A reasonable renovation
North End kitchen makeover features solid, handcrafted wood furniture at affordable prices
INSTAGRAM OPENED the door to a kitchen renovation for Isabel Matias.
The North End resident, like thousands of others, follows the local design scene on Instagram. It’s an excellent way to see local building, design and renovation projects.
“I’d had a ceiling leak, that’s how it started, and it was the push I needed to renovate the kitchen,” she says.
She’d bought her turn of the century house in 2007, and was slowly updating rooms one by one.
The kitchen was frozen in time, circa 1950, with colour, cabinets and a layout past its best before date. A major component of the new kitchen would be an island to increase working space, add storage and be a place for casual dining. On Instagram, Matias found the island of her dreams and the man who could build it.
“I was following Marcus on social media and I liked his work,” says Matias.
Marcus is Marcus Melo, owner of Kaza Wood Furniture & Accessories (kazawoodfurniture.ca).
When the two met for a consultation, they hit it off. Matias is a good judge of people. The 41-year-old has spent her career in customer service, first on Disney cruise ships for 10 years, then at Delta Hotels and now managing customer experience for her brothers’ software development company. She was looking for someone she could trust who would build a good product and work with her budget.
Melo suggested an island made of Ambrosia maple, with a dark walnut stain. The island included storage on one side, and a leaf on the end that could be raised to seat extra guests for dining.
Matias, a single mom, had budgeted $8,000 to $10,000 for the kitchen reno.
“Marcus saved me money once he heard what I wanted to do,” she says.
She wanted to replace the kitchen cabinets, but a quote for that alone came in at nearly $8,000. Melo suggested painting the interiors and replacing just the doors, a job he ended up doing. He also suggested other trades people tha the had worked with and trusted.
“That was important to me since I was leaving people in the house while I was at work,” Matias says.
So while the price and quality were important to her, so was the philosophy at Kaza Wood Furniture. Melo uses local suppliers, diverts as much as he can from landfill, and is a supporter of the Ontario Wood program and the tree planting initiatives of Forests Ontario.
“I build solid wood furniture at affordable prices, it’s about the experience and relationships as much as the product,” says the 26-year-old, who estimates about 40 per cent of his business comes from Instagram followers. By the spring, Melo plans to have a storefront open in Stoney Creek to display his furniture and accessories. His shop will be in the back.
The $10,000 kitchen renovation took about four months to complete and included drywall, a new backsplash, cabinet doors, lighting, the new $1,500 island and a set of display shelves built by Melo. Matias saved money buying appliances and countertops on clearance and by doing demolition work herself with the help of a brother.
Now, she says, “My daughter and I sit at the beautiful island, look around and say ‘wow.’”
Kaza Wood owner Marcus Melo suggested an island made of Ambrosia maple, with a dark walnut stain. The island includes storage on one side, and a leaf on the end that could be raised to seat extra guests for dining.
Marcus Melo and Isabel Matias in her newly renovated kitchen. The work cost $10,000, took about four months to complete and included drywall, a new backsplash, cabinet doors, lighting, the new $1,500 island and a set of display shelves built by Melo.