Save My Reno: Dave and Wemi's Transitional Townhouse Kitchen

From basil gone rogue and last-minute changes, to glass cabinets and graphic roman blinds, this renovation was one of the first (and arguably, easiest) projects of the season.

David and Wemi’s kitchen was a classic case of boring and uninspiring builder-grade, but anything but boring was how I felt when we found out David bought the house without Wemi seeing it! While his intentions were sweet, he attempted to redeem himself by making some DIY upgrades to the space, but after a failed spice-rack project that came chasing at our feet, they needed all the help they could get. The good news was that they had some creative ideas, the bad news was they didn’t know how to see it through properly. Lucky for them, Seb and I came to the rescue. (Watch the full episode here! For a shopping guide and fun links to extras, head to the bottom of this post!)

The space was not only tiny, but the awkward half-wall closed it off completely from the living area. In a case like this where you’re dealing with an entire floor that has a small footprint, the best thing you can do is take down all the walls between spaces, use the same flooring throughout, and allow the furniture and permanent fixtures to define areas.

But one issue we ran into was: how much money is worth investing in a townhouse? It’s important to be economical and realistic in such a case, so 30k was the absolute max budget to transform the entire main floor.

But before we could start designing and furnishing, we had to deconstruct. Luckily, the demo was quick and painless and we were able to get home before the sun set, but not before David announced that he wanted to team up with Seb to redeem himself from his DIY spice rack!

On the design side of things, Wemi tagged along with me as we went through the design process. Everything was running smooth and we were all on the same page—heck, Wemi and I even had our countertop selection synced up intrinsically—and that’s when David threw us a curve-ball: Our design had our countertop run drop down into a live-edge wood dining table for more intimate family dining. But David changed his mind last-minute and asked that we nix the drop-down table and keep the counter running straight across, flush to the end. They simply wanted to be able to clean the surface easily and have more prep-space, so c’est la vie! As a designer, I’m not shy of changes, so if it makes them happy, we we’re going to make it happen. The only issue? The live-edge slab was already paid for and made.

Luckily, with some creative thinking, were able to transform the slab into floating walnut shelves and keep it in the kitchen design in its reincarnated form! To do this, I had Wemi come into the studio to lend me a hand.

Fun little fact: I drew portraits of each of the homeowners. Sadly, they didn’t make it to the final episode cut, but here’s David and Wemi in all their pencil lead sketchbook glory!

The vibe for the kitchen was clean, bright and transitional. But more than colour and final finishes, all this couple really wanted was better function and flow. That meant taking advantage of the space and turning the kitchen on its side to span the entire width of their townhouse. To save money, rather than taking down the support beam, we absorbed it into the design and it became quite a nice feature—and a home for the walnut shelves! They’re actually four individual shelves, but I love that they look like two large pieces of wood that we fed through the wall and pulled out the other side.

We laid new engineered hardwood through their entire main floor, painted everything in neutral putty greys and added colour pops with art, flowers and accessories. In the end, it came together to create a contemporary look that David and Wemi (and me, clearly) just LOVED. For a townhouse, we sure did maximize the square footage and up the value in a major way.

Get The Look:

  1. Schoolhouse Pendants
  2. Turquoise and powder blue bowls
  3. Le Creuset French Oven
  4. Roman Shades in Intersections
  5. Bread Box
  6. Grey Barstools
  7. Assorted Cutting Boards + Charcuterie Boards
  8. Arabesque Backsplash
  9. Blue Wool Runner
  10. Large-scale Abstract Art

Check out all the before and after photos, watch the full episode, peep Seb’s blog for his take, and check out the 360 degree tour!

PS: My necklace from the intro is from Anne-Marie Chagnon and the jumpsuit is from TopShop. In the reveal, my butterfly skirt is from Ted Baker.