Cottage Bungalow - Update

Kitchen in progress.

On a personal note its been a crazy month and a half for me as my life has been split between two provinces -  me in Toronto, BF in Nova Scotia, packing up one house and office in Toronto and moving into (while renovating!) another in Nova Scotia.  Between travelling back and forth, sharing one computer and not having any service on my web phone for the past 6 weeks meant that my blogging and tweeting was seriously neglected.  So now that we're finally both in one place (Nova Scotia) and we have most of our technical challenges sorted out,,,I'm just gonna jump right back in where I left off!

My last visit to the cottage bungalow project was a chance to oversee some of the finishing details and address any last minute oversights or changes that needed to be done prior to move in.   It definitely doesn't look like it from the photos below but the homeowners were scheduled to move in just a couple of weeks after this visit.

Kitchen in progress.

I love how the kitchen is flooded with sunlight, the extra high ceilings and the sculptural effect of the articlating light over the sink.  The fridge is still covered in protective plastic, the floors are still covered up and the back wall of the kitchen is awaiting its custom stainless steel hood and stainless back splash.

Kitchen in progress.

The custom side panels for the island were being installed later this same day, so far I was extremely happy with the proportions of the island.  We're contemplating raising the pendants one rod length - with threaded rods we can't get them exactly the height we want so we work with the rod lengths provided, here they're shown installed at their longest.  After the range hood is installed we'll make the final call.  You can view some concept sketches and the finish boards and the rest of the kitchen design in this previous post.

Kitchen sink and faucet.

This time I lost the battle of the kitchen sink.  Despite my preference and recommendation for a large single bowl sink in this layout, the homeowner wanted a sink and a half and there was no changing her mind.  Plan B was a custom designed sink and a half with small radius corners and deep bottoms, but this eventually was vetoed for an in-stock, ready made version, shown above.  In this close-up photo its deceiving but there is a wide 5"+  trough behind the counter to accommodate the low window.  The counter continues wrapping down the back of the kitchen sink and across to the wall/window.  Despite the off centre sink divider, I opted to install the faucet on centre with the overall width of the sink which would keep it on centre with both the window and the sink cabinet.  

Flooring throughout.

The floors throughout the entire house except for the washrooms are a beautiful wide plank, european white oak in a subtle grey wash with an oiled finish.  This was the first time I had actually seen any part of the floor uncovered since their installation and the only room I was able to admire them in was the master bedroom.  I couldn't resist taking off my shoes to get the full experience, they feel like butter under your feet!

Dining Room fixture.

A black dome pendant makes a modern statement in the dining room.

Hallway to Bedrooms.

The main hall that links the front living spaces to the bedrooms and bathrooms.  The long series of glass doors lead out to a large patio and flood the hall with light.  The white on white scheme continues here with a series of white semi-flush barn lights along the ceiling.  I love the pattern the sunlight creates on the floor.

Guest Bathroom in progress.

One of two guest bathrooms.  On this day the vanity had just been installed so you can still see a temporary support on the underside of it.  The bathroom is a good example of the pure simplicity the homeowners desired, the room is completely tiled (but one wall) in matte white 12" square tiles.  The shower drain is a recessed trough so the floor is continuous. A piece of original artwork to the left of the mirror will be the showpiece of the room, and a selection of a few well chosen accessories will give it the finishing touch.  Well that, and a pair of wall lights!  Although the end result looks simple, I can tell you this was one of the most time consuming bathrooms I've ever detailed,,,,the alignment of everything was painstaking. 

Master Bedroom.

The master bedroom has beautiful views to what will be the back garden.  You get a glimpse of the gorgeous grey washed oak floors and the effect of the oiled finish, its beautiful here with pale silver walls and crisp white trim.  One of my all time favorites, the Ball fan, (its one of 3 in the house) will help balance the air flow of the vaulted ceiling. 

Master Ensuite in progress.

The master ensuite is a continuation of white on white simplicity.  A floating quartz stone vanity counter spans the room from one end to the other, the same matte white 12" tile is used on floors and shower walls as was used in the guest bath.   The wall space above the tub is reserved for a colourful, large scale canvas painting by the homeowner.

Master Ensuite Vanity in progress.

This is the top half of a white lacquered storage cabinet being installed over the countertop, it will have a divider down the centre and a pair of tall doors, each one opening to either sink for his and hers.  A lower section of cabinetry with 2 deep drawers will be installed directly below this.

The view of the master bedroom as you exit the ensuite.

As I mentioned in previous posts about this project, the homeowners have an extensive collection of antiques and artwork (she's an artist) so the intent of this white on white, clean lined interior was to provide a canvas for their pieces.   I am thrilled with the progress thus far and how all the design details and decisions have turned out.  I can't wait to see the fireplaces completed and their furnishings moved into this new space, we will be filling in with some new purchases too.   If I don't get a chance to visit again before Christmas, my next photo update will have to wait until spring as these homeowners will be heading to Florida for the winter.  

All Photos by:   Carol Reed

Cottage Bungalow: Kitchen

Kitchen concept board

I began designing a cottage bungalow project  back in January for some past clients. The house is located a couple hours north of Toronto in the 4 season resort town of Collingwood.  For them its a third home and will be used as a summer residence.  The house is a near century old cottage style bungalow that’s lost all of its historic charm over the years as you can see from some of the original photos below, and then how it looked when my clients purchased it.

The top photo shows the bungalow probably in the 50's (?) clad in the original wood siding which eventually was bricked over and had a cement porch added.  The second photo above is what the front of the house looked like when my clients purchased it last fall.

Front exterior mid-June.  The old brick has been removed and the entire house is newly cald in wood siding (white of course!).

The size of the house is deceiving from the photos, its quite deep and also has a separate detached large garage.  The scope of work involves a complete interior gut as well as a rear addition with a new master suite and a new side patio/covered porch area linking the house with the detached garage.  I inherited the project after the Architect had done the initial base plans including the new addition and the proposed new interior layout.  I started the interior design plans by doing some tweeking to the kitchen, below you can see the initial plan I started with and the final plan below.

This plan was prepared by the Architect's office and was used to get the permit process moving forward, and the new addtition started asap.  The kitchen used to be located in the rear of the house (you can see a bit of in the plan view above shown in dotted lines).  The new layout brings it to the front section of the original house, adjoining the other living areas.  The rear section of the house will house the bedrooms and the new kitchen location will overlook the new side patio outdoor living area.

The initial issues I addressed with the layout was the location of the cooktop, (in front of a window) and also the large amount of space between the front and back counters that this created.  It was a huge amount of workspace for a couple who don't cook a lot and also I wasn't fond of the upper cabinets over the pennisula.

Above is the final kitchen layout I prepared for them.  Its a straight line layout which I personally find to be the most efficient (range, sink, dw, fridge all in a line) with an island in front.  I eliminated the built-in wall ovens and gained back that counterspace for the main work wall, then was able to place a range to the left of the window.  The island will be great additional counter space, and will house pots, pans, recycling, dishware and a microwave.  It will be all one height with counter seating - great for casual daily meals and for entertaining. There will be no upper cabinets at all, the kitchen will be low and open, emphasizing the extra high ceilings,  with lots of wall space for the clients art collection.  I think we achieved better flow and a more efficient work zone.
The original part of the house where the new kitchen is located has wonderful high 11’ ceilings, the old windows were replaced with new to replicate the original 6 over 6 style.  We positioned a new window above the sink which overlooks the outdoor dining area but instead of having it installed above the counter height, it was installed at the same height as all the existing windows so its actually lower the kitchen counter.  This creates continuity with the window alignment (inside and out) and gives the sense the window has always been there.  To accommodate this, I made the counters extra deep at 30”, and created a trough space where the countertop drops down behind the sink, in front of the window.  This little trough can be a great spot for potted  herbs.   With an extra deep counter the double hung window over the sink won’t be easy to open but even knowing this, my clients opted to go this route anyway rather than switch this one window to a casement style. 

My client is an artist with a desire for all white interiors and clean lined architectural details.  She has amassed a large collection of oversize, very colourful paintings along with some interesting antiques and family heirlooms that will be beautifully shown off in the all white space, almost gallery style.  Although she loves clean modern lines, she also has an appreciation for heritage style details and it was important to them to see the character charm of the house be brought back to life and referenced in a fresh way.

Below are a couple of elevations showing the design concept for the kitchen.......

The kitchen cabinets themselves are non-custom, but the rest of the kitchen has lots of custom detail such as; a custom full height stainless steel backsplash, custom designed s.s. chimney hood, custom fabricated quartz countertops, customized panelled sides on the island, and custom made pantry doors made from antique wood.  With no upper cabinets at all, the kitchen will evoke a spare simplicity.

Selecting all the fixtures and finishes was all about balance and instinct - how to mix interior and architectural styles without it looking like a mish-mash?  For the best balance I'll always use an 80-20 rule.  Then give or take. Going with my own instincts for where to stray from this.   In this decidedly contemporary interior, deciding how or where to use rustic or country elements takes some thoughtful planning and a restrained approach.

Like the rest of the interior, I designed the white on white on white kitchen with a dose of modern lines and a pinch of vintage/industrial country.  The white cabinets and nickel hardware are clean and contemporary, as is the stainless steel hood and backsplash but the wide plank floor has a rustic patina with a weathered grey wash.  The white quartz counters are made from the newest technology but the large visible aggregate in this one reminds me of concrete which gives the kitchen a more relaxed vibe.  The faucet is a modern take on a bridge style faucet  (its a stunner!) and will sit in front of the classic 6 over 6 window.  Suspended from the extra high ceiling (unadorned, free from crown moulding) will be a pair of oversized white barn pendants highlighting the island.  An antique nickel swing arm lamp will be mounted over the sink window to provide some additional task lighting, (and another pair of these will be mounted on the Living Room side of the same wall to highlight a gallery wall of artwork above the stairs).  To contrast all the white and stainless steel, the pantry doors will be custom made from reclaimed wood, left in their natural colour.  
I’m looking foward to another visit to the house next week to see the countertops and most of the new lighting installed.  Not to mention, I’m anxious to see the nearly completed 3 bathrooms and 2 fireplace designs come to life!

All photos, illustrations and drawings by:  Carol Reed