A sixteen-foot island topped in Noir Saint-Laurent marble from Ciot takes centre stage in the dramatic kitchen of Tim Johnson’s new King West condo. The interior designer and his partner Doug Rienzo called in Chris Lloyd of York Fabrica to realize the show-stopping piece. Working with dark marble requires a deft touch: cutting and even polishing are a challenge, because it’s largely composed of calcium and is easily damaged. “But it’s a beautiful stone, and unique – I love it!” Lloyd said. The mitred island was created from sixfoot slabs of marble, although complicated cuts and assembly give the appearance of seamlessness. It has a classic horizontal workspace with double sink, beneath which cleaning products are stashed in pullouts. The piece also houses a wine fridge and a seating area with marbled underside. From Studio B, Johnson selected simple, black backless metal Herman Miller stools. “I wanted those to recede; it had to be all about the countertop,” he said. Although there’s a formal dining set just off the kitchen and a smaller table with mid-century modern chairs to the side by the patio, the couple prefer dining casually at the island most days. The main kitchen lighting – three staggered powder-coated black metal pendants by Tom Dixon, from Klaus – is understated so as not to detract from the spherical statement pieces in the adjacent dining and living spaces. During installation, Johnson’s electrician held each of the pendants at different heights, while the designer moved around the condo, checking how they looked from every perspective.
They’re pretty standard appliances that came with the condo, but we didn’t feel the need to upgrade; they work well and look good.
Ceiling pot lights create a warm, complementary glow and enough brightness for longer stretches of food prep. Illumination is in fact one of the most important elements in Johnson’s design. “We love dark spaces, and we’re mostly home in the evening, so it’s nice to see our place come alive at night with lighting,” he said. Glossy lacquered taupe Dekla cabinetry by Scavolini creates ample storage space for everything from a freezer to groceries to a stereo system. Along the back wall, there’s smudge-resistant dark chocolate-brown glass cabinetry, custom built by the same company. A simple push system means the doors just need a nudge to be opened, eliminating handles or pulls. The two fridges – one for drinks, one for fresh foods – are both Liebherr, and
the gas stove, electric oven, microwave and warming drawer are all Viking. “They’re pretty standard appliances that came with the condo, but we didn’t feel the need to upgrade; they work well and look good,” said Johnson. The couple did splurge, however, on a top-of-the-line Miele dishwasher for efficient cleanup. While the kitchen is a clutter-free space, eclectic art choices keep it warm and homey. A quartet of off-white pieces by Claude Vermette, from Decorum, hangs serenely on one wall in contrast to the scarlet piece diagonally opposite: a silk-screen work by Russian artist Kosso Eloul from Artwork, an Avenue and Davenport dealer specializing in 20th century art. A framed black-and-white photograph sits on the back countertop. “It’s my dad and his cousins
as children; my dad grew up on a farm,” said Johnson. “I like to look at this one every day.”
“One of the areas that designers like to head to when they’re working on a project is the Castlefield Design District, located at Dufferin Street and Castlefield Avenue. You’ll find a variety of fantastic suppliers and a few big-box stores in case you need to round out your purchases. I can’t list all of the shops there, but here are some you should explore. Stone Tile (stone-tile.com) has added “wood” to the store – they have a pretty great showroom. Along with a few bathroom fixture shops, there are a variety of carpet suppliers, such as Allan Rug Co. (allanrug.com) and Imperial Carpet & Home (carpetandhome.com). The Castlefield Design Centre is home to some great resources like Geovin Furniture (geovin.com) for custom or existing pieces. Victorian Revival Vintage Lighting (victorian-revival.com) will provide you with restored antique fixtures. Of course, Elte (elte.com) is a long-established favourite here. Around the corner, York Fabrica (yorkfabrica.com) has a vast choice of natural and man-made stone products. Be sure to stop in at Appliance Canada (appliancecanada.com) to see the latest in kitchen appliances and high-end home theatre suites. If you know what you are looking for you will probably find it here. And, if you’re just looking to explore then you will want to book the better part of a whole day to take it all in!”
Let It Flow
“For a cohesive and stylish design, choose counter tops, faucets and sinks that harmonize. You’ll discover that when you decide on the perfect piece of stone, the ideal hardware will be easy to find. For endless design options, view York Fabrica’s large in-house stock of marble, granite and quartz.”