When I was a student twenty-five years ago my pal Mark asked me where I saw myself twenty years in the future. My reply? "I see myself in an incredible space like I've never seen before, sitting at a huge table with all my friends feasting and laughing. It's my Dream Home."
When I asked Mark where he saw himself in the future he quipped: "Flying first class to have cocktails with diplomats!" It was an early lesson in the power of the universe and the ability to manifest our desires. Today, both Mark and I celebrate living the lives we dreamed of creating.
I love most all kitchen diners and 'Great Rooms'. Whether you have a formal dining room or not, the place to be for me is centre stage in my kitchen with my friends and family. There I can enlist them to help set the table, grill the veggies on the barbecue, or pop the corks on the wine. Don't get me wrong, while I appreciate the magic - and suspense - of formal dining in other people's homes ("What's all that fracas in the kitchen?" - here's a fun YouTube clip that's an ideal accompaniment to this blog), when I'm at Home I want to spend as much time as possible with my guests.
Here's a pic of my current kitchen and dining pavilion in The Button Factory located in Toronto's Little Italy. To read more about my clever solution to accommodating up to sixteen for dinner on a regular basis, read this past blog Pretense Free Snob Appeal for more on my design journey.
This isn't the first time I've had an open concept kitchen. Here's a photo of the kitchen I installed in a converted Portuguese Banquet Hall almost ten years ago in Toronto's Queen West Village. Located in an custom 8-loft townhome conversion I did the concept, sales and marketing for, in my personal residence here I installed old hemlock barn boards for floors and suspended some vintage barn beams from the soaring 13' ceilings in order to give this space the character and patina of an old warehouse. Yup, my solid 300lb. maple butcher block and classic apple orchard ladder keep making the rounds to each of my places!
Regardless of style, I like almost any kitchen diner. Here are some photos of my favs:
Spaces like you see above are surprisingly rare in conservative Toronto. Yes, they're increasingly available in condominiums where open plan living gives the illusion of more space when square footage counts (like the 'Artist's Concept Drawing for Toronto's Aura Penthouse above with the sweeping city vista), but both old and newly-constructed traditional freehold housing here in the city still cling to the vestiges of yesteryear's formality. In fact, finding the truly contemporary house in downtown Toronto can be a real challenge for those who want to live modern. Here's a spectacular kitchen diner in my exclusive heart-grabbing listing a stone's throw to hip College Street downtown west:
Isn't this brilliant? It's a sunken kitchen with heated concrete floors, 13' ceilings, and a gorgeous landscaped vista. It's just a snippet of 3000 square feet of superbly crafted modern living in a restored vintage manse offered at $1,749,000. Click here to learn more!
Stay tuned for more design delights!
Photos after The Button Factory & The Banquet Hall (taken by Greg Paupst) are thanks to:
Alan Higgs Extension, UK