NOW Magazine - Toronto Living - - Front Page - BY MAR­CIA LYON

The charm of a bun­ga­low ex­pressed on the ex­te­rior is the small, doll­house pro­por­tions. Mod­er­ately steep roof pitches are typ­i­cally in­ter­rupted with a dormer or two. A tiny front porch com­pletes the charm­ing look. In a some­what nau­se­at­ing word, th­ese bun­ga­lows are “Cute”. That doesn’t mean that the in­te­rior has to mimic the ex­te­rior.

The "Cute" lay­out of the in­te­rior is ex­pressed by small rooms, arch­ways, and rooms that must dou­ble as halls due to the lack of square footage. It is per­fectly fine to take a de­par­ture on the in­te­rior to sim­plify your life­style and/or show­case con­tem­po­rary fur­nish­ings.


This bun­ga­low, with the tra­di­tional lay­out un­changed, had a large living room (A) that ac­com­mo­dated fur­ni­ture where the traf­fic wasn’t.


The front door (B) en­tered di­rectly into the living room. Although abrupt, the lack of front en­try was work­able. The fam­ily en­try (C), lo­cated on the side just off the drive­way posed a huge con­ges­tion prob­lem. The fact that peo­ple en­tered on the base­ment stair land­ing and had three more stairs to get to the kitchen (D) com­pounded the in­con­ve­nience. The kitchen (D) oc­cu­pied slightly more room than the only bath­room (E), and had vir­tu­ally no stor­age. The dining room (F) was al­most part of the kitchen, and all traf­fic poured through th­ese rooms. When the baby ar­rived, the high chair could only fit in the living room. It was clear that space was tight, and there was no pos­si­bil­ity for an ad­di­tion on ei­ther the sides or the front. The home­own­ers and I dis­cussed life­style. Open kitchens are tra­di­tion­ally lo­cated at the back of the house, and a front door open­ing into this very ca­sual area would send an ex­tremely ca­sual state­ment. They were not only fine with that idea, but em­braced it. They have the luxury of a base­ment fam­ily and ac­tiv­ity room, which will work for over­flow.

Their dec­o­rat­ing tastes con­sisted of high-tech con­tem­po­rary and their fur­ni­ture style – Mid-Cen­tury Mod­ern. What they were af­ter with their re­mod­el­ing project was func­tion, func­tion, and a bit more func­tion. We de­scram­bled the fam­ily en­try (G) space by re­mov­ing a short wall and widen­ing the stairs to al­low two peo­ple at once or one per­son with stuff to pass. Since we re­moved the kitchen, we could in­stall two full-length win­dows (H), of­fer­ing vis­ual free­dom in this area.


By re­mov­ing the right walls, we rerouted traf­fic to avoid the new kitchen(I) workspace. Build­ing a closet style pantry (J), en­clos­ing the fur­nace flue, and lining the in­te­rior pantry sur­faces with wire shelv­ing cre­ated ur­gently needed stor­age space. Even the doors have wire shelves, and op­er­ated a door ac­ti­vated light switch.

The re­sult­ing kitchen lay­out (I) is ac­tu­ally quite tra­di­tional ex­cept for an un­usual is­land (K). We used a regular rec­tan­gu­lar dining ta­ble (L), butted up against a self-sup­port­ing 42" high counter (K). The counter can be used as a serv­ing counter or for some­thing dec­o­ra­tive with mul­ti­tudes of can­dles, and for ev­ery­day use, will un­doubt­edly be­come the mail drop. Be­neath this counter, tall cab­i­nets house small kitchen ap­pli­ances. The size and lo­ca­tion of this unit serves to some­what shield the dining ta­ble from the front door. Although un­usual, this dining/counter ar­range­ment is highly func­tional and space sav­ing. The ta­ble can be moved out into the living space when big din­ners are planned.

You might be won­der­ing about re­sale. I feel that, even though non-tra­di­tional, many buy­ers would pre­fer this highly func­tional and fam­ily friendly lay­out over the Be­fore. What an ideal starter home or re­tire­ment home that is easy to care for.

MAR­CIA LYON is a pro­fes­sional re­mod­elling designer & free­lance writer. Reach her at 416201-8867. E-mail Mar­cia@cre­at­, or visit www.cre­at­

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