Kitchen Before & After: A 1970s Toronto Kitchen Gets a Scandinavian Country Twist

Reader Kitchen Remodel

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Kitchn reader Kari and her family live in an old home that sits by the water in Toronto. She waited four years before finally renovating her outdated 1970s kitchen, but spent that time doing tons of research and gathering ideas for a kitchen that would feel modern yet timeless, suit the style of her old country home, and appeal to her Norwegian heritage and her love of simple Scandinavian design. See the 'After' photos below!

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A wonderful transformation! As Kari tells us, it was very important for her to create a kitchen that was well-suited to cooking, but also one that looked like it belonged in a 100-year-old home. Here's what she says about the overhaul: 

Our old kitchen was from the 70s. It didn’t look that bad but desperately needed updating as it was tired and the layout was not very practical. The only thing we knew we would keep is the wooden beam on the ceiling.

Our house in The Beach area in Toronto feels like a Scandinavian summerhouse. Being originally from Norway, I have a love for simple Scandinavian design. The previous owners had a similar taste for wood beams and lots of light in the house, which fit our plans perfectly.

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Everything changed places in the kitchen design except the sink. The kitchen was gutted down to the floor joists. We designed the kitchen ourselves with the help from the IKEA kitchen planner and a contractor installed the new window, tile, electricity, drywall and plumbing. We hired a cabinetry carpenter to install our IKEA cabinets and butcher block island, and we sourced a fabricator for our stainless steel countertops with integrated sink. 

With the money we saved by using IKEA cabinets, we splurged on our stainless countertops and a Capital gas range. We decided to keep our current fridge even though it is in white and not stainless steel and now we find that we like the white fridge! When we replace it we will keep it white to keep the focal points at the stove area and island countertop. It is an affordable way to create an illusion that the fridge is integrated.

One of our design challenges was that we did not know what to do with the range hood vent pipe. We kept debating on whether it should be exposed, in a bulkhead or hidden by cabinets. Since I love the look of no cupboards over the range with subway tiles all up to the wall, I thought a bulkhead would destroy the open feeling we were trying to create. I discovered a photo by Norwegian blogger @Byfryd on Instagram  of her kitchen. The pipe was exposed and it assured us that exposing the pipe was the right idea.

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Thanks so much for sharing, Kari!

(Images: Via The Kitchn's submission form)

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