Before and After: A Kitchen and Dining Area for 3 Generations

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The homeowners bought their suburban Toronto home new 35 years ago, and it served them well for many of those years. But with three generations now living under the same roof, the kitchen and dining room were starting to feel cramped and in need of a refresh. Designer Gillian Lazanik created a budget-friendly open-concept kitchen, dining and office space that works for both daily life and large family gatherings.

Modern Dining Room by Affecting Spaces

Affecting Spaces

Photos by Gillian Lazanik

Kitchen-Dining-Office Area at a Glance
Location: Toronto
Size: 300 square feet (27.9 square meters)
Designer: Gillian Lazanik of Affecting Spaces

“The kitchen, dining and living areas were all separated in the original layout,” says interior designer Gillian Lazanik. “We knocked down as many walls as we could to open up the space. Now the home is ideal for hosting large groups.”

The new dining area is seen above. The enlarged kitchen is to the left of the peninsula. An office nook is to the far left next to the refrigerator.

Pendant lighting: Dainolite; wall color: Gray Mist, Benjamin Moore; wood floors: Cobble Hill Maple

Modern Kitchen by Affecting Spaces

Affecting Spaces

In the new kitchen, a 14-foot counter that houses the sink and dishwasher separates the kitchen and dining area. The stainless steel refrigerator and gas range share a wall.

“One of the main challenges was to create a beautiful and functional kitchen without breaking the bank,” Lazanik says. Wood melamine was used for the lower cabinets and the taller cabinets surrounding the refrigerator. The upper cabinets are painted white to break up the look. Large-format porcelain tile measuring 8 by 36 inches covers the back wall. The countertops are Urban Safari quartz by Caesarstone.

Modern Home Office by Affecting Spaces

Affecting Spaces

The office nook to the left of the refrigerator is within the footprint of the kitchen but out of the way of the cooking and prepping areas. A family computer makes this space popular with the kids. The two windows were existing and now add a great focal point and a natural light source above the new, built-in bench.

Modern Dining Room by Affecting Spaces

Affecting Spaces

New 16-foot sliding doors in the dining area pull in an abundance of natural light and lead to a backyard with gorgeous views of the ravine below. “These are pretty massive doors, but thanks to the lift and slide system, you can literally open them with your pinkie,” Lazanik says.

Before Photo

A Functional and Stylish Kitchen for an Extended Family

BEFORE: In the original floor plan, the kitchen was in the center of the house between the breakfast area and the dining room. A powder room was located between the breakfast area and the family room at the back of the house.

A Functional and Stylish Kitchen for an Extended Family

AFTER: Walls came down and rooms were eliminated and enlarged to create the open-plan design. Above, the kitchen and office nook were expanded into what used to be the dining room. The powder room was relocated, and the breakfast area took over that area to become a larger dining area that flows into the family room. This new dining space can now seat up to 16 guests when an additional table is added.

Modern Entry by Affecting Spaces

Affecting Spaces

A new entry foyer opens directly to the kitchen. A set of tall cabinets covered in the same wood melamine used in the kitchen serves as a coat closet. A built-in bench next to the cabinets provides an ideal spot for putting on and taking off boots during the winter months.

Before Photo

Gillian Kitchen

BEFORE: The original kitchen included fluorescent lights that wrapped around the perimeter of the ceiling. Lazanik says it was difficult for more than two people to cook in the kitchen at the same time.

Before Photo

Gillian Kitchen

BEFORE: The original breakfast area could only seat up to six people, which made hosting large family gatherings a challenge. “Before, everyone had to eat in separate rooms; now they can all be together,” Lazanik says.

More: Key Measurements to Help You Design Your Kitchen