Located in the vibrant Oaklands neighbourhood, this quintessential 1911 home possessed charm and personality but the layout was completely dysfunctional and the finishes were worn and drab. The home had undergone multiple renovations between the 1960’s and 80’s and had endured decades of wear. Think layers and layers (five to be exact!) of vinyl flooring in the kitchen to create a two-inch rise. The house was in dire need of a facelift and the owner turned to the power trio of Splinters Millwork to create cabinets and storage and Ivyhouse Design with Alan O’Rourke Construction to lead the house into the next century. The outcome is a traditionally styled farmhouse kitchen with a dash of English charm that pays homage to the home’s original era.
The homeowner was shopping at Pigeonhole Home Store and discussing the vision for her home reno when the shop owner noted how her style would align with Eli Nanos and Bryn Taylor of Ivyhouse Design. Nanos adds that “we enjoy brainstorming unique ideas with our clients to bring fresh solutions to their home that they may not have considered on their own. We like to think outside the box and enjoy the challenges of every unique project.” A significant challenge of this particular home was the kitchen’s small ten-by-ten foot proportions.
“The house is over one-hundred-years old so it was important to us to remain sympathetic to the home’s original style,” says Dave Sheridan of Splinters Millwork. The home really lacked the proper storage for a house of its size so adding multiple storage opportunities was at the top of the owner’s wishlist. Bringing a traditional style cabinet with framed uppers was sympathetic to the home’s era while concealed modern efficiencies spoke to kitchen’s space efficiency. Space was an issue for base cabinets so pullout cabinets were incorporated, as well as LeMans blind corner cabinet to utilize hard to reach spaces.
The inspiration for the project was based on the client’s love of classic English design. Having spent most of his life until 2005 in the UK, Sheridan is a master at traditional joinery techniques and was known in Southern England for building inviting farmhouse kitchens with a dash of English charm.
Knocking down walls and expanding the square footage was not an option so Ivyhouse decided to extend the kitchen space into the adjacent dining room. “We wanted the dining area to still feel like a dining room, so we made the cabinetry in that space to look like an entertaining bar area. This gave our client the extra storage and countertop space she needed while creating a visually beautiful feature wall off of the dining area.” A combination of pot lights and wall mounted task lighting visually expands the compact space.
Sheridan adds that “for this kitchen’s proportions there was a balance between maximizing storage while still creating a visually light space. We didn’t want the home to feel too cramped with storage so we incorporated floating shelves in both the kitchen and entrainment wall in the dining area. This helped to visually connect the kitchen and dining room cabinetry to ensure a sense of flow.” Open shelves don’t work for everyone but in this situation, it gave our client a chance to display some of her beautiful pottery she makes herself. One unique feature of the home’s original character was the cherub head sculptures in all four corners of the dining room. By the end of the project, they decided two of them would stay because they made everyone smile and added something unique to the room.
“We liked the use of brass in this kitchen for brackets and hardware and we used the same wood in the flooring for the floating shelves. Sheridan concludes that “we work with Ivyhouse Design and Alan O’Rouke Construction frequently so we collaborate like a well-oiled machine which always makes the process smooth — a win for everyone, including the client.