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Mint Medley

Photography by Stacey Brandford

Posted on Nov 27, 2013

Mint Medley - Dining area and kitchen - greens and whites on teak, white kitchen area
If entertaining and being together as a couple or family is your priority, creating the right space is key. Tearing down the kitchen walls to allow the main floor to work as a single area opened up a world of possibilities. Instead of being cramped and cut off, the kitchen now holds court and is “the” destination for the main floor. Previously tucked into one corner, the redefined kitchen spans the entire width of the house and features an island that’s over nine feet long, while the entire room feels like an open concept loft as the sun shines in from the front and back of the house.
Mint Medley - kitchen - island and appliance area

Make it Creamy

A white kitchen is always in style, but if you’re planning to connect your kitchen to your living area, you might prefer a slightly warmer tone. Contemporary chic was the design brief from the clients, so I chose a ready-to-go cabinet profile in a creamy high-gloss finish. It’s sleek, it’s shiny, yet it’s not the least bit stark or sterile. You’ll likely be doing most of your entertaining in the evening hours, so I always recommend that you consider how your kitchen will feel when the sun goes down. Will it be too bright, or will it be a cozy and relaxing environment to unwind in at the end of long workday? Since a kitchen in an open-concept home is always on display, it’s important to choose finishes that will stand the test of time and be easy to care for, and a wipeable, slab profile door is about as user-friendly as kitchens come.

Mint Medley - kitchen - island and appliance area

Leave Some Breathing Room

Every kitchen needs a variety of storage solutions. Tall pantries, lots of drawers and well-appointed task areas are key. But as you may already know, I also love a bit of open display in almost every kitchen I design. To keep a cool modern look in this kitchen, I used short “fan cabinets” which are designed to be installed above a simple, utilitarian vent hood. I prefer a freestanding chimney style hood fan that doesn’t need any cabinets above, but I’m always finding new uses for these short cabinets that are just 15 inches tall. By leaving about 12 inches of open space between two runs of cabinets and trimming all the sides with matching gables, you can get storage above and below, and a sleek spot to show off your favourite dishes in between.

Mint Medley - kitchen detail

Make Your Island Unique

If you’ve got the space, your island can be as big as you want it. However, if you’re working with in-stock kitchen components you may encounter some limitations that require you to think outside the big box that they came from. The gables used to dress the ends of the island are generally only available up to 36 inches wide, which necessitates a seam if your island is any deeper. Since I like a seamless look, I often clad the island in a custom finish and paint it to match the cabinetry. The long, low lines of this home seemed to call out for a horizontal profile on the island, so we applied flat stock poplar trim pieces to cabinet grade plywood and installed them in a ribbon-like pattern around the perimeter. Simple to install, yet it’s one of my favourite details in the completed kitchen.

Mint Medley - kitchen - island and appliance area

Beyond the Pale

My love of all things light and creamy knows no limits, and my current passion is for pale wood floors. Bleached, whitewashed, cerused – you name it, I’m into them. Don’t get me wrong, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with a rich, dark wood floor, but if your goal is to create a monochromatic palette that blends harmoniously and seamlessly from floor to ceiling, I highly recommend that you check out the latest and greatest in European-inspired hardwood flooring options. The wide-plank brushed European white oak floors in this house instantly set the tone for a serene and subtle style statement underfoot.

Mint Medley - kitchen - white with light aqua serving bowl

Never too Much of a Good Thing

I love a bargain. You know that. When I find a great product at a great price, I work hard to use it to best effect. Pendant lights above an island are generally used in twos and threes, and it’s easy to fall for a pricey option that suddenly seems decadent once you consider that you need to buy more than one. On the other hand, if you luck out and find the right fixture, you’ll be laughing all the way to the bottom line. At less than $70 each, these cool cylindrical pendants blend clean lines with a hint of industrial style, and were a home run when installed in a group of four.

Mint Medley - Dining area - greens and whites on teak

Supersize Your Artwork

Big rooms call for a big art moment. Small pieces can seem inconsequential and look lost when you’ve got a single wall that spans over 20 feet. Thankfully there are many solutions that allow you to get the impact you need without a second mortgage. Thanks to the digital age, you can print a custom photo onto vinyl wallpaper and scale it to the size of the wall you want to cover. The detail of a carved marble building façade became abstract geometric art once the colour and tone was tweaked to pick up on the minty mood in the room design, and is sure to spark some dinner table conversation with its commanding presence as focal point of the dining area.

Source Guide:

kitchen cabinetry, HanStone Quartz countertops in 'Champagne Pearl', fridge, dishwasher, range hood, microwave oven, throw, white picture frames, flatware, wine glasses & candles, IKEA | range & espresso machine, shop.ca | custom photographic wallcovering, 533 Richmond St. W., suite 204, Toronto, ON, 416.305.5430, Tony Koukos | sinks & faucets, 100 Corporation Dr., Toronto, ON, 905.494.2400,Blanco Canada | hardwood flooring (FLYT.2 Albescent), 365 Dupont St., Toronto, ON, 416.961.6891, Floorworks & Relative Space | backsplash tile, 115 Tycos Dr., Toronto, ON, 416.441.2224, Saltillo Imports | kitchen windows and door supply & installation, 8985 Woodbine Ave., Unionville, ON, 416.533.0999, Fieldstone Windows & Doors Ltd. | sofa fabric, slipper chair fabric, armchair fabric & fabric and accent piping on dining chairs, 1360 Queen St W., Toronto, ON, 416.531.2810, Designer Fabrics | rug, glass vase on coffee table, square glass vase of coffee table, hurricane candle holder on occasional table, green glass ball on sideboard, fish bowl vase & cast iron pot on stove, Homesense | poufs, blue glass bowl & blue glass platter on kitchen island, Urban Barn | blue napkins & collection of blue bowls in open shelving, Indigo | light green patterned pillows (Name - Veneto Neutral, Colour - Soft French Green Tinted, Number - 302200B-04), Quadrille Fabrics and Wallcoverings | pillow fabric on pair of slipper chairs (Highpoint), pillow fabric on pair of armchairs (Yorkville), floral pillow fabric on sofa (Cottingham) & striped pillow fabric on sofa (Scollard), Sarah Richardson for Kravet Fabrics | pillow sewing & inserts, 215 Spadina Ave., Toronto, ON, 416.596.8489, Dreams | Lawren sofa, Olivia chairs & grass and floral photographs, Sarah Richardson Design Inc. | pair of slipper chairs, dining table, dining chairs, sideboard, light fixture in hallway & sheer drapes, Client's own | recovery of dining chairs & slipper chairs, 1311 Alness St., Toronto, ON, 905.738.6800, Windsor House Furniture | coffee table, A.H. Wilkens Auctions & Appraisals Toronto | pair of occasional tables, 185 Bridgeland Ave., Toronto, ON, 416.256.9256, Of Things Past | light fixture over dining table, pair of bamboo side tables & mercury glass vase on occasional table, 328 Queen St. E., Toronto, ON, 416.686.5614, Vintage Fine Objects | silver candlestick on coffee table & collection of bud vases on dining table, 249 Gerrard St. E, Toronto, ON, 416 934-9009, Eclectisaurus | leaf dish, blown glass paperweight, blue glass bowl, collection of green vases, collection of green bowls in opening shelving & chrome ice bucket, 150 Lesmill Rd., Toronto, ON, 416.546.1760, Around The Block | beverage center, Lowe's | cabinetry hardware, Lee Valley Tools | counter stools, 1152 Dupont St., Toronto, ON, 416.588.1950, Modern Furniture Knockoff | pendants above kitchen island, The Home Depot | mirror, 1156 Yonge St., Toronto, ON, 416.934.1021, Chair Table Lamp | pair of blue/green lamps, vintage tea set & tray, 327 Queen St. E., Toronto, ON, 416.778.6608, Ethel | spraying of tray, 104 Kenhar Dr., Toronto, ON, 416.745.2559, Benjamen Furniture Refinishing | lampshades, 2721 Markham Rd., Scarborough, ON, 416.299.3113, Lamp Shades Unlimited | pair of cream lamps, 1588 Bayview Ave, Toronto, ON, 416.322.9744, Elegant Garage Sale | glass pitcher, Crate & Barrel | placemats, Target | dinner & salad plates, The Bay | dark green lumbar pillows on sofa, patterned side plates & plate holding lemons and limes, West Elm | all trim, 41 Racine Road., Toronto, ON, 416.749.6857, Brenlo | flowers & tall glass square vase, Jong Young Flowers, 128 Avenue Rd., Toronto, ON, 416.922.4421

Trades

contractor, MBKL Ltd Custom Contracting, 416.836.7295 | kitchen installation, IKEA Installation Services | installation of custom wall mural, 416.994.8348, Russell Painting Inc. | electrician, Spindel Electric Inc., 416.225.0212

Paint Colours

4 walls - Slipper Satin 200, 1054 Yonge St., Toronto, ON, 416.920.0200, Farrow & Ball | ceiling - Borrowed Light 235, 1054 Yonge St., Toronto, ON, 416.920.0200, Farrow & Ball | trim - All White 2005, 1054 Yonge St., Toronto, ON, 416.920.0200, Farrow & Ball | paint on sprayed tray (Foliage 30GY 50/195) , Dulux Paint Canada