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before and afterDIYInteriors

Before & After: Creating a Functional, Healing Kitchen in Milton, Ontario

by Lauren Chorpening

Seeing potential in a new house can be challenging. As fun as it is to watch real estate shows where a virtual mock-up of what could be accompanies each home showing, it’s not real life. Even for interior designers and decorators, inspiration isn’t going to come immediately. It takes work to uncover the design possibilities each space holds. For Vanessa Francis, the task was even harder because she and her daughter were moving into a much smaller house after her husband passed away last year.

Vanessa, an interior decorator, purchased a home five months ago in Milton, Ontario. Its smaller footprint compared to her previous house in the same town meant Vanessa had to get creative with utilizing the space well. “Since the home is over a thousand [square] feet smaller than our previous home, it was a challenge to lay out the furniture, especially in the open-concept living and dining room which runs parallel to the kitchen,” Vanessa explains. She started imagining and redesigning the space to serve her and daughter Maya well. “I really wanted the home to be more us and have our stamp on it. It was a typical builder home with next to no upgrades and it felt dark and sad. I wanted to lighten and pretty it up for my daughter and me. I know it sounds corny, but I wanted our new home to be a peaceful and happy haven for us after our devastating loss.” For the kitchen, that meant white cabinets, glass upper cabinets and a large blue island with plenty of room for Maya to do homework or for dinner guests to congregate.

Scraping the ceiling, installing new flooring, painting the walls and the cabinet installation all happened in three weeks before Vanessa and Maya moved in. “When we first saw the home, all the walls were a dark grey, the kitchen cabinets were dark brown and there was a combination of dark laminate and cheap floor tiles throughout the space. I wanted to brighten and simplify the space. Getting the shell right — floors, walls and ceiling — was important,” Vanessa shares. Once they moved in, Vanessa finished the kitchen remodel with drapes, stools and accessories. The kitchen before the makeover was short on counter space and cabinets because of a small eat-in dining area competing for square footage. Vanessa knew that expanding her workspace, increasing the pantry size and creating a more beautiful space would serve her better than an extra eating nook.

The result is a beautifully designed space. The blue-green island, moldings, and built-in look of the wall-to-wall white cabinets give the once dark and cut-off kitchen a new and lovely life. “I am most thankful that my daughter and I have a warm and peaceful home where we can heal and be happy again.” –Lauren

Photography by Ashley Capp

Sources

Counter by Silestone
Faucet by Blanco
Moulding by Metrie
Hardware by Top Knobs

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Vanessa and Maya's kitchen before the remodel was dark and the cabinets only extended into two-thirds of the space for an eat-in area by the window. The after is a much more functional, open and beautiful space.
Before & After: Creating a Functional, Inspiring Kitchen in Milton, Ontario | Design*Sponge
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The kitchen sink and workspace before.
Before & After: Creating a Functional, Inspiring Kitchen in Milton, Ontario | Design*Sponge
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"I love the transformation of the space from dark and basic to bright and luxe. We used a Benjamin Moore off-white on the walls and cabinetry. I love the 8' island which is great for cooking as well as entertaining. It's painted a gorgeous blue green which adds just the right amount of color," Vanessa shares.
Before & After: Creating a Functional, Inspiring Kitchen in Milton, Ontario | Design*Sponge
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Vanessa Francis in her beautiful new kitchen.
Before & After: Creating a Functional, Inspiring Kitchen in Milton, Ontario | Design*Sponge
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"I love the neutral warm quartz counter which mimics marble. It has slight veining and is not too busy," Vanessa says. "It really set the tone for the color palette in the kitchen - warm, neutral tones as seen in the counter, drapes, area rug and large-scale art. It's also more forgiving than marble which is great for a messy cook like me!"
Before & After: Creating a Functional, Inspiring Kitchen in Milton, Ontario | Design*Sponge
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The stunning kitchen is nowhere close to builder basic now. The space feels bigger, brighter and more peaceful for Vanessa and her daughter.
Before & After: Creating a Functional, Inspiring Kitchen in Milton, Ontario | Design*Sponge
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The kitchen island before.
Before & After: Creating a Functional, Inspiring Kitchen in Milton, Ontario | Design*Sponge
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"I am so happy with how the custom island I designed turned out. I didn't want a heavy island so I opted to have less drawers so that the island can have legs. It looks much lighter in the small space," Vanessa says. "I love the custom lights. At first I was worried that they were too big but the scale is just right for the size of the island and the kitchen."
Before & After: Creating a Functional, Inspiring Kitchen in Milton, Ontario | Design*Sponge
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"I love the look of traditional faucets as they add that country charm. I think they can work in most styles of kitchens," Vanessa shares.
Before & After: Creating a Functional, Inspiring Kitchen in Milton, Ontario | Design*Sponge
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"I wanted a place to display art and objects so the open shelves were a must. I also didn't want to have all closed cabinetry so I opted for the glass cabinets," Vanessa says.
Before & After: Creating a Functional, Inspiring Kitchen in Milton, Ontario | Design*Sponge
11/15
The kitchen feels larger now, but everything is still in easy reach. The fridge and range are in identical spots as Vanessa was even able to salvage the cabinets from this side and refinish them. The sink and dishwasher are in new spots but are just feet from where they used to be.
Before & After: Creating a Functional, Inspiring Kitchen in Milton, Ontario | Design*Sponge
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The patio windows before.
Before & After: Creating a Functional, Inspiring Kitchen in Milton, Ontario | Design*Sponge
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"The two pantries side-by-side house all of our food and cookware like mixing bowls, pans and dishes. I really wanted drapes to cover our patio door to bring softness into the room and I just adore this linen fabric," Vanessa explains.
Before & After: Creating a Functional, Inspiring Kitchen in Milton, Ontario | Design*Sponge
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"Every room needs art and this print is a nod to my Indian roots," Vanessa shares.
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Vanessa's new kitchen floor plan.

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