Their kitchen was kind of boring, but it took a fire and subsequent flood to get these homeowners ready for a remodel. “We had just completed a light face-lift on this home, which included things like new hardwood floors, and while they were considering a kitchen remodel they weren’t quite ready to do it,” interior designer Cynthia Soda says. But then a fire in the garage forced the family to move out of the house, and while it was away, a frozen pipe burst, causing a lot of damage. Apparently the disaster was a sign from the kitchen gods that it was time to transform the room into one that better suited the owners’ lifestyle and personalities.
Photos by Stephani Buchman Photography
Kitchen at a Glance
Who lives here:
A couple and their two young sons
Vaughan, Ontario, Canada
424 square feet (39 square meters)
Cynthia Soda of Soda Pop Design
The new kitchen gets a lot of its personality from the unique patterned-vinyl wallcovering. The pattern, which resembles Moroccan tile, adds movement to the room. “It really captures this vibrant family’s personality — without it we would have had a static gray and white kitchen,” Soda says.
Here’s a closer look. “This wallcovering is made in Brazil. You send them the elevations and they custom-scale it to make it fit the area where you want to place it,” Soda says.
The island provides a gathering space for the family. Its work side contains the dishwasher, trash-recycling pullouts and extra storage.
Island paint: Deep Secret CSP-625, Benjamin Moore; cabinet paint: Chantilly Lace OC-65, Benjamin Moore; wallcovering: NewWall; flooring: Dun Taupe oak, Torlys Hardwood
BEFORE: It’s easy to see why the homeowners weren’t in a big hurry to change their kitchen. “It was already pretty modern and it was nice; it was just kind of boring,” Soda says. But the flood gave them a chance for a layout and flow that worked better, and to infuse the room with their own personalities.
The kitchen was generous in size, but the space on the left was kind of a hodgepodge of a sofa and chairs, while the family’s only formal-ish
dining space was part of the great room. Instead of an island, there was a peninsula; the range-microwave, sink and refrigerator were all in a row along the back wall; and there was an opening to the great room (bottom right corner).
“Sometimes there are all these openings just for the sake of having openings, and you wind up wasting valuable space on traffic flowing where you don’t need it to,” Soda says. “Sometimes the best solution is to close them off.”
AFTER: By closing off the opening to the great room, Soda was able to create an L-shaped kitchen, making room for a refrigerator and a pantry where the opening had been. The pantry has a sliding door, which doesn’t crash into the oven doors. She replaced the peninsula with the island, which contains the sink, and kept only the range and wall ovens on the back wall. “Now they have a true work triangle,” Soda says.
Getting rid of the window that had been over the sink on the back wall wasn’t a big loss since it looked out at the side of the house next door. Soda used textured rain glass on the upper cabinets to reflect light. There are plans to cover the backsplash with glass, but the family hasn’t been in a big hurry to do so, as the vinyl wallcovering is easy to wipe clean.
Tip: Tell your design pro everything you want to store during the planning phase. “For example, my client knew she wanted a space to keep her brooms in here, so I made sure the cabinet on the left could accommodate that,” Soda says.
“Before, this half of the room had been sort of a nothing space,” Soda says. “Now it’s a casual dining area and a true family gathering space.” She repurposed the former dining space within the great room with a homework station and reading nook.
The area serves as the main dining spot for the family and their guests, but also for other types of gatherings. The area is also full of personality — the designer used the family’s existing dining table and two of its dining chairs, mixing in two classic midcentury modern Bertoia chairs and two Philippe Starck ghost chairs for a more casual eclectic look.
Opal glass orb chandelier: West Elm
Repeating the wallpaper and cabinet style on this side of the room connects it to the other side of the kitchen, while a dark quartz countertop creates a distinction. The counter serves as a buffet, while the cabinets provide plenty of space for tableware, linens, serveware and seasonal decorations, as well as room for games and Legos, which the family plays with together at the table.
“At first my client wanted to paint their existing black dining table white, but the contrast really works,” Soda says. The dark table and two existing dining chairs anchor the dining area, while the well-proportioned orb light fixture defines the area overhead.
The room has gone from “kind of boring” to dynamic and full of personality. It’s a real draw and one of the family’s favorite gathering spaces in the house.
via Kitchen of the Week: More Than Just White and Gray