A thought­ful re­model cre­ates a fresh vibe that is both sunny and play­ful

Ottawa Magazine - - GREAT SPACES -

Four lay­ers of lam­i­nate floor­ing were re­placed with a penny tile floor care­fully laid to match up with the orig­i­nal oak floor­ing in the din­ing room. Mod­ern Ikea cab­i­netry is paired with retro el­e­ments such as the deep farm­house sink, replica 1950s stove, and pressed-tin pan­els

Play­ful, light-hearted, and sum­mery it’s a kitchen that’s a joy to be­hold and even more fun to work in. It’s also a far cry from the dark gal­ley set-up Morgan Cran­ley lived with for the first two years af­ter buy­ing this 1930s-era semi in 2013. A wall sep­a­rated the kitchen and din­ing room, and two tiny north-fac­ing win­dows pro­vided the kitchen’s only light. “I used to get in, cook, and get out as fast as I could,” says Cran­ley with a laugh. She knew the wall had to go. So, too, did the four lay­ers of dingy lam­i­nate floor­ing and cheap cab­i­netry. The ques­tion was, what would re­place them?

En­ter Emma Doucet of Grass­roots De­sign and Build, dis­cov­ered by Cran­ley while she was brows­ing the Houzz de­sign web­site for ideas. “I could see im­me­di­ately that Emma was drawn to the unique­ness of older homes, that she would be thought­ful about what we could do.” Doucet swept in with a wealth of ideas, on board with open­ing up the kitchen and din­ing room to let the sun­shine flood in and en­thu­si­as­tic about re­fin­ing Cran­ley’s vi­sion for the space.

The cen­tre­piece to that vi­sion is a play­ful retro-look stove in mint green with chrome trim. Man­u­fac­tured by On­tar­i­obased Elmira Stove Works, the range holds pride of place, backed by a gleam­ing wall of sub­way tile and framed by sim­ple Ikea cab­i­netry. Across from it, a deep kitchen is­land is an­chored by a sim­i­larly retro farm­house sink set into a counter of maple butcher block.

Cran­ley loved the warmth of the wood, which prompted Doucet to use maple for all the counter spa­ces, then fash­ion the left­over pieces into a se­ries of dis­play shelves for knick-knacks. The penny tile floor re­placed lam­i­nate, the tiles metic­u­lously set to match up with the orig­i­nal oak floor­ing of the din­ing room. Pressed-tin pan­els on the side of the is­land and in a mod­est wall al­cove add whimsy while also re­flect­ing light.

At the end of the two-month ren­o­va­tion, Doucet gifted her thrilled client with two framed pieces of fab­ric — one a vi­brant shade of rasp­berry, the other lime green. They now hang in the din­ing room, some­how the per­fect com­ple­ment to the whites, baby blues, and pale woods of the kitchen. “I don’t know how she did that,” says Cran­ley, shak­ing her head. “I would never have cho­sen those colours, but they just work.”

She de­scribes her new favourite room of the house as happy and cheer­ful. Where she would once cook and run, Cran­ley now finds her­self lin­ger­ing. “I cook here, I eat here, I bring my lap­top down and work here. It’s so bright that I never want to leave.”

By open­ing up the kitchen to the din­ing room, Grass­roots De­sign en­sured that the main win­dow, framed by orig­i­nal shelv­ing, would brighten the en­tire space. Lively and cheer­ful, the two framed fab­ric swatches on the wall were given to the owner by de­signer Emma Doucet as a part­ing gift

The retro-cool stove, man­u­fac­tured by On­tar­i­obased Elmira Stove Works, is avail­able in a num­ber of colours. While Cran­ley’s choice of mint green was on-trend in 1956, candy red (1954), robin’s egg blue (1954), and flamingo pink (1955) are also pop­u­lar choices

Painted a soft baby blue, bead­board frames the Ikea cab­i­netry, adding per­son­al­ity and a pop of colour. The cus­tom maple shelves add a warm el­e­ment and match the coun­ters

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