De­signer Re­becca Hay helps a high school friend up­grade her old- school kitchen


moved into their 1,800-square-foot 1920s-built Toronto home in 2012, they held off ren­o­vat­ing for as long as pos­si­ble. Sure, they pulled up car­pets and painted, but their grow­ing fam­ily (their kids are now four and two) and bud­get re­stric­tions put the ki­bosh on ma­jor up­grades.

“Then in 2015, our oven stopped work­ing and the re­frig­er­a­tor died,” says Karina. “We needed help fast.” So fast she turned to her long-time friend Re­becca Hay. “I was on ma­ter­nity leave when Karina called me,” says the de­signer, “and I came out of it just to help her.”

Re­becca was faced with a 108-square-foot kitchen, last ren­o­vated in the ’50s and fit­ted with mint green cab­i­netry, a tiny orig­i­nal wall oven and fold-down elec­tric burn­ers in place of a stove. More press­ing than the time-cap­sule ap­pear­ance was the lay­out. “It was closed off from the rest of the house, and it had a large drafty

De­signer Re­becca Hay helps a high school friend up­grade her old-school kitchen from el­e­men­tary to ad­vanced.

win­dow, three door­ways and very lim­ited stor­age space,” says Re­becca. “The flow wasn’t func­tional for a young fam­ily.”

The makeover de­manded struc­tural changes, in­clud­ing clos­ing in that drafty win­dow on the back wall (the range sits there now), knock­ing down a wall to open the kitchen to the din­ing room and re­lo­cat­ing the base­ment door to the front en­try­way to gain an en­tire wall for cab­i­netry. Re­becca’s fin­ishes for the new space chan­nelled the look Karina and Bryan de­sired – airy with a nod to tra­di­tional. That in­cluded cus­tom Shaker-style cab­i­netry to max­i­mize stor­age space, full­sized stain­less steel ap­pli­ances and a mar­ble-tiled back­splash, which in­spired the soft pal­ette. More im­por­tantly, the room now flows for this fam­ily of four.

Asked to grade the trans­for­ma­tion, Karina says, “Thanks to Re­becca, our kitchen is now fam­ily-friendly, prac­ti­cal and beau­ti­ful.” Sounds like an A+ re­sult!

LEFT The kitchen feels clas­sic and cur­rent. “It was im­por­tant that we mod­ern­ize the space with­out mak­ing it overly trendy,” says home­owner Karina Marcovitch. Cae­sar­stone coun­ter­tops are prac­ti­cal, while a mo­saic mar­ble back­splash and glass-fronted...

ABOVE Af­ter liv­ing with the kitchen’s orig­i­nal tiny wall oven and fold-down burn­ers, the home­own­ers felt full-sized stain­less steel ap­pli­ances were a sen­si­ble splurge. “We were very bud­get-con­scious dur­ing the reno,” says Karina. “The Wolf range was...

DE­SIGN, Re­becca Hay De­signs, re­bec­c­a­hay­de­signs. com; CON­TRACT­ING, TriMa­trix Con­struc­tion; cus­tom CAB­I­NETRY, Oak­dale Kitchens; CAB­I­NETRY HARD­WARE, Up­per Canada Spe­cialty Hard­ware; COUN­TER­TOPS, Cae­sar­stone Canada; BACK­SPLASH TILES, Mar­ble Gran­ite De­pot; APP

LEFT “Be­fore, the kitchen had min­i­mal dys­func­tional stor­age. The up­per cab­i­nets were too shal­low to fit plates, the low­ers so deep that items would get lost,” says Re­becca, who opted for mostly draw­ers in the new kitchen and added a full-height pantry...

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