Archive of ‘Kitchen’ category

Urban Farmhouse Kitchen: A Dramatic Before and After!


I am so excited about today’s post, as this project was a long time in the making! Having started this kitchen just over a year ago; both the client and I were thrilled to see months of planning, designing and hard work finally come together!

The existing kitchen was that of a typical builders “cookie cutter” layout. It was extremely dark with three awkwardly placed mixed matched light fixtures. The cabinets had been painted a few years back for a quick and easy face lift, but it did nothing to address the almost complete lack of storage in the kitchen.

The great debate was the load bearing wall that divided the kitchen from the family room. It needed to come down!! That being said, taking down a load bearing wall isn’t as easy as it sounds. Structurally we needed to add a beam and this ate into a HUGE part of the budget. We tried multiple layout options that allowed us to keep the wall in, but they all came up flat. So, we all agreed that in order to achieve the perfect layout that crossed all the items off our list; the wall had to go!! And what a difference it made!

Here are the before pictures…. 






BEFORE AND AFTER 6Wanting to maximize the height of the upper cabinets, we opted to rip down the bulkhead and extend the units right to the ceiling. In doing this, it instantly added height and an additional six inches of upper cabinet storage. However, upon tearing down the bulkhead we found duct work and plumbing that needed to be covered. This was solved by boxing into the riser and finishing up to the ceiling with a simple crown moulding. An elegant and practical solution!

Along with taking down the bulkhead and wall,  the home-owner had a long list of additional ” must haves”,these items were at the top of her list.

  1. AN ISLAND: The only way we were able to achieve this was by taking down the wall. The results speak for them selves.
  2. A LARGE PANTRY: We eliminated the useless desk and filled it with a practical pantry that housed four roll-out shelves and a perfect spot for a microwave.
  3. LOTS OF DRAWERS: Eliminating the awkward “u-shape” kitchen allowed for extra long run of counters on either side of the stove, thus giving us the space we needed for pot and pan drawers. The original layout had a total of 4 drawers, but with the new layout she ended up with 10 drawers!!
  4. ECO-FRIENDLY GARBAGE/ RECYCLE CENTRE: Although the island wasn’t large enough to house the bins, we found the perfect spot beside the fridge. This was the system that we used. No more exposed garbage!!


So lo and behold, here is the after…







The new kitchen is birght and welcoming and I am sure the clients will love it for years to come! I couldn’t be happier with the way it turned out.

Here are a list of Skilled Trades and Suppliers: 

  1. All of the custom cabinetry was manufactured and installed by our talented team at BND WOODWORKING 
  2. The renovations were professionally done by NORTH WAY HOMES
  3. Caesarstone Counters (5141 Frosty Carrina) were installed by STONEX 

Thanks so much for stopping by!

xo Thelma

5 Steps to a Stress Free Kitchen Reno!

Oh Hey!

Congratulations!  You’ve worked hard, you’ve saved your pennies and you’re finally ready to renovate your kitchen. But before you dive in and make the same mistakes I have seen over and over again, here is a step-by step guide that I’ve prepared to make the entire process run smoothly from start to finish. BLOG POST KITCHEN

STEP ONE: Determine a Budget:

This is by far the most crucial. Be honest with yourself about what you can afford and try to stick with that budget. I have seen far too often jobs going over budget by thousands of dollars simply because the “want list” trumps the “budget”.  Keep in mind that the average cost of a kitchen renovation will run you on average between ($20,000.00- $40,000.00) so be prepared to spend at least that. Here is a list of what you will need to budget for.

1)      Renovation/ Material Costs: This would include flooring, back splash, new sink, new taps, new moulding and trim for baseboard/ windows, moving electrical or plumbing, removal of existing cabinets, removing walls, bulkheads, gas lines etc. And the list goes on.

2)      Cost of new appliances: New appliances can sometimes cost more than the actual cabinets, so by determining what you can afford to spend will keep your mind focused when it comes time to buying.

3)      Determine a cabinet cost: Always make sure to get delivery and installation included in the quote.

4)      Counter tops: Most solid surface counters are sold by groups and each group has a specific price per square foot. Letting your granite supplier know what your budget is, will help them guide you to choose the group within your budget.

STEP TWO: Access the Problem:

One of the first things I ask my clients to do is identify what works and what doesn’t. Determine how you will use the space and what type of features you want and must have. Do you need a kitchen table? Do you prefer an island? Do you need a second sink? Having a vision for the final product will help when it comes time to actually designing the space. This takes me to my next point….


I can write an entire blog post on what to look for when hiring a designer, but to keep it simple you need to hire someone that you feel comfortable with and who knows their stuff, end of story!  We (Designers) are trained and have full knowledge of the building code and know how to properly design a kitchen. I know that designing a kitchen is not rocket science.  But I also know that if attention isn’t given to the smallest of details, it can potentially end up costing you hundreds or even thousands of dollars.  Designers think beautifully but design practically. You want a space that reflects you your tastes and style but it also need it to function.  So don’t be surprised if that 10’ island you so badly wanted isn’t going to fit into your 8’ kitchen. This is the stuff you need to hear, trust me. Just have faith that your designer will come up with a solution that better suits the space and your needs. One of the best things about hiring a designer is they generally have a group of trade’s people that they trust and feel comfortable working with and can put you in contact with the best of the best. Contractors, cabinet manufactures, etc, etc, etc. You will have peace of mind knowing that you are working with skilled and reliable professionals who are going to get the job done right and on time. That my friend is invaluable!

STEP FOUR: Determine Appliances Before Quoting the Kitchen:

Why you ask? Because the size of your appliances will affect the design and price of your kitchen. For example, if you are purchasing a built in oven and a cook top, most companies will charge more to customize cabinets to accommodate these units. One size fits all doesn’t always apply when it comes to appliances. Fridges, stoves, dishwashers, microwaves and  built in ovens will all vary in size depending on the manufacturer and model number. It is crucial that the cabinet manufacturer receives a full package outlining all the required cut outs and openings.  Most appliance dealers are very helpful in preparing this information, so be sure to ask for it. On another note; the look of your appliances could also determine the style of cabinet you end up choosing. Companies such as Mielé generally have a clean streamline European feel and look amazing with sleek slab modern doors. On the other hand, manufactures such as Wolf or Viking will give you a much more industrial look.  So really determine what type style you are trying to achieve.

STEP FIVE: Shop| Compare | Get Educated:

It doesn’t hurt to shop around when it comes time to quoting your appliances. You need to know what you are paying for and what features are offered for the price you’ve been given. Is the company quoting custom cabinets, or are they quoting pre-fabricated cabinets? This is very important to know as there is a huge difference between the two. For example, custom cabinets give you the option to build any shape to any size. It generally also comes at a higher price point. On the contrary, prefab cabinets are typically sold in increments of three inches without the ability to modify the width, height or depth and use fillers to close in any gaps.  Equally as important is the thickness of material the manufacturer is using. The last thing you want is ¼” shelves bowing and giving in with the weight of your dinner plates. I always recommend ¾” construction for the doors, shelves side panels etc. This will assure a sturdy construction that will last a lifetime. So be sure to ask what thickness has been included in your quote.  Lastly, the cost will also be determined by the type of door and material you use. Let the manufacturer know the look you want to achieve and they will be able to price accordingly.

Following these guidelines will definitely help to ensure a smooth renovation from start to finish. So now that you know what questions to ask and what to look for, I assure you that you will enjoy the process and be thrilled with the final outcome!


Thanks for stopping by!

Xo Thelma