Before and After Photos – Springdale


Project Springdale is complete and it’s time to reveal some Before & After shots. Like I said many times before, it’s so rewarding to see your design coming together, seeing what a difference it makes in my clients life.

The kitchen was in much need of a renovation as the previous homeowners had retrofitted the original kitchen in a somewhat “creative” way. It was outdated and in lack of both storage and counter surface. The oak doors were dated and the client was looking for a new fresh white kitchen while still maintaining wood and warmth.

To keep with the clients budget, we decided to work with IKEA cabinetry and then splurge on a nice caesarstone countertop.


The original layout had a dividing wall, separating the kitchen from the dining room. We opened that one up to allow for a brighter and larger kitchen. When the house was renovated years ago, the previous owner decided to maintain the original exterior wall between the addition and the original house. Even the door and window was kept in place. In order to achieve a better layout and flow for the kitchen, we demolished part of that wall and  removed the door and window. A beautiful birch framed picture window was added Instead which now allows for natural light from the back to reach into the kitchen while still maintaining the separation between spaces which the client requested.




Before and After Photos – Project Richmond Hill


I’ve meant to share this before and after shot for quite some time now, and then life came in between and I never got around to it. Well solstice happened the other night and our days are now turning longer and brighter as we go, so what better time than to share this spring / summer inspired kitchen of mine.

This space had quite a transformation, I hope you will be able to appreciate what the new design has done by viewing these before and after photos. The original layout was not working for the homeowners, the island was much too small, the sink and cabinetry behind the half wall dividing the kitchen from the adjacent rooms was an obvious barrier. My client was in high need of storage, counter surfaces and better placement of work stations within the kitchen.

Before and after Foresthill Kitchen


The main change that we implemented into this kitchen, was to open up the kitchen to the adjacent living / family room and sun room. Allowing for the young family to move between spaces, entertaining without space limitation and making the room brighter.

The island was made much larger, allowing space for a large sink, dishwasher, garbage and additional storage. Since the island was enlarged not only in width but also depth, we also allowed room for counter seating which was a priority to my client.

Some architectural changes had to be made in order to achieve the kitchen we wanted. The opening into the kitchen was moved over. This allowed us to create a beautiful cooking presentation, including the existing 36″ wolf range top, 30″ wall ovens, pantry and good size counters for cooking and meal preparation.


Often clients are hesitant to enclose windows in their kitchen, no one wants to prevent from daylight into their space. However in some cases, closing a window is required to build the kitchen of your dreams. In this kitchen we did enclose one window, it was facing the side of the house where my client was storing their garbage and recycling. No one really want’s to stare at those lovely green and blue bins, right? Because of this, we were able to create almost like a second kitchen within the kitchen. Extra deep counters for large appliances, baking or food prep. A prep / bar sink in front of the window, facing the pool. This extra kitchen storage and sink is a perfect place for my client to use while hosting friends and family in their backyard during the summer months.

If you want to see all the photos from this project, please visit the project listed here





Create your Designers Kitchen using IKEA cabinets in 10 steps

New IKEA SEKTION kitchen designed for Jillian Harris at IKEA's House of Kitchens (CNW Group/IKEA Canada)

When I embarked on my first IKEA kitchen design, it was a true struggle. For the past 10 years I have have been working closely with custom mill work companies and have therefore been very spoiled with superb finishes and customizable cabinet sizes. For a designer, being able to customize cabinets to your liking is a true advantage. Working with IKEA’s limited choices of styles, sizes and finishes is challenging, however it forces your creative brain to step up a game.

I would like to guide you with 10 steps on how to achieve your own designer’s kitchen using IKEA kitchen cabinetry. Because don’t we all want our own kitchen to turn out exactly like that Pinterest picture, or those kitchens we saw in the IKEA catalogue? But how do I get there and what do I need to think of?

1: Mixing materials

The whole kitchen doesn’t have to be done with the same colour and the same door style. Perhaps the island, pantry or upper cabinetry would be in a different style. Another option is to introduce a different material and colour in the side panels and toe kick, allowing the cabinets to be framed.

2: Custom doors

Should you really dislike all the door styles and finishes that IKEA has to offer, then invest a little bit more money and have custom doors made out of the material and finish that you want. Here are a few companies that offer this service: Allstyle (Local Toronto based company), Superfront (Amazing doors and design, manufactured in Sweden but ships to Canada), Semihandmadedoors (Made in US and ships to Canada).

3: Source hardware elsewhere

Whatever you do, don’t ever use IKEA’s handles for your doors and drawers: they scream IKEA! There are so many options out there, and nice doesn’t have to be expensive. Source handles from hardware places that specialize in this product. Here are some favorite stores of mine: Berenson, Antique Door and Hardware, The Doors Store,

4: Invest in a Quartz countertop

I would reccomend you not to use IKEA’s countertop surface, faucet or sink. You saved money on the cabinets didn’t you? So go and splurge on a beautiful Quartz countertop such as caesarstone or cambria. Then visit the lovely plumbing store and get yourself a heavy gauge sink (less noisy) and a good quality faucet (one that won’t brake in a couple of years).

5: Invest in good Lighting

The right lighting is so very important for your kitchen. Invest in flush mounted LED lighting. Ask your electrician to route in LED strip lighting below your uppers. Install LED flush mount pot lights in your ceiling (you will never have to change a bulb again).

6: Think out of the box

Since IKEA’s cabinets are built with limited dimensions, it’s important to think out of the box while designing with their product. Perhaps use panels to build yourself some custom sized open shelves, stack cabinets for a taller kitchen, add legs on a top cabinet and make it into bench seating, order custom legs and eliminate the kick for a floating appearance. These are only a few suggestions off the top of my head to get your mind working. Keep brainstorming, sketch and figure out a way to make the space work.

7: Hire a professional

Yes you can design and install your IKEA kitchen yourself. However I would highly recommend that you hire a professional to help you out. It will save you money, time and perhaps even your relationship… I’m not kidding! Do you know that all those IKEA cabinets need to be assembled in addition to installing them?

8: IKEA kitchen sales event

If you luck out and buy your IKEA kitchen during one of their IKEA kitchen sales event. Save those gift cards and use them to purchase inserts and drawer dividers later on. You might not know until the kitchen is installed, what you actually need.

9: IKEA will store your kitchen

Did you know that you can actually visit IKEA, order your kitchen and they will store your kitchen order for $45/week? That means you can actually go in, buy it and have it ready for delivery when your contractor is.

10: Have fun

Remember to have fun while planning your IKEA kitchen. The end result should be your happy place where family gathers, parties are hosted, and delicious meals are enjoyed. Should you require assistance and help into creating the space you want, contact me and I would love to be your helping hand in all of this.

(Image Source: IKEA Canada for Jillian Harris home)

Open Concept Living – Is it for me?

open concept

In the last few years there has been a trend to move away from traditionally planned enclosed kitchen with a separate dining room, to a open concept / dining / living space. Now I often hear the question, is this functional and is this for me?

In order to decide if open concept living is for you, I want to suggest that you do some thinking and read the scenarios I have presented below. These in combination with careful planning will help you come up with a layout that is perfect for your family and you.

Is an open concept kitchen / dining / living for me?

– Open concept kitchen will often have the sink visible from the rest of the space. Unless you are a very clean cook, often the messy kitchen is left to be dealt with post dinner time. How do you feel about seeing the signs of cooking while enjoying your meal?

– Open concept dining / kitchen creates a less formal dining experience, does this work for you?

– should a TV be used in the family area, the sound will transfer throughout the space, is that ok?

– How many family members are you? Larger family might benefit from a open concept since there will be more space.

– Do you have young children? Open concept will allow you to watch them while cooking.

– Do you entertain a lot? An open concept space will allow you to entertain larger groups and isn’t it true that the party always ends up in the kitchen anyway!

– What type of food do you cook? Perhaps it would be wise to invest in a more expensive and efficient hood when having an open concept space since you can’t enclose the smell.

I hope this will help you into making the right decision for your home. If you need further assistance, please don’t hesitate to send me an email an I would gladly help you out.


(image taken from Pinterest, designer unknown)

First time renovating

Inspiration Board

I’m currently working with a close friend of mine, turning her newly purchased house into something fabulous. The main objective is to renovate the kitchen which, of course, I’m excited to do.

Contractors are going in this week to start demo, cabinets have been ordered and we are ready to start this new reno adventure together.

Helping clients step by step through a renovation process is very rewarding. Noticing how they appreciate all the hard work that you put into the project, making sure its running smoothly and as uncomplicated as possible is even better.

This will be my friend and clients first renovation and when something is your first, it’s always scary. The unknown is a scary place and I’m there to hold their hand as a friend and as a designer. Together this will be a fun adventure. We might have challenges along the way, but that’s just part of the process.

Here is a little sneak peak of what we are going to do, enjoy!



7 steps to prepare for kitchen renovation


You are about to renovate the kitchen and there are so many decisions to be made. How should the kitchen look and feel? What materials do I want to use? What are my priorities and why am I doing this renovation? Can I do it on my own or do I need a designer? Which contractor should I hire? What cabinets should I use?

For some people, renovate the kitchen can be quite overwhelming. In this blog post I want to give you a guideline how to prepare for your kitchen renovation and where to start the process. This, to make the process feel less intimidating and push you into believing that you can do this without feeling stressed out.

  1. First and foremost you need to know what you want. Write down a list of what you love and dislike about your current kitchen and then write down a wish list of what you are missing. I would also suggest that you visit pages such as Houzz and Pinterest and pin / save images that inspires you. These pages can later be shared with the designer of your choice.
  2. You should also think about what sizes and types of appliances you would like to work with in your new kitchen. Do you prefer a 30″ or a 36″ fridge? Wall oven and cooktop verses a slide in range? Double or single sink? Any other “gadget” appliances like built in microwave / coffee maker / steam oven?
  3. Next step is to hire a Kitchen Designer to help you visualize what potential your space has. Since you have already done your homework you can now clearly communicate to your designer what you want out of your space. At this time, if working with myself, I would develop a few concept designs to get you existed and also understand which direction you want to take it.  Later 2D elevations and a 3D model would be rendered for final presentation to allow you to fully visualize how the new kitchen will look like.
  4. Once the drawings are done the next step to prepare for kitchen renovation would be to gather contractors quotes. This can now easily be done since you have the drawings in hand. Your contractor will be able to quote you accurately based on the drawings provided since all the dimensions and notes are there.
  5. If working with a custom cabinet manufacturer it’s important to place your order well in advance of the renovation. Custom cabinets can take anywhere between 6 weeks and 5 months, depending on who you decide to work with and what finish of doors you want to use. In general laminated finishes takes less time to manufacturer than lacquer finishes. The cabinetry will determine when your renovation can take place if working with custom. Should you decide to use IKEA cabinets or any other pre-manufactured product, make sure they have what you want in stock prior to starting renovation.
  6. While designing the look and feel of your kitchen, it’s important to built a sample board of selected finishes to make sure it all works together. Some clients prefer to start with the countertop, other with the cabinet colour. Perhaps there is a colour you absolutely love, then we would work around that. The backsplash is one of the last things to go into your kitchen. However I suggest that you source it in advance of the renovation and have it purchased and delivered. Should you wait to purchase a tile that you want, most likely this tile will be out of stock by the time you want to have it installed. I would also suggest that you source and purchase your sink and faucet prior to renovation. When the countertop is being templated, the fabricator will need your sink on site to template the cutout.
  7. Material to source prior to kitchen renovation: Cabinets, countertop, flooring, backsplash, under cabinet lights, fixtures (if any), sink, faucet, appliances, handles

The renovation of your kitchen can begin and you will feel so much better having done all the homework prior to construction. There will still be questions to answer and problems to solve throughout the reno but at least your will have the majority of decisions made.

Kitchen Shoot Before and After


It’s time to reveal the Before and After shots of this little gem of a kitchen. This East York bungalow had a pretty impressive transformation and the pictures can speak for them selfs. The original kitchen had absolutely no functionality or aesthetic. One of the homeowners is a professional chef and he had a really hard time preforming his art in this space as you can imagine.

We opened up the space by closing off the entrance to the basement. Instead we opened up the existing window and made it into a new exterior backdoor with a raised patio for summer hang and BBQ. The original space was not insulated which meant we had to reframe and insulate the whole back of the house. All cabinetry and flooring was demolished and new appliances were purchased.

The homeowners really wanted a punch of colour red into their space which resulted in this amazing red back-painted glass backsplash. Easy to clean, fresh and modern looking. The open shelves to the right houses cereal, cookbooks and other decor items. The extra deep countertops on either side of the cooktop is an excellent space to place larger appliances that are used daily, such as toaster, blender, kitchen aid mixer etc.

The kitchen isn’t large and there isn’t a lot of natural light. However, by tiling the whole back wall from floor to ceiling, the wall reflects the light and brightens up the space. The floor was replaced to match the existing in the rest of the house.

Overall these before and after shots should translate that no space is impossible!

If you have a kitchen that you need some help with, give me a call or send me an email and we can discuss.






ELLE Decoration Swedish Design Award


ELLE Decoration Swedish Design Award happen tonight. and here are some of the winners

Kitchen of the year:

Kvänum kök in Sweden with their line INTRO.

linnealions_kvanum_kok linnealions_kvanum_kok2

Bathroom of the year:

Swoon side honey, Fredrik Wallner, Swoon

linnealions_swoon_side linnealions_swoon_side2 linnealions_swoon_side3



Chair of the year: 

Madonna by David Ericsson at Garnäs “simple but with unexpected details, perfect proportions and choice of materials – a future classic”


Wall paper of the year:

Nagano Grey by Marlin Karstensson, Mimou



Furniture of the year:

Daybed Sinnerlig, Ilse Crawford for IKEA


Lamp of the year:

Stick, Hüseyin Turgut, Lightwork



Danish Oak Kitchen


Last week I posted a picture of this Danish designed kitchen on my Instagram account and I promised to share the rest of the kitchen here on my blog. Well it took some time but here it is, finally!

This stunning kitchen is located in Christianshavn in Copenhagen and designed by the Danish Kitchen company Garde Hvalsoe. The homeowner is the world renowned chef René Redzepi. I can only imagine designing a kitchen for someone like René, someone who really has a passion for cooking and knows exactly what they want.

René wanted a long kitchen counter along the window for cleanup and cooking. The total cabinet length is 5.6 meters. The drawer fronts are created using one single plank from Dinesen’s long floorboards which allows for a continuing horizontal grain. The island is used for extra counter space for prepping and also additional storage.

One might wonder where the tall units are (fridge, wall oven, pantry)? This kitchen is all about the base cabinet, giving a very light airy space. The architectural elements have breathing space instead of fighting with upper cabinets and shelving units.  The island has a fridge below the counter. You might think this is very small, especially if you live in North America where we tend to use a minimum fridge size of 30-36″. However the fridge size should reflect on your lifestyle. Living in europe a lot of people tend to visit markets daily for their produce and meat and therefore they don’t have the need for such large refrigeration space.

I hope you can enjoy and appreciate this kitchen as much as I can.

Happy Thursday to you all!

linnealions_blog_oak-kitchen3 linnealions_blog_oak-kitchen4 linnealions_blog_oak-kitchen5 linnealions_blog_oak-kitchen6 linnealions_blog_oak-kitchen7 linnealions_blog_oak-kitchen8 linnealions_blog_oak-kitchen9

1920’s Swedish home


Hello January, hello 2016!


Here is a delicious 1920s Swedish home for you to get all excited about! This is the home of Karin Ward Creative Director at linum ab. She has done a fantastic job designing and decorating her home. I love the “walk-up closet” in the attic. I also really love the glassed in Sauna in the master bathroom… why don’t we have saunas in our bathrooms in Canada, we have cold winters too… if not colder!

Photos by: Jonas Ingerstedt for Elle Interior Sweden
linnealions_1920_home_elleinterior2 linnealions_1920_home_elleinterior3 linnealions_1920_home_elleinterior4 linnealions_1920_home_elleinterior5 linnealions_1920_home_elleinterior6