My Perfect Efficient Swell Dwell Kitchen

College Street / Little Italy, Riverdale / Playter Estates

Today I share with you my success incorporating a new kitchen back into its original location in the Garden Suite of my purpose-built 1960s Riverdale duplex.

When I first looked at this main floor 2-bedroom unit – which in its past deconversion was configured into a large studio apartment and rented to a young couple with a toddler, cat and dog – I saw too many spatial limitations. Fortunately, the lovely tenants gave notice when I bought, so on closing, I immediately began my Garden Suite makeover. This included removing the existing kitchen from the former rear bedroom and relocating it to its original location in a 'nook' off the living room. Here's a pic of the floor plan of the house when I bought it. My objective in this Phase 1 renovation was to return the Main Floor Suite back into its original configuration like you can see on the Second Floor:



Here's the 'Before' pic when this space was called the 'Office', as well as a photo of the existing kitchen in the unit above (which does not have a dishwasher), so you can get a better sense how compact a space it is:



First, this space is itty-bitty-teeny-tiny at just 6 x 8 feet. Yes, the task was to install a fully-equipped kitchen with 4 appliances in 48 square feet!

Here's a snap during renovation:



The centred window – the one facing a brick wall – was so wide that if you put a fridge on either side the appliance would block a portion of the window. As one who loves proportion and symmetry, that flaw bugged me to no end. And because I wanted to make the fridge as unobtrusive as possible in this open concept 'nook', I made the decision to place it beside the stove on the left side and relocate the plumbing from one wall to its opposite side where I could fit a dishwasher. Given the space lacked wood floors, I decided to install vinyl 'wood plank' throughout the whole apartment. Why? Because vinyl plank flooring is affordable, super-easy to maintain (I am not a fan of having to remove my shoes where I live), and its 'plasticky honesty' gives a nod to the utilitarian 'pedigree' (or lack thereof) of this 1960s house. After all, when this house was built vinyl, was considered rather modern and space-agey!

Here's the finished product! (By the way, don't you love the mid-century console where I painted the outside edges white? Thanks for giving this to me Marilyn!):



The lower Ikea kitchen cabinets in gloss white are functional and affordable. I had them installed four inches forward to both accommodate the plumbing relocation and to get a bit more depth for food preparation. This is a trick I often use, especially if you have a galley kitchen with some inches to spare. Natural light still comes through the MDF cut-out circle with a sliding metal screen that gives a vintage nod to my love for mid-century screens. Plus, one can still get air-flow as required. My fab carpenter Silvie Varone (here's her Inspiration Board for the property on Pinterest) honoured my request to achieve a 'Nordic Retro-Futuristic' vibe to complement the dwelling's 1960s vintage – which I reinforced with the mid-century modern furnishings throughout the space.

I think a lot of the success of this space was the incorporation of some of the vintage pieces of furniture I bought at Great Stuff At Guff Furniture In Leslieville. The 60s teak and glass cabinet over the stove (the underside is covered in stainless steel), and the stacked black metal and teak shelving unit opposite it (one of the cabinets holds the microwave) makes it less 'kitcheny' – an effect I prefer.

In fact, I find myself increasingly fascinated with ways to create kitchens which are luxe but not large, while remaining understated. Although, I've enjoyed many dream kitchens that have accommodated my love of cooking for 16, like at my Button Factory Loft. When I was renovating my Movie House loft, I invested big bucks into custom built-ins (nearly every surface hides storage), mirrors, and invisible appliances. My bijou 11×11 foot kitchen appeared larger while resolving the storage issues!



If you want to see the transformation of the kitchen above – here's a blog showing the Before Pics – plus here's a Peek-A-View 7 post that shows my love for a built-in bar – as seen on my blog called Renovating A Movie House Loft. This space is coming for sale in May 2015… just in case you, or someone you love, is seeking a dreamy space on College Street's Little Italy Neighbourhood.

One of the gifts I've learned as a designer is that I don't really need a lot of square footage to be happy. In fact, having just the right amount of perfectly scaled and well-proportioned space that accommodates all one's “Stuff” (while staying 'pared down'…after all, “How much stuff do we really need?”) is the right way to make a place one's Home!

How lucky am I? Stay tuned for more from The Tales Of Tennis Crescent!

~ Steven and the urbaneer team


Love Kitchen renovations? Here's three more I executed over the past five years in my dream-come-true vacation rental on Prince Edward Island called The Black House!

This is the Garden Suite with Before Pics (those barn floors and beams were imported into a new addition):



Here's the Captain's Quarters with Before Pics (this is a former bedroom on the second floor of an 1880s manse)



And here's our Attic Atelier with Before Pics (this attic was reconfigured to create a new kitchen/diner):



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Rejuvenating The Button Factory
Renovating The Movie House Loft
Tales From Tennis Crescent
Tales Of Upper Hillsborough

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