Empty Nesters Get Their Dream Kitchen & Laundry.
By the time the kids leave home, it’s probably safe to say your nest has seen better days.
Once the dust settles, you’ll find there are areas of much-loved (and well-worn) home that could use a significant transformation— rooms thats could work harder for your needs and new lifestyle. Stouffville, Ontario.-based designer Cynthia Soda offers three tips to help create a more functional space once your brood is no longer under your roof.
PLAN AND COMMUNICATE
Take time to figure out what you need and want, and what you’re ready to get rid of — this will help the designer prioritize your budget and give you better insight into what a successful end result will look like. Our clients, for example, told us they were tired of feeling closed in and wanted a more open-concept space that would feel light and uncluttered. The rooms in their suburban home were sectioned off, making the space feel more closed in. Knocking down walls and adding to the family’s living room made for easier access between the kitchen and dining area—a major bonus for the couple, who enjoy entertaining. They also ended up with a brighter space overall, thanks to natural light flooding in from the back windows.
GO FOR UTILITY
With a more open kitchen, we had to ensure there was enough room to prepare and cook meals, as well as a spot for guests to enjoy a glass of wine or a cup of coffee. We decided to include a bar and prep area, which acts as a go-between zone for those sitting in the adjacent living room and in the eat-in kitchen. We also opted for an island for added counter space and tucked a waste station into the cabinets below to keep the area mess-free. The couple asked for double ovens to make cooking for their growing family a breeze. (They’re now able to do a lot of baking when their grandkids visit.)
The laundry room was also in need of a remodel. With fewer people in the house, and fewer loads of laundry being done, it was time to streamline the area. We agreed to stack the washing machine and dryer, which not only made the room feel less cluttered, but it also created space for storage above the washer. When we found out the couple had never used the side-entry door, we converted it to a more functional picture window.
Yes, a coat of paint can work wonders. The redesign lent itself to an airy, beachy feel, so we brought in a calming pale blue-grey in the kitchen (behind the open cabinet shelves and in the island), which picked up the grey veins in the marble countertops and tiled backsplash. The same colour was used in the laundry room’s custom built-in cabinetry.
Cynthia Soda is the principal interior designer and owner of Soda Pop Design Inc., in Stouffville, Ont. She’s all about customization and character in her work, and “successfully merges her clients’ lifestyle, personality and architecture” in order to tell unique stories. Soda and her team offer renovation and design services for residential clients in the Greater Toronto Area.
PICTURES AND WORDS CYNTHIA SODA