Kitchen renovation inspiration

Ahh, the kitchen.

The heart of the home, the life of every party.

In our case, it’s a room that needs some TLC right now. We’ve got cracked floor tiles, a rather grimy stove, and a laundry setup just sitting on the floor. (You can see the fixer-upper reality here.)

So what are we designing instead? Well, step one was swapping two old and rather pointless lamp-fan combos for sleek pot lights.

Now comes the fun part — overhauling everything else. Here’s where I’m taking inspiration from for the new design:


Source: This Little Street

I love this combination of bright, breezy whites and natural wood tones. The big inspiration we’re taking from this clean, homey look is the flooring. Right now, we’ve got tile in the kitchen and warm walnut hardwood in the adjoining dining room.

I would love hardwood everywhere, but matching century-old wood seems close to impossible.

Instead, we’re considering this water-resistant porcelain tile that looks like the wood above, in a white “stucco” shade to keep things light and bright.


This design best captures the overall colour scheme we’re planning: White, black and natural wood tones. (And I love love love the floating shelves to showcase a few plants and kitchen knick-knacks.)

We’ll be doing white cupboards, however, with the black accents coming in the form of drawer pulls… something more like this:


This is very close to what we’re planning. Including the sink placement below a window, although due to space constraints we’re likely opting for a metal basin sink instead of the farmhouse style.

But the rest… I just love it! Timeless, bright, with bold black accents that elevate the look.


Source: Lacquered Life

We’re tackling the quirkiest part of our kitchen — the washing machine and dryer just, uhh, sitting there on the floor — by just building around it.

We considered making them stackable and turning it into a closet of sorts but, no. It would be too big and bulky. Instead we’re going to leave them side by side, add cabinet doors like the ones above, and create more counter space over top.

Because who doesn’t want *more* counter space?

Beside the new hidden laundry area, we’re considering a breakfast bar like this:


Hello, reclaimed wood!

While every other countertop in our kitchen would be quartz (likely this one or something similar) we’re thinking a wooden breakfast bar would tie in nicely with floating shelves and other wood accents.

Black stools, modern pendant lamps… that’s the plan so far.

What do you think?

PS: If one of the above images is from your blog and wasn’t credited, let me know.

Kitchen lighting facelift

Few things give a room a bigger facelift than lighting. Want a bold, modern look? A sleek light fixture does the trick. Want to set an intimate, warm mood? Install a dimmer switch.

We’re planning big changes to the kitchen (more on that to come in the weeks ahead) but to start things off, we knew a lighting change would give the room a fresh look and brighten the space.

Our electricians were fiddling around behind-the-scenes anyway, helping upgrade our century-old wiring… which was, of course, full of surprises.

But back to the fun part: Lights!

Here’s what it looked like when we walked in:

IMG_1668 (1)

There were two of those bad boys right in the middle of the room. Small flush-mount light fixtures with little fans.

We’re planning to install a new range hood over the stove, and there’s a big door right there… so we very quickly chose to nix the fans and go with sleek pot lights instead. Our electrician smartly asked how we planned to use the room which led to six pot lights in the main area, plus one above the sink.

In that spot I originally planned to put a wall sconce, but the targeted pot light does the trick.

The midway point:


Looks great, eh?

Seriously though, that didn’t last long. Our top-notch contractor quickly filled all those holes with the exception of the two on the far right. That was a suggestion from our electrician: There’s going to be a breakfast bar below, and he raised the question of how we’d see our food without some targeted light.

A valid point, and a good excuse to install hanging pendants. (We bought two of these.)

We need to give the ceiling a full paint job, but here’s the result after patching up the holes:

Our new home

On December 1, Adam and I moved into our first house together (fun!)

The very next day, our contractor, three electricians, and the internet guy all showed up at our doorstep (busy!)

Since then we’ve been designing and renovating the inside of our 130-year-old house… a process marked by lots of surprises behind the walls and slow and steady progress towards making this house a home.

Before too much changes, here’s a look at the main floor:


We fell in love with this place for the original hardwood floors and trim… the high ceiling (around 11-feet)… and the beautiful stained glass windows.


The plaster ceiling is even a nice touch. The bulky fan? Not so much.

The plan right now is to take out some of those dated finishes and bring in modern and mid-century elements. I think we’ll probably go extra-modern, with clean lines and simple finishes, to balance out the century-old vibe of the house. The rooms are already full of charm and warmth so we don’t need to add much… and the tension between old and new will make each room pop a bit more.

So, here’s the kitchen:


Similarly high ceilings in this space, which is hard to tell from these panoramic photos. This is a room that we want to give a total refresh. The layout on this side, with the stove and fridge on opposite sides and the sink smack dab in the middle under the window, is pretty perfect.


The finishes and fixtures are a different story. The plan right now is brightening everything up with white quartz countertops, new cabinet doors with hidden hinges, stainless steel appliances, and black and reclaimed wood accents.


THIS is the side of the kitchen that requires a bit more… creativity. Yes, you’re not mistaken: That’s a washer and dryer hanging out there. A common thing in older British homes, I’ve since learned, but definitely a rare sight in Toronto.

We’ve gone through a few incarnations of the design ideas for this spot, and we’ve settled on leaving the laundry area as-is with a cabinet and countertop built around it.

Bulkhead will hide the dryer exhaust pipe, and we’re going to turn the space on the left into a wood breakfast bar with pendant lights above and shelves above the laundry area.

Cozy, clean, bright and functional… that’s the hope for the end result.