If you bought your condo back when you still booked off Thursday nights to watch Jerry, George and Elaine, you may be looking at your fixtures, cabinetry and countertops and thinking it’s time to upgrade. If you’re not in a position to move, what to do?
Amy Kent and Ryan Martin, principals of Croma Design Inc., reconfigure poor layouts, remodel dysfunctional kitchens and refresh outmoded palettes for owners of large homes all the time. In 2004, they recognized a marketplace niche for condo dwellers with similar design problems, so they created Croma Express Kitchen Design to contemporize cookie-cutter and tired kitchens for clients on a budget. The service – strictly for kitchen updates – typically involves standard IKEA cabinetry, with hardware, surface materials and fixtures customized according to the owners’ needs.
Last year, a geosciences company that owns a Fashion District pied-à-terre for visiting international employees hired Kent and Martin to refresh its 260-square-metre space. The first task was a Croma Express transformation of the dowdy, mismatched kitchen into a contemporary focal point. Taking inspiration from the existing raw concrete, the designers chose a luminous grey and white palette.
They then replaced the stained birch cabinetry with IKEA units with high-gloss fronts, and installed a new island topped in slate-grey Caesarstone. An Aspen White marble backsplash from Stone Tile ties the look together. In this case, the complete kitchen update – including consultation, design, cabinets, tiles, countertops, plumbing fixtures, hardware, appliances and labour – cost $28,000.
The client also wanted to create more privacy in the unit, so Croma Design Inc., which handled part two of the redo, extended the original bedroom’s partial wall to the ceiling and created a second bedroom at the other end of the formerly open concept space. Croma’s team repainted the unit’s drywall, added light-diffusing blinds to the span of windows, removed faux industrial fixtures and covered the ductwork with a fresh coat of white. The kitchen and newly designated dining and living areas now dictate function and flow.
“It’s a bright, fresh space that’s timeless and easy to live in,” says Martin – one the guests now linger in rather than just pass through.