The Soul of Your Home
By Lisa Renzetti
Our home is our sanctuary, our safe place. Amongst these scary times, I think we are realizing that, and forced to deal with it because we are spending so much time there these days. Instead of fleeing to other countries for a mental break from “reality” people are starting to invest in their own homes, finally realizing the value of them, and wanting to feel good about them. Your home is now your reality, and the importance of keeping it clean and organized is a reflection of how you are feeling inside. If you are feeling torn, exhausted or worn-out your surrounds will reflect that. So if you are going to now invest in your home, I recommend beginning with the soul of it all, and the rest will fall into place.
The soul of the house, the place where families gather every day, the place where they actually spend time together and speak to one another, and (in better times) the hot zone for dinner parties or get togethers with friends and family, is the Kitchen! Let’s face it we all like our food (and vino), and where better to enjoy those things than in our kitchens, which in my opinion, is the best word ever..."KITCHEN". But where to start? A master plan is so important to establish first. If it's feasible, I recommend to clients to drop a function or room in their home that they don’t often use, for example a living room, so that the kitchen can be expanded upon, and be the focal point of your home. Expansion can be a lot of work, interruption, and expense, it may even involve moving some structural walls in some cases, but every home is different, and in the end worth it.
When designing your kitchen, symmetry is harmony. You should first decide your "focal wall" and then try to design millwork symmetrically around it so that your eye is forced to focus on where you want it to. For me, it’s all about the hood fan. She is the shining star, or best actress, of the kitchen. Everything else is a supporting actress, and becomes secondary. Where possible, and affordable to clients, I create custom hood fan designs. If there is room I try to eliminate some upper cabinets so that they don’t touch the hood canopy. The star needs to breath and be surrounded by a stunning backsplash that goes right up to the ceiling, accentuating the height of the room.
Islands are also important, and should be created where ever possible to have a completely functional workspace. Islands should be no deeper than 60 inches, but should be as long as the space will allow. Once that slab is laid down on your island your heart will sing. If the island is longer than 16 feet, you may have to do a book-match with your slab, depending on the slab size. Otherwise, consider a double island for double the pleasure!! Clients love this concept for entertaining because one section becomes their "prep zone", and the other their "party zone", allowing guests to stay in the kitchen, but out of the prep area.
Countertops are key. Natural stone, like granite or quartzite, is preferable as they are the most durable and non penetrable, but they are the most costly. Marbles may have a more desirable look, but are porous and can stain. However, these are the characteristics that people appreciate of a natural beauty and age of the marble. Although, they are now coming out with protective wraps and chemically treated marbles to avoid this issue. If you want the look of marble, without the worry, then engineered quartz stone is what I usually guide clients towards.
Cabinet colours and materials, are also an important feature in giving your kitchen the look and feel you desire. White oak is very popular right now, and I love the luxurious, warm feel it gives to the space. Combine that with a painted mdf, thin profile shaker cabinet and you’ve got yourself a modern look with a traditional feel. Also, pair your cabinets with warm brown metals and hardware. Nowadays, anything goes so don't be afraid to mix! You can never go wrong with rose golds, coppers or champagne bronzes. We call this transitional, classy with an old world vibe.
Whenever possible, hide your appliances by incorporating them into the cabinetry and millwork. This way the focus is only on the visible range or range top, which would be part of your "focal wall".
Last, but not least, the flooring! I always suggest that the less change in flooring materials throughout the space, the bigger your home will feel. Therefore, don’t be afraid to place hardwood in your kitchen, especially if you are putting a brand new flooring throughout the rest of your house, so the flooring is consistent. I recommend a matte finish, as a shine finish will show more water marks, and a wide plank engineered floor. Engineered flooring is better quality and any hardwood must be engineered if it’s wider than 5 inches. A 7 to 9 inch wide plank is popular now, and a natural solid wood may begin to warp or shrink and expand with the climate changes if it’s over 5 inches wide. When clients ask me whether I recommend porcelain or hardwood, my first choice is always hardwood. It’s gives a warm look to the space. If you worry about dings and cuts from dropping things, then a great carpet runner will add a nice layer of protection and softness. If you have an existing hardwood floor butting up against your kitchen, that you are not changing, then a new blend porcelain, similar to the tone of the hardwood, will help transition your space from one room to the other, as it’s often difficult to match colours exactly.
If you decide that now is the time to do some renovations, I recommend consulting with an interior designer to help with all the planning stages and provide you with ideas, suggestions, guidance and knowledge throughout the entire process. Designers help set the trends and make decision making easier for you!
Hope this has been helpful and insightful!
About the Author
Lisa Renzetti is an Interior Designer and registered member of ARIDO, with over 25 years of experience in the Interior Design Industry. She attended Ryerson University where she graduated with a BAA in Interior Design. In 2005, Lisa ventured off and began her own company, Big Style Design (BSD). Here she broadened her scope of services and began her love for residential design. Her portfolio escalated to upscaled high end clientele with projects in locations such as Nassau, Bahamas. Learn more about Lisa and the beautiful projects she has completed by visiting her website: https://www.bigstyledesign.ca/