Ikea Kitchen

Gails' Kitchen: Sneak Peek

I don't think most people realize how much time will elapse from the day they decide to take on a renovation project to the day you can actually move your belongings back into the space, including all your own personal touches, and,,, begin living in it.   It can take even longer for the final finishing touches to be put in place and for those much dreamed about "after" photos to be taken.  Gail's kitchen was a project I started in January 2010, you can read all about the project and see before photos here, design drawings here , site progress here, and here. The project involved the renovation of not only her kitchen but an adjoining mud room and family room.   Construction wrapped up 10 months after my initial meeting with Gail, and just in time for her to use her brand new kitchen for Thanksgiving 2010.  But even at that point there was still a short list (ok, she might have called it a long list) of small details still to be completed. 

Flash forward almost a year later and I've finally had the chance to return to Gail's and take some 'after' photos.  (This could have happened sooner but coordinating shoots like this in the summer months is just too challenging.)  Its been an amazing experience to return all these months later and see Gail still gushing over her new kitchen like it was just revealed to her yesterday - she's literally giddy with disbelief and excitement that this is 'her' kitchen.  Its so satisfying to me to see the pure joy on her face when she's in this space and to listen to her tell me of all the parties and special meals that have been experienced.

Having any of my projects professionally photographed, or even photographed by myself, requires a huge investment of my own time (and money!) as well as the complete cooperation of the homeowner.  In all honesty its a challenge to find this time.   It can also take a couple of months to get into a photographer 's schedule depending what time of year it is.  Once scheduled,  prior to a shoot I'll spend a day picking up fresh flowers and food accessories and then I'll spend the next day at the house making sure everything is in place and camera ready.   The third day is spent at the house overseeing the shoot.  Did I mention,,,,,,,these after photos,,, require a huge amount of time!!??  

I was thrilled to work with the super talented photographer Donna Griffith just two weeks ago photographing 'after' photos of Gail's kitchen project.  I don't even have the final photos yet but I thought I'd share a sneak peek at some of the beautiful details that have come to life from all those design sketches and visions I had in my head almost two years ago.  Its a huge room and these images are literally a small 'peek',  capturing only a fraction of the complete space.

Please note the images below are just a few of my own candid shots, not the photographers.

Here you can truly see the beauty and character of hand made subway tile.

As Donna said when she arrived,,,,"I just want to sit down and have breakfast".  I bought the topiaries to dress the table but everything else I set out on the table belongs to Gail.

A huge oversize lantern I had custom made for the two story space. 

Even a year later the timing still wasn't ideal.  There was a construction crew working on the pool deck in the backyard but they were so accommodating every time we asked them to move their tools out of view! 

All Photos:  Carol Reed

Photographer: Mark Burstyn

The studio of photographer Mark Burstyn (Iphone photo by me).

I had the pleasure of meeting the very talented Toronto photographer Mark Burstyn this week while working together on a project (I'll tell you more about that in a future post).  With over 20 years of experience Mark has an impressive client list and a stunning portfolio of food, interiors, exteriors and product photography.   Although I'm completely captivated by his images, I was totally smitten with his bright loft studio and the way it was so stylishly outfitted.  It was flooded with natural daylight and had all the comforts of home, designed to accommodate every need of his varied clients.

Upon entering the loft I was crazy for this little vignette seen in the photo above.  I rarely meet a vintage chair I don't love, and this one was no exception, its simple retro lines upholstered in robins egg blue made quite a statement paired with the framed b&w photo. The powder room was located to the right of the chair and the inside of the bathroom was painted this same cheery shade of blue, it just made you smile when you walked in.  (Sorry I didn't take more pictures!)

The studio's kitchen area.

I couldn't resist sharing this photo with you of the studio's kitchen and dining area - its a complete working kitchen with full size appliances and outfitted with all the necessities, Mark keeps it fully stocked with lots of goodies, you can't help but feel a little spoiled when you're there. : )   The kitchen is by Ikea, including the furniture but I thought it was a really good example of a non-customized Ikea kitchen,,there are no extra bells and whistles like custom fabricated counters or custom paint finishes or gables or brackets.  The kitchen itself is spacious with a huge island, double height cabinets and loads of storage space.  The lower cabs are stainless, the uppers are glass with aluminum trim, the countertops solid oak, (steel + wood + glass +white). The lighting was well planned with nothing overlooked, I can imagine how beautifully lit this would be in the evening.  Its simple, utilitarian looking and super functional - it perfectly suits this raw loft space.   Of course my favorite part of the entire kitchen,,,,,,are Mark's framed photographs.

I'm always repeating that it doesn't matter how expensive or inexpensive the things in your space are, that's not what defines good design or good taste.  When you're in a well appointed space (every need has been though of) that's highly functional, pleasing to the eye and is filled with wonderful light, you feel a level of comfort and ease that's hard to depict in a photo.  In other words your experience in the space is enhanced - I believe that's ultimately what everyone wants to achieve in their own homes.

If you're craving a dose of stylish inspiration this long weekend, pour yourself a cup of hot tea, and have a browse thru Mark's gorgeous portfolio here - I'm sure you'll recognize some of his work.  Enjoy!

Chair Photo:  Carol Reed
Kitchen Photo:  Mark Burstyn