“Let there be light” could have been the motto for the kitchen renovation
that opened up a 1970s addition in this narrow Toronto turn-of-the-century brick
townhouse. The back exterior wall dividing the kitchen and family room was removed
and replaced with a steel beam to create an open, 400-square-foot kitchen/family
room. “The space is washed with sunlight, so we kept everything light and airy to
emphasize that,” says designer Viki Mansell, owner of Absolutely Inc. and Absolutely
North, antiques and accessories boutiques on Toronto’s Yonge Street decorating strip.
She outfitted the 14' x 15' kitchen with a mix of bleached reclaimed ash floors and
drawers, white Shaker-front cabinetry and open shelving to give the illusion of more
space, softening the cabinetry’s crisp, angular lines with curvy armchairs. To further
flood the space with natural light, Mansell replaced an old sliding glass door opening
onto the back garden with french doors. An equally restrained palette with subtle
texture in the adjoining lounge area completes the spare, sophisticated look.
DRAMATIC VENT HOOD A custom hood was designed to align with the adjacent display shelves (the vent within it is installed at regulation height). To keep the look clean, Mansell opted against a backsplash. Instead, a waterproof sealant was applied to the scratch coat on the plaster wall. Italian glass pendants are like reflective sculptures. Kettle, William Ashley China; tea towels, Ikea.
TABLE AND CHAIRS
A reclaimed oak table works
for dining or food prep. The
chairs are reproductions of
mid-century modern designs,
which double as occasional
chairs in the family room.
“You don’t normally see
leather chairs with arms in
the kitchen,” says Mansell.
The L-shaped shelving
opens the space to display.
Toaster, teapot, stacked
glasses, William Ashley
China; large basket, Angus
& Company; grey bowl,
stainless steel bowl, Ikea;
boxed crackers, Whole Foods.