Photography: Ricardo Teixeira
Styling: Erika Dela Cruz
The contrast of crisp white surfaces against natural copper and wood was the key to updating a small kitchen in the Toronto home of Mira and Michael Kolm and their two young children.
“The kitchen is the centre of our home; it is our gathering place,” says Mira, who lived with an outdated traditional look for about seven years before approaching designer Erika dela Cruz, owner of O.NIX Design Boutique, for an update that would accommodate family meals and homework times. “We were looking for something more modern that reflected our lifestyle and aesthetic,” she says.
There were several challenges. All the walls were load-bearing, so there was no flexibility in the floor plan. Built-in columns stole usable space from three of four corners. Also, the family wanted to add an island, so the redesign called for maximum ingenuity.
“A white, modern kitchen was the main goal,” says dela Cruz. “Another objective was to increase their storage space.” She worked collaboratively with Mira and Michael in choosing finishes and fixtures, including the contrasting finishes of German-made Störmer cabinetry. The high-gloss “Snow White” lacquer provides a fresh, clean finish in most of the room, while the “Thermo Pine” structured laminate, which features strong horizontal wood-look bands varying from blonde to chocolate, gives character to a capacious storage wall.
Dela Cruz also incorporated storage space into the central island. Using sleek heavy-duty drawer slides by German manufacturer Blum, she was able to install very large drawers. Everyday dishes are stored low for convenience and ergonomic efficiency, and cutlery nestles in elegant Italian walnut inserts by Barredo. The handle-free drawers are opened with wrap-around aluminum grooves.
The focal feature of the island is an arresting L-shaped floating bar designed by O.NIX and fabricated from parota wood by Of Earth Furniture. “It was exposed from the living room side,” dela Cruz says. “So we recommended introducing wood tones into the island to connect to all the wood in the rest of the room.”
Other finishes were kept simple. The flooring is a marble-look porcelain tile from Rivalda, while the countertops and backsplash are Caesarstone’s neutral “Statuario Maximus” tiles, which were extended into the adjacent bathroom to offer visual continuity between the two spaces.
Against this peaceful backdrop, touches of colour that express the family’s personality come to the fore. Mira fell in love with Tom Dixon’s pendant lights, so a trio of outspoken copper bells overhangs the island, while a less assertive white geometric lamp lights the sink area.
Dela Cruz created spaces for Mira’s treasured tableware and glass art. A glass-fronted cabinet in the storage wall is illuminated with energy-efficient, built-in LED strip lighting that lies flush to the cabinet interior. “There’s an aluminum pofile attached to it, which gives a glow to all of the glass shelves, but without glare,” she says.
The project was “like a journey that we went on together,” says Mira. “The kitchen was functional before, but now it’s inspiring, both aesthetically and functionally.” •
O.NIX Design Boutique Kitchens & Living