Split-level homes emerged in the post-war building boom of the midcentury as a shift in the perception of space. Considered innovative for their asymmetrical curb appeal, their use of space maximizes square-footage without requiring a larger lot and was considered the perfect family home. After living in their 1960’s split-level for many years, this semi-retired couple with teenagers required a renovation to take them into the next chapter of their lives.
Their second project with MAC Renovations, the couple was ready to gut the kitchen and revitalize the main floor’s dated 1980’s reno. “Driven by the homeowner’s love of midcentury furnishings and design, the inspiration for the reno was the family’s red Blue Star gas range, says Alexis Solomon, Interior Designer for MAC Reno. Solomon worked closely with the family to create a bold and colourful space where they could enjoy cooking and entertaining and embrace their midcentury furnishings and art collection. “We didn’t want to make the house look like a 1960s museum but the goal was to pay homage to their love of midcentury modern design with a contemporary twist.”
Typical of the era, the original u-shaped kitchen was cramped and disconnected from the rest of the home. It housed a breakfast nook that the family was outgrowing and the door to the laundry room was directly off the nook. A narrow doorway from the kitchen led to the dark dining area where a small window looked out to the beautiful backyard. The walls were adorned in an overly saturated red and yellow that darkened the space by absorbing what little light was coming into the room.
Solomon adds that “because the owners love to cook, our goal was to open up the kitchen for entertaining and increase the kitchen’s footprint. Access to natural light was limited so we replaced the dining room window with French doors and added a large floor to ceiling window in the laundry room to take advantage of the views and bring in more light.” A mix of walnut and teak veneer cabinets bring warmth and visual interest to the space with the various tones and grains. Cambria quartz countertops add to the pattern theme and will stand the test of time. Single panels of tempered glass on the backsplash create reflection and give the eye a visual rest from the surrounding patterns and colour.
“Overall, the clients wanted clean lines but nothing stark. I strove for interest and unexpectedness, such as the 30-degree angle on the waterfall countertop at the bar, the pop of cobalt blue countertop and the pea green fireplace wall. Wire and steel underlit walnut shelves literally float from the ceiling to add an architectural element with an industrial vibe.” A convenient coffee bar and wine fridge complete this kitchen built for entertaining. Made in Italy, Radice & Orlandini’s Bouchon cork barstools bring a playful element to the kitchen.
The warm gallery white walls create a serene backdrop for the home’s colourful theme and vibrant art collection. French doors from the dining room lead to an outdoor living area that translates to usable space for the family on warm days. The natural light that now flows through the main living areas enhance the home’s mood and allows the artwork to sing.
“We completely remodelled the staircase with new wood treads to match the original hardwood flooring throughout the main floor and replaced the bannister and railings. The oak flooring was refinished to maintain an original feature that was still in great condition,” says Solomon.
MAC Renovations opened up the dark and confining entryway by removing a wall that separated the entry from the living room, taking out carpet and building a coat closet. Natural light was brought in by adding a glass panel front door. The laundry room is now specifically designated for laundry rather than its original purpose as a pass-through to the backyard.