A chef’s condo

When my friend,  Toronto chef Mike Ward asked me to help him redesign his condo I thought, thank goodness!  Over the years I’ve spent many an hour in the existing space, a guinea pig for his new recipes, sharing a bottle of wine . This may just be a more temporary downtown home for him, but it was time to create a space that was more functional for him and his two young daughters to enjoy the time while there.  We were mindful of the fact this is a condo and resale values can’t afford massive renovation budgets. Settling on a modest goal that would bring a good return on the investment, but really focused on their needs as a family, today.

I decided to keep the existing cabinetry, a great tip if it’s in otherwise good structural condition.  A coat of white paint instantly refreshed the look, and freed up a big portion of the budget for the perks that would truly change the way they used the space.  With a focus on the kitchen and dining spaces, here were the two biggest challenges and how we solved them.

kitchen renovationSmall kitchen

Condo kitchen are limiting in that there really isn’t much ability to expand the footprint.  A few creative solutions can maximize the limited space and provide a more integrated look with adjacent rooms.

I extended the island counter, and chose to add a waterfall design (wrapping the counter surface down one side) on the dining room side.  This provided more prep space in the kitchen, room for stools on the other side for guests to chat as he cooks, and the girls to do their homework.  The Cambria stone waterfall counter offers a soft pretty view for dining guests.

I opted for a silgranit sink from Blanco for the kitchen. The white colour blends for a subtler look and offers a durable scratch, stain and heat resistant composition.  This style with integrated drain board, and wire rack also makes food prep a breeze.

Lastly by adding IKEA knife and utility rails adjacent the range it keeps them handy for quick access and frees up more storage in the kitchen proper.

No dining room

Condo model suites are famous for their tiny round glass table, making it clear they don’t think you have more than 2 friends and no intention of hosting a meal at home.  Mike loves to entertain and having enjoyed many a meal here, I knew I had to work some design magic to give him a proper table.  By recessing low cabinetry in line with the kitchen, I was able to create a dining bench that both pulled the table closer to the wall, freeing up space around the table and adding oodles more storage for Mike’s larger kitchen appliances.  Remarkably this area now seats up to 12 people for dinner.  By selecting a HEKTAR light fixture that has the ability to swag, we easily hung a feature light over the new table position adding all important mood lighting.  This matte black style also leans masculine, and

Remember the scale rule here, doing larger, but streamlined pieces actual make the space seem larger than a series of tiny cluttered pieces.  I opted for a large harvest style table from IKEA but kept it in the same wood tone as the existing floors.  Visually this all blends for a gentler overall look.

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