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Why this is the room designer Joelle Craig likes to spend time in

Courtesy of Terracon Inc.

Toronto-based designer Joelle Craig moved into her narrow Victorian row house in the city's Queen West district a decade ago, then renovated it with the help of her husband, Myles, an associate at the esteemed firm Teeple Architects. The main floor of the home was gutted to make way for an enlarged kitchen with access to the backyard; Craig wanted clean lines and unobstructed views of both the front and rear of the house in order to keep an eye on her kindergarten-age son. With this in mind, she purchased a white, minimalist kitchen from IKEA and added customized pieces to make the room feel personal. "We tried to fit as much possible into the layout," says Craig, who was born in Montreal and is a principal at WilliamsCraig, which recently made its debut appearance at Toronto's Interior Design Show. "It's the room in which we like to spend most of our time."

The bench

"This custom bench folds up into a computer desk, making the kitchen a truly flexible space. My husband and I started to design it, and while we were having it priced, we noticed that the bench we had recently purchased to store our son's toys was a lot like what we had in mind. So we ended up designing just the white-oak seat and installing it on top of what we already had, saving us a ton of money."

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The cushions

"I found these at Restoration Hardware. I wanted something very simple. I like the burlap material, and the fact that they have the word Paris on them has added personal meaning. Paris is where my husband and I became engaged."

The accent wall

"We anchored one side of the kitchen with a charcoal-grey backsplash behind the cooktop and continued the colour along the bench wall to tie it together. We like how the grey contrasts with the bright, white cabinetry."

The light

"We love the industrial look of this Castor light fixture over the dining table and the splash of red on the cord. We bought it a year and a half before we started the reno. It was like, I want this light fixture, and I will build a kitchen around it."

The table

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"We needed a very narrow table for the space and, with the exposed plywood edge, we felt it fit perfectly, both in terms of size and aesthetic. It has a custom top, which a friend gave me, and I added the brushedaluminum legs."

The chairs

"These are the original Eames moulded-plastic armchairs, which we bought years ago from Herman Miller in Toronto. They are an iconic piece of furniture and, as important for us now that we have a child, are also incredibly easy to clean."

The flooring

"This a whitewashed oak floor with matching millwork accents that really helps to warm up the space. We had a similar floor ordered and paid for, but about three weeks before it was delivered, it was destroyed in a flood in the warehouse. I literally called everywhere in the city to find a match."

The cabinetry

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"It's from IKEA and was a relatively inexpensive purchase. We used the money left over on the limestone backsplash, custom millwork accents and the great light fixture to ground the space. My husband and I like the white. It's clean and contemporary."

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About the Author

Deirdre Kelly is a features writer for The Globe and Mail. She is the author of the best-selling Paris Times Eight and Ballerina: Sex, Scandal and Suffering Behind the Symbol of Perfection (Greystone Books). More

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