Piece of Cake

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We often use the analogy of making a cake to describe the construction phase of a renovation: it gets messy, it’s probably best to stay out of the kitchen if you’re not directly involved and you may even regret offering to make a cake at some point. But once it’s done and the mess cleaned up, the finished product is worth all the work. Here's a behind the scenes look into the making of our latest project: the contemporary condo

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Prior to the renovation, this condo had dark flooring, low cabinetry in the kitchen, a dining area that felt segregated, a lack of focus in the living room and two bathrooms that didn't function well for the client.

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We spent a few months preparing - first discussions with the client around their wishes for the spaces, budgeting out the project from start to finish, and then discussing concept and outlining finishes and product in preparation for construction. Finally, the big day arrived: demolition!

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This is when the mess starts! Taking out two bathrooms-worth of tile is enough reason to move out during a renovation.

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There are so many important details and decisions that go into every wall and we oversee all of them: lining up sconces with sink centres, ensuring there won’t be a conflict between trim and cabinetry, and knowing where the pipes are so when it comes time to hang the mirrors we don’t hit one!

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I’ll never get over seeing my work realized on site, it’s one of the greatest joys of my career as a designer. I plan, I think, I draw and spec it all out and then: pouf! It’s up and real. Of course, there’s nothing ‘pouf’ about it. The contractors and trades people work long, hard days to realize the vision. We have a great working relationship with everyone on site, which is paramount to the success of any project.

We know the renovation is nearing the end when cabinetry arrives. This kitchen from Merit Kitchens in 'Dew' (one of their newest colours) is in combination with two accent cabinets in white oak veneer.

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We have worked with an amazing tile setter for years - Jacky! He is a perfectionist with an incredible eye for spacing – look: no spacers, it’s all by eye! Working with people like Jacky is what makes it all happen. I can spec, draw and design until I am blue in the face, but without the skilled craftsmen and women, we wouldn't get very far.

In the final days, once the construction crew is out and the space has been professionally cleaned, we pull the original vision and concept together to realize the finished space. We love being able to surprise the client (no peeking!)  and this client was happy to play along and stayed out until we were completely finished. They never saw the mess of the renovation while their 'cake' was being made. Which is why we do what we do: we take the stress of renovating off the clients’ shoulders and let them have the cake (and eat it too!).

- Francesca