Style at Home
Building a Legacy
Drawing on the Georgian architecture of their heritage home, one couple redesigns their kitchen for the 21st century.
Designer Carly Nemtean and her husband Itay Joshua, who is an architect, faced a unique challenge when overhauling the kitchen of their 1825 heritage home in Richmond Hill, Ontario. They desperately needed space for storage, prep and entertaining, but the redesign also had to complement the home’s gracious Georgian architecture. They opted to carefully remove a wall, which opened up the kitchen to the dining room, enhanced sight lines and captured the eastern morning light. From there, they made thoughtful design choices rooted in what Carly calls a refined “contemporary Georgian” style. The resulting space bridges the centuries sensitively, and works for their young family.
Razing the wall created a spacious multifunctional hub perfect for designer Carly Nemtean, her husband Itay Joshua, and their daughter Sadie, 10 months old. “We have more flexibility and use the dining room much more,” says Carly, who loves the enlarged storage and prep spaces. “Being able to spread out and enjoy the space is a major bonus.”
A nod to Georgian symmetry,
Itay designed a feature wall of tidy panel moulding to dress up the dining area. “We realized it looks most interesting painted in a dualcolour finish,” Carly says. Built of red oak, the island, too, was panelled, making it look like a piece of antique furniture. Other periodfriendly details include the giltframed painting, cast-iron sink, olive coloured oak cabinetry and the bold mustard tone of the wallpaper. “It’s a rich punch of colour to balance the muddier neutral tones,” Carly says.
Disguise & Display
The new design cleverly camouflages eyesores and plays up assets. Two essential heating ducts are disguised in tall cabinets panelled in reeded glass for a light look. Similarly, the stove’s alcove surround hides a brick chimney that had to stay put. On the plus side, character windows in the breakfast nook are on full display and left uncovered to max out natural light. “We have lots of privacy out there in the backyard, so we decided not to block the light or the original pane windows.”
Contemporary pieces like the rugged dining table and chairs, stainless-steel appliances and hammered-metal dome pendants contrast the traditional elements. “For consistency, we maintained square lines and edge profiles where we could,” Carly (pictured right) explains. Extending the kitchen countertop into the dining area is another move to establish continuity. “It’s one room, so keep it consistent,” she says. Refinishing the old hardwood flooring and infilling where necessary helped preserve the authentic look and kept costs down.
In the Details
Adding little extras is often what makes us love our kitchens.
For Itay, it’s the coffee bar (opposite, bottom left). “He’s a bit of a coffee snob. He’s pretty regimented with his morning routine, so he really wanted a designated area for our grinder, French press, cups, etc.,” Carly says. She loves the open shelves for the texture they add and the display possibilities they afford. Her treasures here include everything from family heirlooms to second-handshop finds. Carly’s styling tip: “For interest, vary short and tall items, and add height by stacking books or bowls.”