitchen.

Stephanie and Derek love the beautiful traditional cabinetry, which, like all Bloomsbury products, is made of PureBond sustainably harvested North American hardwood. The joints are linked with a soya-based glue rather than toxic formaldehyde. The Thorntons also created a new stain for the project. The soft driftwood-coloured walnut gives their clients the traditional look they crave without darkening the space. “We’ve never done that finish before or since,” says Thornton. “The kitchen feels different from night to day.” To further lighten the kitchen, the Thorntons replaced a wall of cabinetry with four eight-foot patio doors for a floor-to-ceiling glass link with the outdoors. “They love that feature because they’re very outdoorsy people,” says Thornton. “They hadn’t thought of taking the cabinets off that wall and they really like those doors.” No window coverings are necessary because an automatic awning outside protects the space on sunny days. Leathered Nero Assoluto granite countertops are used in both the indoor and outdoor kitchens, providing a seamless look between the two spaces. After more than a year of using the kitchen, the homeowners say they couldn’t be happier. •

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THAT’S A PLAN Event planners can help anyone who wants to arrange a social or work-related gathering

IF YOU’RE PLANNING AN EVENT – a wedding, a meeting, a big party – you may be asking yourself if this is an ideal time to get some help from an event planner. But what does an event planner do and how can you best use the services of one? We asked Melissa Baum, a Toronto-based event planner with the eponymously named Melissa Baum Events, for her advice.

QUESTION: Melissa, what do event planners do? A N S W E R: A n event pla n ner helps you brainstorm, source, coordinate and oversee the execution of all aspects of your event. These include finding a venue, and referring and hiring caterers, photographers and florists. They can create a detailed schedule for the day and design f loor plans. Event planners should also share their experiences and expertise with their clients to ensure stress levels are minimized, timelines are set and respected, and budgets are made and tracked. Some event planners also offer creative services and help design the aesthetics and the ambience of the event. Q: How can a person determine if s/he needs the services of an event planner? A: If an individual has no experience planning events, has a busy professional and /or personal life, feels s/he lacks creativity, juggles multiple tasks, is overwhelmed or not very organized, an event planner may be the right solution. Some people prefer to be handsoff with their events and want a planner to handle all of the details.

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Q: What kinds of events do people hire event planners for? A: Events tend to fall into two categories: social and corporate. Social events include weddings, mitzvahs, anniversaries, birthdays, and retirement celebrations. Corporate events include product launches, galas, fundraisers and office holiday parties. Q: How hands-on or hands-off should I be when engaging the services of an event planner? A: It is important that clients strike a balance when working with an event planner. A good event planner listens to her clients and understands how involved they want to be and what aspects they want to be involved in. The client, however, also has to trust the planner and accept her advice on timelines, recommended vendors and scheduling suggestions. The planner-client relationship works best when the planner implements the preferences of the client and offers advice and expertise.


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“The planner-client relationship works best when the planner implements the preferences of the client and offers advice and expertise.”

Q: The venue I’ve booked has a coordinator. Why would I also need an event planner? A: Venue coordinators are wonderful; however, their role is different from that of an event planner. Venue coordinators are responsible for looking after everything at a venue. That includes catering, rentals, beverage services, set-up, tear-down and staffing. These are all crucial aspects to any event and should have the complete attention of the coordinator. An event planner is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the day, including elements that are unrelated to the venue. An event planner ensures your makeup artist shows up and adheres to the schedule. If you need an unexpected stain removed from your dress, an event planner will be there with a solution to remove it. An event planner will also ensure other vendors (photographer, videographer, f lorist) arrive on time and adhere to their contracts. A venue coordinator and event planner can work together but are not used interchangeably.

Q: How should someone go about finding the right event planner for the job? A: Before hiring an event planner for a meeting, look at his/her online portfolio to ensure you like the style and aesthetic; they should coincide with yours. Also read testimonials or reviews posted online. This may help weed out those planners who are not credible.

Once you find someone who appears to meet your needs, contact that person to arrange a meeting. It is important that you are happy with the services the planner offers, but also that your personalities fit. The period of time leading up to your event will largely be spent meeting and speaking with your planner. So it is important that you have a good impression from the beginning. At your initial meeting, ask the planner about her past experiences, how she started her business and if she has done events that are similar to yours. If your prospective planner exudes passion, enthusiasm and professionalism, it’s a good sign that she’s committed, experienced and qualified. • Melissa Baum Events www.melissabaum.com 416-849-2295

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DESIGN

PUSHING THE BOUNDARIES How to make walls and floors a design feature

HOW DOES ONE MAKE A WALL INTERESTING? There are two traditional strategies: put some colour on it, or paint it a neutral colour as a backdrop for artwork. But there’s a third option: make it textured.

FIBER & CLOTH 491 Champagne Dr., North York 416-799-0888 www.fiberandcloth.com

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“I wanted to offer something different from the carpeting that most people offer.”


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BEYOND BRICKS, CLASSIC WOOD PANELLING AND TAPESTRIES, walls are now being covered in textured panels and three-dimensional wood tiles. The Jamie Beckwith Collection from the U.S. offers such vertical-surface treatments as tiles in several species of wood with assorted profiles (projecting outwards at various heights, presenting as a wedge, etched with designs to create a repeating pattern) and stains for a uniform pattern or a mosaic as variegated as one desires. “You get that warmth of wood but with different designs,” says Tom Petridis, a coowner of Fiber & Cloth. “We have exclusive rights in Ontario to offer this collection.” Fiber & Cloth is an up-market business specializing in unique wall and floor coverings for both residential and commercial applications. “We provide innovative European designs and brands not elsewhere available,” Petridis says. Many of the tiles in the Jamie Beckwith Collection are also suitable for flooring. It’s possible to have a f loor entirely in wood blocks to produce a customized pattern, or a feature design within an all-wood floor, or even a wooden border surrounding a rug. The store also carries wall and ceiling tiles that stretch the concept of “tiles.” These items

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range from wallpaper-like rectangles with three-dimensional design elements (not your average Anaglypta!) to textured felt acoustic tiles quite unlike the mundane items we’re accustomed to seeing. Another unusual product is the KriskaDecor curtain made of fine aluminum mesh. It can be used as a wall hanging, a room divider or a curtain. Options include monochromatic colours, variegated patterns, or custom-made abstract or representational designs. A bonus is that a KriskaDecor curtain is suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. Petridis is enthusiastic about a product from Italy that consists of large three-dimensional wall panels that are installed to give a seamless look. Also from Italy is the Intarsi collection of engineered oak f loors inlaid with metal, stone or brick in standard or customized configurations. “It makes a beautiful showpiece for an entrance or a living room,” Petridis says. Fiber & Cloth also carries more traditional floor coverings, including engineered hardwood planks, runners (a specialty of the company), indoor/outdoor carpeting, area rugs and broadloom – although “traditional” isn’t quite the right word for, say, the area rug with

a reproduction of Andy Warhol’s portrait of Marilyn Monroe. “I wanted to offer something different from the carpeting that most people offer,” Petridis says. “So I went in the direction of European-style flooring and wall coverings. Europe is generally ahead of us in style.” The Marilyn Monroe rug is among the offerings of the Finnish company Henzel, influenced by popular culture and contemporary art. For something completely different, Fiber & Cloth also offers the likes of a handsome area rug composed of cowhide and wool. “This gives the best of both worlds,” Petridis says. “Wool takes the beating of the traffic and the hide gives that elegant look.” The company began business a year ago, but Petridis and his partners each have 25 to 30 years of experience in the f looring industry. The store’s offerings of expertise, customization and unusual designs make it a destination for designers and tradespeople with commercial and residential projects, but it’s also open to the general public for a number of hours each week. The website gives details about business hours and consultations by appointment. •

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905.454.1053

905.856.7979

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A TOUCH OF OLD WITH THE NEW A Richmond Hill kitchen gets a radical renovation but keeps a hint of the past BY PHILLIPA RISPIN PHOTOGRAPHY: LARRY ARNAL STYLING: REVI MULA

DOING A KITCHEN RENOVATION isn’t often an exercise in nostalgia. Usually it’s a straightforward attempt to expunge the old kitchen and replace it with shiny new cabinetry and appliances. That’s the approach that Revi and Steven Mula had planned, but they ended up delving into the past along the way. “The house was built in 1945,” says Revi. The old kitchen was very small, with “18 inches of counter space. It was renovated, I believe, in 1954; we found newspapers in the walls from 1954.” The decorating scheme would make even the stoutest homeowner’s heart quail. “The cabinets were a plastic simulated oak painted navy blue, with doorknobs of chickens and cows,” Revi says. “There was a border around the kitchen with a farm theme, and old-fashioned Laura Ashley-style blue and white floral wallpaper, and orange-painted Formica countertops. The floors had been installed upside down, so there were divots between each board where food would get stuck.” •

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DESIGN

Revi and Steven were in the process of renovating the house and adding a full second storey, so they were able to “borrow” two old bedrooms on the ground floor, one to add to the existing kitchen space and one to transform into a family room. The first step was to entirely gut the space, and they encountered further horrors from the past. Revi describes “pretty bad electricals in the wall” and says that the house “had had a problem with mice, so we found a lot of unsavoury things in the walls. We had to straighten all the floors, and redo all the floor joists on the main floor because the house had settled, and they weren’t to code.” The very narrow space between the exterior walls and the interior finish was stuffed with newspapers for insulation, which unexpectedly became a source of pleasure. “A fun surprise was finding those newspapers and reading them with my seven-yearold daughter, seeing advertisements of jobs for women in the ’50s,” Revi says. “You had to be young and of a certain appearance and sound a certain way to get a job back then. That was a really good learning tool for us. We framed some pieces of the newspaper clippings and left them in the kitchen as a reminder.” •

Revi went through 10 floor plans to settle on the one that was best for her family. She says it took her five years to decide on a colour for the cabinets. “It took a great deal of selfdiscovery to sort through the years of designing for others, and to know, with certainty, what underneath it all was my true taste,” she says.

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“Everything is exactly where I want it to be. There’s no stress to being in the kitchen anymore.”

Revi and Steven splurged on the handmade tiles that form a runner between the sink and the island. “Every time I look at them they make me smile,” Revi says. “They’re so beautiful.”

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There’s essentially nothing else left of the past in the renovated kitchen, and it finally suits the way the Mulas live now. It was practically guaranteed that they would get the kitchen they needed because Revi is an interior designer and owner of the company Monaco Interiors, and Steven often works for the company. Apart from some carpentry done by craftsman Gordon Holmes, Steven did most of the work on the kitchen. At approximately 260 square feet, the new room is about twice the size of the old one. It boasts a 10-foot-long island, a baking station, a coffee station, and two sinks. There’s a space for the two children so they can get their own breakfast without having to reach up into high cupboards. The kitchen is large enough for the Mulas to entertain easily, but small enough that Revi can keep an eye on the children as they watch television or use the computer. “We spend more time together, and the function’s incredible,” Revi says. “Everything is exactly where I want it to be. There’s no stress to being in the kitchen anymore.”

Revi decided against buying a suite of matching kitchen appliances. Instead, she chose the most current versions of models she had used and was familiar – and happy – with. Fridge: Electrolux; stove with gas burners: GE Café; microwave oven: Panasonic; dishwasher: GE.

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Like all the individually made cabinet doors throughout the kitchen, the island is the work of carpenter Gordon Holmes, done with a mix of salvaged poplar and oak, and topped with quartzite in Fantasy Brown. The countertops are off-white Caesarstone that contrasts with the black cabinets.

A storage bench under the window is a popular place to sit and have coffee, but Revi’s favourite place is the floor between the island and the sink. Decorative tiles are set into the handscraped oak flooring as a sort of runner. Revi had seen them in a restaurant, fell in love with them, and after a five-month search found a company in Mexico that produces such tiles, all handmade. Not one is exactly the same as another, complete with slightly irregular surfaces and sides. “We spent an afternoon laying the tiles,” Revi says. “It was really a labour of love.” She sees the handcrafted tiles, like the brick wall on one side of the room, as a way of acknowledging the home’s origins. The second storey is not quite done, but the Mulas have had the completely finished kitchen to enjoy for several weeks. The glow of achievement has not yet worn off, and it might never do so. Why would it? The kitchen is the result of planning and workmanship and hard work – kitchen ingredients that are timeless. •

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DESIGN

NEW AND IMPROVED New floor plan and materials make a kitchen functional and good-looking PHOTOGRAPHY: LUCAS SCARFONE

THE ORIGINAL KITCHEN in this 20-year-old house in Woodbridge was not laid out in a convenient way that would permit the homeowners to entertain. While it was large and open to an adjacent great room, some of the appliances were awkwardly located. Enter Rocco Morelli, owner of Morelli Fine Cabinetry, who created a new kitchen by changing everything but the porcelain flooring. “My clients liked the floor, which is a beach-sand colour, so we integrated the new colours with the existing floor,” he says. Those new colours include charcoal grey cabinets, crafted of solid maple. “We used a grey stain before sealing and lacquering the cabinets,” Morelli says.

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To keep the cabinets ecological, he used a linen-textured melamine on the interiors that boasts low volatile organic compounds. “We sourced it in Italy. It does not swell in dampness. This process is used in Europe, and it’s environmentally friendly,” he says. At 58 inches wide and 109 inches long, the island is generously proportioned because, says Morelli, “the family does a lot of entertaining. We designed the island so that people can gather around it and benefit from its large size. We also built it to be practical and functional, and to store seasonal kitchenware on one side and daily-use appliances on the other side.”


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Dramatic black-and-white granite tops the island and forms the backsplash around the kitchen’s perimeter. For contrast, Morelli used a creamy white quartz by Caesarstone on the countertops. Morelli also reconfigured the layout to convenience the homeowners. “The old kitchen had an L-shaped island,” he says. “We moved the fridge and panelled it. We also moved the existing Wolf range and installed two new wall ovens.” The homeowners had new recessed lighting installed; it enhances the light cast by the crystal chandelier that hangs above the island.

One design element that creates a cleanlined look, says Morelli, is the lack of hardware on most cabinets. “The doors are all touch-open and soft-close,” he says. Despite the aesthetics, he adds, this is a functional kitchen. “It’s a daily-use kitchen that is great for entertaining. The homeowners are avid cooks.” To add to the functionality, Morelli installed a pull-out pantry. The homeowners now have a more fluid space in which to move while they entertain. •

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DESIGN

OPEN A NEW WINDOW, OPEN A NEW DOOR New design trends and energy-efficient materials are affecting the manufacture of doors and windows

LIKE OTHER ARCHITECTURAL ELEMENTS, the design of windows and doors evolves. As manufacturers create new products that improve on energy conservation and aesthetics, homeowners have more choice than ever. Toronto Home asked Ken Simpson, owner of Fieldstone Windows, for his take on the latest trends.

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QUESTION: Ken, what trends are you seeing in the design and manufacture of doors? ANSWER: We’ve noticed a definite change in door styles in recent years – from traditional to contemporary. Simpler styles with a lot of glass are popular, and even modern interpretations of traditional doors are available. Industrial inf luences are big; narrow black frames with large glass panes

and rustic bronze hardware are favourites. Glass tends to be clear or sandblasted; there is no more stained glass or mass-produced sidelights. Sandblasted glass can have a clear border for better viewing. And brass hardware is back. Q: What are the current trends in the design and manufacture of windows? A: Many of the design trends affecting doors are spilling over into the design of windows. We’re seeing simple designs with flat surfaces and less detailing: square, f lat moldings, large glass surfaces, and darker colours. Black is probably our best-selling colour. Many customers are choosing black inside and out for an industrial look. Large glass surfaces without grilles or muntins to obscure the view are also popular, even on traditional homes.


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“Today’s windows and doors are more energy-efficient than ever.”

Q: Homeowners want to conserve energy and save money doing that. What window and door products can you recommend for this purpose? A: Today’s windows and doors are more e n e r g y - e f f ic ie nt t h a n e ve r. I n n e w construction homes, windows and doors have to meet increasingly higher standards set out by the North American Fenestration Standard (NAFS). NAFS requirements take performance grade, air infiltration, water penetration and design pressure (wind load) into account during testing on windows and doors. As a result, consumers are getting better products than they did 10 years ago. Triple-glazed windows and doors can save energy by lowering heat loss, but advances in glass coatings can achieve similar results in dual-glaze technology. Q: Are there new materials being used in the manufacture of windows and doors? If so, what are they? A: Window materials have been relatively unchanged for the past decade with vinyl being the leader, primarily for its cost and design flexibility. Wood and metal-clad wood are favourites with discerning customers, not necessarily for higher performance, but rather for design or aesthetic reasons or to fulfill historic requirements. Fibreglass windows are another emerging favorite. Fibreglass doors are replacing steel for several reasons: they are stronger, warmer and have greater design possibilities. New rail and stile fibreglass doors offer many sizes and narrow frames.

Q: What style of window is most sought after right now? A: The most sought-after window style is still the casement. Casement windows open outwards for maximum ventilation and seal tightly for minimum heat loss. Vinyl is still our biggest seller and black is the trending colour. Q: A few years ago, Palladian-style windows were popular. Are they still? A: Palladian-style windows or radius-shaped windows are less common now. In some instances, we are removing shaped windows and replacing them with simpler square ones. Bay and bow windows are also becoming extinct as consumers prefer simpler lines on their homes. • Fieldstone Windows www.fieldstonewindows.com 416-533-0999

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BANISHING THE SQUASHED SPACE A cramped kitchen is made light by opening it to adjacent rooms BY SUSAN SEMENAK - PHOTOGRAPHY: LARRY ARNAL - STYLING: THERESA VERDILE AND SUSI PEREIRA

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“The homeowners chose slightly shorter upper cabinets to accommodate these grander moldings. The effect is dramatic.”

HOW TO MAKE a cramped old house light-filled and family-friendly? Tear down the walls, open up the rooms to let the sun in, and introduce plenty of places to gather. That’s what the designers at Georgian Custom Renovations did with the main floor of an aging Toronto cottage. The homeowners had lived in the house for a while, but its layout had come to feel squashed and segregated. They wanted living spaces that would flow into each other. To begin, the Georgian Custom Renovations team took down all the interior walls they could to create an open space. However, a structural beam prevented them from doing so between the living room and dining room. To save time and money they opened up the wall to create two wide openings between the two rooms but left the ceiling beam in place.

Layering moldings to create height and depth, they created an elegant panelled archway between the two rooms, which echoes the kitchen’s own architectural detailing. They uncluttered and enlarged the kitchen by moving an existing powder room into the hallway and relocating the laundry room to the basement. That paved the way for a new kitchen that is 24 feet long-expansive enough to fit an 11.5-foot-long island. To permit the children to do homework while their parents cook, designers Ashley Reekie and Johnny Verdile incorporated a desk into one end of the island. This study nook sits slightly lower than the rest of the island, but is topped with the same white and grey quartz. It is equipped with a comfy upholstered chair and drawers for storing school supplies. •

The white quartz countertop with grey veining boasts a pattern called “Chic Statuario,” from Quartex Surfaces.

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DESIGN

The kitchen’s backsplash is tiled in white marble mosaic tiles. Oven, cooktop and hood: Wolf.

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The counter stools are easy-to-clean white leather and chrome from Sunpan. The chrome carries over to the adjacent dining room in the rectangular glass ceiling fixture over the table. The three glass pendants over the island are understated but elegant.

Reekie says the transitional-style cabinet doors feature shallow Shaker rails that are narrower than usual, which facilitates cleaning. They are painted Benjamin Moore’s Revere Pewter, a warm greige. The floor is covered not with hardwood, which takes a beating in the kitchen, but porcelain tiles that mimic wide walnut planks. Reekie says generous and detailed moldings lend this practical space a luxurious feel. She and Verdile borrowed the 6.5-inch crown molding style used elsewhere in the house and layered it with other moldings to create architectural appeal. Above the upper cabinets in the kitchen itself, for example, the designers layered three different pieces – fascia, beadmold and crown molding – to create a deep, extravagant crown with extra height and width. “The homeowners chose slightly shorter upper cabinets to accommodate these grander moldings,” says Reekie. “The effect is dramatic.” •

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ART

Dream State Artist Irena Chrul illuminates the dark corners in our subconscious minds BY STEPHANIE WHITTAKER

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“People sometimes ask me about my paintings being a political statement. In fact, my whole life is a political statement.”

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FRAGMENTS OF DREAMS. Elusive memories of long-past events. A vaguely recalled face. The work of Montreal painter Irena Chrul spies into the crevices in our subconscious minds, forcing us to look at what’s stored in there. Chrul’s art is subversive, thought-provoking, sometimes disturbing and, for her, a catharsis. “People sometimes ask me about my paintings being a political statement. In fact, my whole life is a political statement,” says the artist as she stands in front of a triptych that elegantly depicts themes ranging from terrorism and war to women’s struggle for equality. Chrul’s view of her own life as a political statement stems from her experience of growing up in Poland when it was part of the Eastern Bloc. While studying painting, poster design and sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Poznan, she worked in theatre, designing posters and costumes. “I met my husband there; he was a set designer,” she says. The two fled Poland after martial law was declared in 1981. “We had to escape the country, and knew of many intellectuals who were escaping,” Chrul says. “An advertising agency had invited us to attend an exhibition in West

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Germany. We went to it and sought refugee status. Because we were refugees, we couldn’t work for that first year, so we took courses in computer-operated graphic design. Then we started our own company, specializing in graphic design, branding and packaging.” All the while, Chrul was painting. She and her husband stayed in Germany for more than two decades, building a successful business that collaborated with large companies. In 2003, she moved to New York, after splitting from her husband. “I love New York, with all its art and activity, but I couldn’t get a U.S. visa and I had to leave,” she says. “I came to Canada. My ex-husband had settled in London, Ont., where his sister lived, and he loved Canada. I came to Montreal and enrolled at McGill to learn French.” But as time passed, Chrul became increasingly lonely in North America, yearning for friends and family abroad, so she bought an airline ticket to return to Germany. Shortly before her departure, she exhibited a few paintings in an atelier on St. Denis St. One of the people who wandered in to view them was Marc Hébert, a •

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Quebec-born film director and photographer who had spent most of his adult life living in Europe. The two became a couple and Chrul cancelled her plans to leave Montreal. Three years later, they moved to Italy, where they rented an apartment with a studio in a 12th-century Tuscan palace before returning to Montreal in 2013. Today, Chrul and Hébert live in a loft in St. Henri, where the artist devotes many hours to painting each day. Her work is coveted by art collectors internationally. During an exhibition in Abu Dhabi, 12 paintings were sold in one day. A collector in San Francisco has bought several of her paintings. And a gallery in Washington D.C. has sold her work.

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Recently, Chrul and Hébert opened Portfolio Arts Visuels, a small gallery where they display her work, in the Chateau St. Ambroise, a former 19th-century textile mill in St. Henri, converted to commercial lofts. Despite the fact that her paintings look distinctly contemporary, Chrul says she uses techniques that date to the Renaissance. She sketches forms on canvas with charcoal and then repeatedly applies thin layers of paint – oil or watercolour – to give the images depth. Her palette is subdued, devoid of vibrant colours. “I’m not a colourist,” she says. “I am very impressed with works such as those by David Hockney; his landscapes are full of colour. But I don’t have the courage to use bright colours.”

The subject matter, however, is startling, eclectic, and deliberately dissident. In one painting, the artist portrays the Habsburg empress Maria Theresa as ugly. The painting hangs beside one of Napoleon, who is portrayed with a small, pointed head and warped body. “These are my conversations with toxic personages,” Chrul says. “I make them look grotesque because we don’t need dictators or heroes.” In some paintings, classical Greek and Roman sculptures are depicted through a gauzy film. One painting, for example, portrays ancient sculptures on pediments with disturbing, disoriented people in the foreground. “The background of this work is a museum,” she says. “The two women seated in front of the sculptures are victims of the terrorist bombing in Brussels. The little boy on the floor beside them is one of the survivors of the war in Syria.” But not all of Chrul’s work is so politically freighted. One series of paintings depicts beautiful spherical objects that glow luminously. Are they eggs? “They’re actually grains of sand magnified under a microscope,” she says. “These paintings are about our place in the cosmos. We are tiny grains of sand in this vast universe.” She and Hébert took the series to an exhibition in Abu Dhabi. “It’s a city created from sand,” says Hébert. •

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“This is not a particular place. These landscapes are nowhere and nothing and nobody.”


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Despite Chrul’s focus on humanity’s dysfunctional nature, she also sees beauty everywhere. A series of portraits and figurative work reveals her fascination with faces and bodies, wrought in various guises. There are also impressionistic works that hint at ideas. A painting titled Venus at first glance resembles a wave on the surface of water. But look closer to decode the dreamlike body swimming under the wave and the chiffon of a bridal gown streaming from its surface.

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Chrul recently began working on a series of large paintings of landscapes, which she says will define the next five years of her work. There is a sense of peace in them. “This is not a particular place. These landscapes are nowhere and nothing and nobody,” she says, gesturing to a vast unfinished tableau in her studio that conveys a hint of hills in the distance, a lake in the middle ground, and a patio umbrella in the foreground. But not quite. The images appear to be sheathed in

gauze; they’re not fully fleshed out because they’re metaphors we see in dreams. They’re the visions we keep in the morass of our subconscious minds, awaiting an artist’s deft hand to pull them out and display them in the sharp light of day. •

To view Irena Chrul’s art by appointment, call 514-992-5022 or email impressartoday@gmail.com

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DESIGN

LEAN CUISINE

BY JULIE GEDEON

Designer makes the most of limited space by building custom cabinetry

“I liked the way the blue comes alive with any bit of light.” VINCENT POIRIER WANTED A KITCHEN in his Montreal condo that would make everyone feel special, whether for late-night cocktails or a family brunch. He achieved his goal with the help of Linda Archambault, designer and sales representative at Cuisines Denis Couture. “I knew right away from talking with him that he was after a masculine space that was really different from ordinary kitchens but would stand the test of time,” says Archambault, who collaborated with Poirier and his architect André Bastien to rescue the room from a hodgepodge 1970s look. The small area designated as the kitchen, on the second floor of the 1879 Victorian triplex, posed a challenge, even once the space was claimed through the demolition of an oddly located powder room. “We basically had 13.5 feet by 9.5 feet, and had to work around the chimney,” Archambault says. •

Cuisines Denis Couture used black cabinets made of oak to ground the space in a masculine fashion while lightening up the windowless kitchen with upper cupboards in ash that are stained blonde. A Visio-LED lighting system creates skylight brightness in a range of possible colours and shades. The owner adores the built-in Sub-Zero fridge, chosen for its sleekness with the motor on top and a bottom freezer drawer, complete with automatic ice maker.

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THE BEST OF MONTREAL

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A faux ceiling was removed to return the space to its original nine-foot stature, and Cuisines Denis Couture promptly customized the cabinetry to amplify the height and create abundant storage. “There’s so much space that one of my cupboards is still empty,” Poirier says. He praises Archambault’s wise placement of the sleek appliances to create as much counter space as possible. Because the back counter is almost twice the chimney’s depth, there’s never an issue about bumping into the bricks. A plain facade hides an electrical panel.

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To have a bit more of Montreal’s yesteryear, Poirier asked for a second bricked wall, which the architect built with bricks from a demolished factory. Archambault suggested using the space occupied by the former powder room to store the condo’s heater and hot-water tank. Early in the process, Poirier showed Archambault a sample of the Moroccan Desert Blend tiles from Ciot that had caught his eye in a magazine. “I liked the way the blue comes alive with any bit of light,” he says. To pick up on those hues, Archambault suggested


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“I knew right away from talking with him that he was after a masculine space…”

Charston, a quartz counter material with blue specks, manufactured by Cambria, and a breakfast bar in blue-tinged glass. Led lighting in the faux skylight can display any of 30 colours. The array is complemented by a light strip with several colour options in the Miele ventilation hood, as well as on the bottle display stand next to the sink. “I can make the place green and red for my nieces at Christmas and other colours for when I throw a themed party for my friends,” Poirier says. Denis Couture’s customized shelving displays

Poirier’s collection of limited-edition vodkas from his extensive travels. “I have one from New York, one from Berlin, another from Istanbul and one from the Vancouver Olympics,” he says, adding that he has no plans to open any of them. • Designer Linda Archambault of Cuisines Denis Couture found a Cambria quartz counter with blue specks, called Charston, at Summum. It accents the blue hues in the Moroccan Desert Blend backsplash tiles from Ciot. She also suggested the blue glass for the breakfast bar, supported by stainless-steel supports, to maintain the kitchen’s openness while separating the counter’s workspace. The owner phoned Niche Modern in New York to have the pendant lighting customized to resemble his prized vodka bottles.

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Taste the organic difference

Roasted Chicken with Lemon and Thyme 1 Yorkshire Valley Farms organic whole chicken 1 lemon, rinsed, cut in half 2 tbsp (30 mL) coarse sea salt 1 tbsp (15 mL) cracked black pepper

Directions: • Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). • Remove chicken from packaging. Pat dry with paper towel to remove any excess moisture. Place chicken in a roasting pan or oven-safe dish. • In a small bowl, mix together salt, pepper, and fresh thyme leaves. Juice half of the lemon and sprinkle lemon juice over top of the chicken. Rub chicken skin with salt mixture to season. • Place remaining lemon half inside the chicken cavity. Cut lemon into smaller wedges if necessary to fit inside. Using kitchen twine or skewers, secure legs of the chicken to close cavity.

3 sprigs fresh thyme

Look for Yorkshire Valley Farms organic chicken products at a grocer near you.

• Roast uncovered in the oven until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 180°F (82°C) and the skin is crispy. Cooking times will vary depending on the size of your chicken. Estimated cook time for a 1.5 kg chicken is 1 hour 40 minutes.

Non-GMO grain fed • Raised without antibiotics • Pesticide- and herbicide-free • No animal by-products


IN OUR NEXT ISSUE

Even before the first crocuses have pushed their colourful heads up out of the cold, damp earth, we have begun to dream about the warm weather ahead. The Spring issue of Toronto Home is filled with stories about spectacular homes and outdoor spaces to help you infuse some design savvy into your spring.

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AD LIST TORONTO KITCHENS 2017

BUYER’S GUIDE

ENTERTAINING TONIGHT Bloomsbury Fine Cabinetry www.bloomsburykitchens.com Toronto ~ 416-782-7900 Newmarket ~ 905-853-7700 BANISHING THE SQUASHED SPACE Georgian Custom Renovations www.georgianreno.com 905-405-7275 Sunpan www.sunpan.com 416-736-0094 Quartex Surfaces www.quartex.com 905-482-7082 DREAM STATE www.chrul.com 514-992-5022 FRESH FOOD FOR A NUTRITIOUS DIET Euro-Line Appliances Inc. www.euro-line-appliances.com 905-829-3980 HOMEMADE HOSPITALITY Dvira Interiors www.dvira.com 416-562-2252 PUSHING THE BOUNDARIES Fiber & Cloth www.fiberandcloth.com 416-799-0888 A HAPPY MARRIAGE O.NIX Design Boutique www.onixdesigns.ca 647-499-1150 THE EYE HAS IT Yorkville Design Centre www.yorkvilledesigncentre.ca 416-922-6620 Battiston Construction www.battistonconstruction.ca 416-516-9640

A TOUCH OF OLD WITH THE NEW Monaco Interiors www.monacointeriors.ca 416-825-8507 NEW AND IMPROVED Morelli Fine Cabinetry www.morellifinecabinetry.com 416-307-2570 NO LIMITS Binns Kitchen + Bath Design www.binns.net 416-286-2222 OPEN A NEW WINDOW, OPEN A NEW DOOR Fieldstone Windows www.fieldstonewindows.com 416-533-0999 THAT’S A PLAN Melissa Baum Events www.melissabaum.com 416-849-2295 HOME COOKING Rock Cliff Custom Homes www.rockcliffhomes.ca 905-618-0007 ACCENT ON STYLE Accents For Living www.accentsforliving.ca Guelph ~ 519-822-2929 Oakville ~ 905-849-8537

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BRINGING THE SHOWPIECE HOME Euro-Line Appliances Inc. www.euro-line-appliances.com 905-829-3980 READY, SET, GO Linen Chest www.linenchest.com

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