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Sarah Richardson: How to redefine your kitchen

A vintage home’s cook space is remade into a treat with a creamy centre

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Renovation by Sarah Richardson. Renovating a kitchen isn’t just picking appliances, counters and a cabinetry door profile; it’s about defining a personality for your kitchen and bringing it to life. The women who bought this home are a dynamic pair. Fun, adventurous and open to new ideas. After years of house hunting, they made the transition from cramped midtown condo to sprawling groovy sixties split-level at the city limits. The house oozed vintage character, and was in original condition - the time had come to make it modern.

Stacey Brandford

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Tearing down the kitchen walls to allow the main floor to work as a single area opened up a world of possibilities. Instead of being cramped and cut off, the kitchen now holds court and is “the” destination for the main floor.

Stacey Brandford

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A white kitchen is always in style, but if you’re planning to connect your kitchen to your living area, you might prefer a slightly warmer tone. Contemporary chic was the design brief from the clients, so I chose a ready-to-go cabinet profile in a creamy high-gloss finish. It’s sleek, it’s shiny, yet it’s not the least bit stark or sterile.

Stacey Brandford

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Big rooms call for a big art moment. Thanks to the digital age, you can print a custom photo onto vinyl wallpaper and scale it to the size of the wall you want to cover. The detail of a carved marble building façade became abstract geometric art once the colour and tone was tweaked to pick up on the minty mood in the room design, and is sure to spark some dinner table conversation with its commanding presence as focal point of the dining area.

Stacey Brandford

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You’ll likely be doing most of your entertaining in the evening hours, so I always recommend that you consider how the room will feel when the sun goes down. Will it be too bright, or will it be a cozy and relaxing environment to unwind in at the end of long workday?

Stacey Brandford

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I love a bargain. You know that. When I find a great product at a great price, I work hard to use it to best effect. Pendant lights above an island are generally used in twos and threes, and it’s easy to fall for a pricey option that suddenly seems decadent once you consider that you need to buy more than one. On the other hand, if you luck out and find the right fixture, you’ll be laughing all the way to the bottom line. At less than $70 each, these cool cylindrical pendants blend clean lines with a hint of industrial style.

Stacey Brandford

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Every kitchen needs a variety of storage solutions. Tall pantries, lots of drawers and well-appointed task areas are key. To keep a cool modern look in this kitchen, I used short “fan cabinets.”

Stacey Brandford

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Since I like a seamless look, I often clad the island in a custom finish and paint it to match the cabinetry. The long, low lines of this home seemed to call out for a horizontal profile on the island, so we applied flat stock poplar trim pieces to cabinet grade plywood and installed them in a ribbon-like pattern around the perimeter. Simple to install, yet it’s one of my favourite details in the completed kitchen.

Stacey Brandford

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