It is difficult to believe that Corina and Allan Dunford’s home is located just minutes from downtown Orangeville, ON. Up a long driveway and tucked away in the trees, you could quite easily be tricked into believing that you are on a country estate in the hills of Mono.
Back in 2015, after a lengthy search for the “perfect home”, the Dunford’s realtor mentioned a very special home on Woodland Drive. Not being overly familiar with the area, they really had no idea that they were about to find a hidden gem awaiting its new owner. They booked a viewing, and upon visiting the property they fell in love with it instantly and put the wheels in motion to purchase it soon afterwards.
Situated on a quiet street in the East Garafraxa Woods estate subdivision, this Normerica Timber Frame home features intricate beam work throughout and could easily be mistaken for a cottage in Muskoka (minus the lake of course). The A-Frame construction, soaring ceilings and floor to ceiling windows are breathtaking, and the high elevation provides a spectacular view of the Caledon Hills and, at some points of the year, Caledon Lake.
A designer by Trade, Corina’s touch is evident throughout the home, but no more so than in their spectacular, recently renovated kitchen. Despite the fact that their existing kitchen was not that old, and the fact that they often received compliments about it from family and friends, Corina knew that she wanted to make some changes. An avid cook and baker, she wanted to make the kitchen itself larger by utilizing some of the “wasted space”, and to give it a more functional and modern appeal. She enlisted the help of kitchen designer Lou Pasquelli, owner of “Kitchens by Lou”, and their plans started to come together.
Although there was some uncertainty around starting a renovation during the most recent lockdown due to supply shortages and construction delays, they decided they were up for the challenge. In the end they were able to complete the project in a little over two months.
The first step was to remove their old kitchen and set it up as a “mock” kitchen in their garage, complete with running water and burner stoves for cooking. Kitchen renovations are always stressful, and this creative solution allowed them to continue with a functioning kitchen during construction.
Corina’s design inspiration could best be described as modern/ contemporary cottage style. The custom cabinetry finished in a stunning dark grey hue were manufactured in St. Catherines, ON by Elmwood Cabinetry, who have a reputation for high end custom cabinetry and fine craftsmanship dating back to 1973. The beautiful white quartz countertops and glass tile backsplash were both completed by local installers, and the modernistic style is warmed by the wide plank pine floors and high beamed ceilings. The effect is quite dramatic, and it is only emphasized by the view from the kitchen and the adjoining deck, which provide sweeping panoramas of their private forest and the Caledon Hills in the distance. The deck is surrounded by glass railings which are unobtrusive, and it offers the perfect place to enjoy the sunrise or sunset during the warmer months.
From the built-in hutch with wine fridge and bar station, to the top-of-the-line Thermador wall ovens, this kitchen was well thought out and planned from start to finish. The matte gold hardware further emphasizes the contemporary feel of the cabinetry, and it complements the sidelights above the apron sink. The large centre island is a chef’s dream, and it is accented by a striking wrought iron chandelier with gold accents. “The light fixture has a bit of a story behind it” noted Corina when I commented on how much I admired it. “When we purchased the light fixture, it fit in my vehicle. But when we arrived home with it, we could not get it out of the car! It was almost as if it grew while we were transporting it” she laughs as she recalls trying to maneuver it out of her vehicle and into her kitchen. “With the help of the store owner we were finally able to get it out, and then it took two ladders and three people to correctly hang it! It was quite the ordeal!”. Clearly worth the trouble, it fits perfectly with the room décor and is certain to give the Dunfords a conversation piece in the future.
The antique farm door with glass insert is an interesting touch, and the abutting four season Muskoka Room offers additional entertainment space. “We spend a lot of time in that Muskoka Room” says Corina. “Despite the fact that we have all of this space in our living room – we always somehow end up out there having coffee, playing games and chatting with our family members”.
“We are thrilled with the end result of our kitchen renovation” says Corina. “Now that things are opening up again, we look forward to having family and friends visit so that we can share and enjoy our fantastic new space”. The Dunford’s custom kitchen is a testament to craftsmanship and creativity, the result being a stunning space which truly is the heart of the home. Modern and functional, yet never retracting from the original feel of the timber frame structure, it is certain to be the centre of many gatherings for years to come.
Written by: Tanya Bottomley | Photography: Paul Spears