Our ancestors considered the hearth as the focus point of their homes. It was where people cooked and enjoyed their food. Its fires warmed them and gave them light to read or enjoy other activities after the sun went down.
Despite the massive changes in the way we live during the last century, the kitchen remains everyone’s favourite room.
People are drawn to its warmth and pleasant smells. No one has to worry about spilling something on the furniture or carpet. Children like to do their homework at the kitchen table before or after dinner. It is the room where the loudest jokes are told during a party.
The owners of a newly renovated home in the university area of the city made sure their kitchen and dining areas were inviting for family and friends to enjoy good food, fun times and to just hang out.
A brick fireplace is the anchor on the main floor. The divider between the eating and living areas, the fireplace is a focal point and a nod to the history of the home. It is one of the few things remaining from the original building, a camp built on Ramsey Lake more than 50 years ago.
The owners, Karen and Greg, have roots in Sudbury and were living in southern Ontario when they decided to come home. The couple and their two beautiful daughters enjoy outdoor sports in all seasons, so they were attracted to this prime location that has a sandy beach. In the winter, they can hop on their snowmobiles and be across the lake in minutes.
They took possession of the home—2,000 square feet of living space on the main floor and about 1,000 square feet of finished space on the lower level on a half acre property—last June.
They had definite ideas about how they wanted to transform the building including tearing out walls to make small rooms larger and to create modern open-concept spaces. Toppazini Construction did the major renovations which included removing walls, replacing windows, adding a new furnace, tearing out the kitchen, and installing whitewash hardwood flooring.
The house was ready to move into just before Thanksgiving. But there was still work to be done. Anne Marie McNamara of Chill Interiors was contacted to help make the house reflect the family’s personal style.
“I work with what the clients have,” to pull a room together, McNamara said.
In this case, the clients had all the basics. She looked at their furniture and accessories with fresh eyes and was able to arrange them in new ways.
For example, the owners had two tangerine faux suede couches McNamara suggested large brown satin pillows as accents to warm up the living room as well as complement the dark brown cabinetry in the kitchen. The addition of aqua accents “snap” the room together.
“Colour is the most important thing in decorating, said McNamara, who helped the owners select wall colours.
“But you have to know when to stop adding (accent) colour, otherwise it will look like a circus tent.”
The owners selected neutral earth tones for their walls. The main living areas and hall are painted Benjamin Moore’s Huntington Beige, the trim is Monterey White.
The walls on the right side of the hall were painted a lighter shade to open up the space, said McNamara.
The long narrow hall leads to the master suite, the children’s bedrooms, the main bathroom, and the laundry room. Rain glass doors on bedroom and bathroom doors also allow light into the hallway.
The couple took out walls between two bedrooms to create a private spa. There are no doors on the ensuite bath but the use of glass block shower system and toilet allow for privacy, while letting the sunshine in.
The bedroom walls are painted Nantucket Grey which has a sage green tone. The colour is cool, refreshing and inviting, like the sea.
Great view of lake
The living areas of the home on the main floor all have great views of the lake. Double glass doors lead from the kitchen/dining area to an outdoor deck.
A door leads from the kitchen to the garage where the family enjoys barbecuing throughout the year. The garage currently serves as the “mud room,” and there is a large built-in closet in the kitchen to hold coats and boots.
Chocolate brown kitchen cabinets and a large granite covered island with cooktop, built-in microwave and dishwasher were custom built by a St. Charles cabinet maker. Stainless steel appliances balance the dark cabinetry.
The family eats many meals at the island, but they also have a formal dining table that is used for special meals and entertaining. A large floor-to-ceiling mirror is placed against the backside of the fireplace and it defines the dining space.
McNamara helped to select a contemporary chandelier hung by hydraulic cable.
The owners of this impressive property are still working on their plans. McNamara will be consulted on window treatments.
“If I don’t have it in my store, we sometimes go shopping,” said McNamara.
Many of the discussions she has with the owners about plans for the home’s decor take place in the kitchen, the gathering place of this modern home.