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Renovation & Design

Cat, owner happy with home's new look

At 60, a house keeps the best of the old as it makes a transition

Contractor Tony Teunis with a sketch of the final kitchen design.
Mitch Dupont and his son trowel a layer of plaster over the scratch-coat on a box out that was added to the kitchen. The final coat of stucco will match the colour and pattern of the home's existing stucco.
Freshly-sanded red oak floor in a bedroom will be stained to match the hallway and other floors throughout the house.
Putting on baseboards in an older home requires skill because sometimes the mouldings need to be scribed to follow discrepancies in the floor.
Kitchen cabinets are white thermofoil with soft-close hinges and stainless steel handles.

Taz the cat is preparing to move into his Oak Street reno by selecting the purr-fect spot for his new litter box and feed bowl while his owner scours the city for transitional furniture to span a 60-year gap between her house and today's homes.

"My bungalow was constructed in the mid-20th century, so I want to find some pieces that will flatter the new open concept, while at the same time not clash with some antiques that I want to keep," said Diana.

Since the renovation was last viewed at the beginning of August, much progress has taken place.

The interior walls have been painted taupe, a reversal of an earlier decision to go with a pale-yellow base and light-sage accent.

Contractor Tony Teunis of All Canadian Renovations Ltd. said taupe was finally chosen because it is a neutral colour that will not clash with transitional furniture or accessory styles, and it adds warmth to the overall design.

Teunis said his client is particularly enamoured of the cork flooring recently laid in the kitchen, featuring black inlay in the form of a stylized star and frame.

"The original plan was to use black and white tiles in the kitchen, but I felt they would conflict with the oak floors in the dining/living areas," said Diana, noting the cork is a neutral brown, the black inlay preventing it from being completely bland.

Her cabinets by Kitchen Craft are white thermofoil with soft-close hinges, designed with lots of nooks for storing pots, pans and electric appliances.

The black-granite countertops with flecks of copper will be offset by a backsplash consisting of clear sheets of tempered-glass, allowing the dark-brown feature walls behind the sink to show through.

The original design called for a red backsplash, but Diana said she felt the contrast between the white cabinets and black countertops was sufficient without adding another strong colour to the mix.

"I've been struggling with the concept of going ultra-modern versus transitional. I think the fact that I've toned down some of the first design suggestions indicates that I'll end up with a transitional look," she said.

A box-out that was added to the kitchen to gain some extra space contains the main sink as well as a garburator and a slide-out rack that holds a refuse bag.

Mitch Dupont of Dupont Plastering recently gave the exterior of the box-out a coat of plaster, which will be followed by brush-thrown stucco to match the rest of the house.

The installation of wide baseboards reminiscent of 1950s architecture is nearly finished, as is the moulding around doors and windows.

"All the trim, including the baseboards, will be painted white in keeping with the cabinets in the kitchen," said Teunis, adding pot-light covers still need to be installed, otherwise the home's updated 200-amp electrical system is ready to go.

One of the final touches will be to replace the front door with something with a newer design. The current entrance has a screened, aluminum exterior door and a secondary door with a diamond-shaped window, evocative of Happy Days.

The red oak floors through most of the house were refurbished by Jeff Wood of A Wood Floor by feathering in areas where walls had been torn out, removing glue from places where wall-to-wall carpet was laid over the oak, and sanding down and filling the wood in preparation for staining and final finishing.

"I cross-cut with 50-grit and worked down to 120-grit, running with the grain, before I filled the wood and gave it another light sanding to get it ready for staining and finishing," Wood said.

He said the owner chose the stain's colour, a cherry hue that intensified the red tints in the oak.

The final finish was three coats of oil-based urethane, which Wood prefers, as it intensifies the beauty of the wood's figure compared to water-based products that tend to dull the highlights.

"Most of my business is renovations, so I have a lot of experience rejuvenating old floors," said Wood, adding that refinished floors have a lustre that can't be replicated by pre-finished, modern products that sell for $12 per square foot or more.

As for Diana and her cat Taz, the wait to have the reno completed has been worth it.

"I believe that I will end up with exactly the type of transitional renovation that I envisioned at the beginning of the project," said Diana, adding she continues to be on the lookout for appropriate furniture. Taz has indicated a predilection for products from Pet Village.

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