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Why an Architect Opened a Bespoke Kitchen Boutique

Long-time architect Thomas Tampold details why he opened Yorkville Design Centre – and the Toronto design outposts that inspired him

By Thomas Tampold

“What’s an architect doing owning a bespoke kitchen business?” My architect friends sometimes kid me about being “in retail.” For me, it’s a dream come true! I have many reasons for loving what I do, and creating kitchens allows me to initiate a home design the way I was always taught, which is from the inside out. What better way to start than from command central?

Other reasons I own a showroom? I get to display my wares like other stores – only, in this case, we have modern kitchens on display and portfolios of our work. Growing up in Toronto, there were design stores that inspired me: I always loved Karelia, the Finnish design store that flourished in the ‘70s selling Marimekko clothing, Scandinavian furniture, Arabia dishware and Iittala glassware. Today there are so many beautiful design stores all over our fabulous city inspiring me, like Mjölk and Stylegarage and Quasi Modo.

Still, I’ve always loved being an architect, starting when I was four years old. I first worked for my dad’s architectural firm and later moved to a big downtown firm doing big buildings. What made me reconsider how I did architecture was when I had an “A-ha!” moment in Rome. I stumbled upon the famous architect Paolo Portoghesi’s little pink themed architectural boutique on a side street near the Pantheon that specialized in his self-designed pomo tea pots in the shape of buildings. A light bulb went on and I thought, “Hey, I can have a store and be an architect at the same time!”

One day, that opportunity came along and I grabbed it. Now I sell beautifully crafted and architecturally designed kitchens tailored to suit clients of each unique home.

For me, it’s like getting to design little architectural gems inside people’s homes.

Being a full-service design store, projects can morph into staircases, bathrooms and even whole houses – the possibilities are endless. Owning this store is a great way to meet clients who want to do more than just a kitchen. Many times, they come into our showroom or visit our website, and they’re so happy to find that we can handle their whole project.

We work on kitchen design the way we would any architectural project. Kitchen projects fulfill many of the same programmatic and aesthetic challenges of buildings: there are technical issues, functional requirements, questions about colours, materials and figuring out how to turn a corner – similar things we tackle in designing big buildings.

What’s also helpful is that we’re really happy to work with other architects and designers too. At these times, we make sure not to trespass over their territory when designing kitchens. Why they seek out our services is because not all designers and architects have the time or interest for the multi-faceted experience and detailed minutiae that kitchen design entails; but it’s our specialty!

Kitchen design is a very rewarding craft. We’re a passionate team here in Yorkville Design Centre at Yorkville Village, formerly Hazelton Lanes. Similar to choosing a fine Yorkville restaurant, our clients love to come to us because we bring something special to the table – our architectural taste.

This content was published by Designlines in partnership with Yorkville Design Centre.


Categories: Urban Update

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