For the last three years, JJ Thompson, founder of The Compendium Daily, a Toronto-based lifestyle and entertainment website, has lived in an 1,800-square-foot loft that he shares with his interior-designer wife, Paula, and their infant son, Logan. In anticipation of Logan's birth 10 months ago, Thompson began a renovation of the space he purchased shortly after moving to Canada from his native England in 2007, focusing on the kitchen, where the couple cooks, entertains, watches TV and plays with baby. "We really needed a more practical space for the impending storm," says the 31-year-old, who is also an event photographer. "The original kitchen was awkward, so functionality, storage [and] maximizing the space was at the forefront of my mind when I asked my talented other half to help me turn it around."
1. The blackboard
"This is one of my wife's many smart ideas. We painted it onto our wall. It was kind of a dead space before. Now it's both a practical as well as play area. We use it for shopping lists and reminders and also to draw on, swinging constantly between the mundane and the inspirational."
2. The ladder
"This is a legacy from the previous owners. They had it built to reach custom cabinets located high up. It's so practical we decided to keep it. We use it all the time."
3. The white cabinetry
"I like these cabinets because they are modern, clean and fresh. Our bedroom is almost entirely white, so it continues the theme. We got them at IKEA."
4. The island
"This was our biggest splurge. Designed by Paula, it was custom-built and assembled in multiple pieces on site. My wife and I do taco nights and have multiple ingredients lined up along the heavy wood countertop so guests can serve themselves. It really brings people together in the space."
5. The flooring
"The floors [were installed] when the post-and-beam, turn-of-century building was first converted into a residential building circa 1999. Getting the floor resanded is the last stage of our renovation. We've been delaying it because it's a major undertaking."
6. The yellow panel
"My wife ordered these large stencils from an online store in the U.K., www.stencil-library.com. Yellow goes with every colour; it's so warm. Also, I'm a big fan of Viceroy Hotels, which use white and yellow extensively in designing their interiors."