“The cobbler’s children are always the worst-shod”. It’s an age old sentiment that speaks to how we quite often take care of others before we take care of ourselves, and those around us.
Most professionals in their industry are so busy taking care of their clients, they quite often lose focus on their own needs.
That’s why I was thrilled when Paula Coffey, owner of The Plumber’s Wife in Arthur, ON, invited us in to her own home, to reveal her very own kitchen makeover. And with just some small changes, the transformation is gorgeous!
About 14 years ago, Paula and her family moved into a beautiful farmhouse, one that when Paula was younger, she used to actually dream about! It really is a lovely place, and is a true designer’s dream. The house, and Paula’s design talent, are a perfect match!
When the family first moved in, they wanted to renovate the kitchen and family room right away. Starting with the farmhouse charm of a tin ceiling and 14-inch trim work throughout, these existing pieces were key to work from. Paula intended to keep the rustic country charm of this historical home, and so her original kitchen renovation was designed.
Paula used a beautiful “soft green washed” look, and chose the stunning wide ceramic floor tiles in neutral, rich tones, to really keep with the country charm. “The look I wanted to achieve when we first renovated the kitchen years ago, was “country charm” explains Paula. She achieved this look with lighting, accent pieces, backsplash, and finishes. “Everything had a rustic charm about it”. While the kitchen was still quite beautiful 14 years since, Paula and her family felt that it needed to be freshened up, while still keeping with the original architecture and charm. One of the lovely things about many of Paula’s designs for kitchens and bathrooms, is that she likes to use existing materials where she can. “Most heritage homes have original elements that can stand the test of time” says Paula, “so why recreate the look if it already exists, and the client wants to maintain it?” Paula works “with” the palate, vs “against it” but only of course, where it makes sense.
So it wasn’t a surprise then, to see that she had kept the kitchen design from a space perspective, exactly the same. “The kitchen still functions perfectly so we didn’t need to do a renovation “per-se”, we just needed to approach the “look and feel” in a different way.”
Well, the new look and feel is FANTASTIC! The accomplishment was not only time convenient, but financially savvy as well. The cabinets themselves were in really great shape, so instead of replacing them, Paula had them painted out in a dramatic grey tone that simply shines amongst the other colours. Keeping with heritage, she had pulled this colour from the original renovation floor tiles.
So, having maintained the flooring, and the cabinets now painted out, next was the backsplash. Now this is a really cool trick; the tile she chose is “Porcelina”, and it looks like a tapestry. It pulls in the brown hues throughout, and also softens some of the colours, through lighter beige and soft, grey tones. The finish is stunning, and Paula was smart enough to keep the original “Corian” countertops, which also serves to connect the lighter tones. The countertops were a great original renovation investment, as they keep their shape and beauty throughout the years. The new backsplash brings a more modern look, which is matched nicely by the new lighting Paula had installed. “I love the lighting”, says Paula. “They were an investment, but one that was well worth it. They have a polished nickel finish, which Paula then repeated in the faucet and throughout the kitchen. As well, the lighting is designed in a more timeless modern industrial style, a style that fits well with that rustic farmhouse charm.
“Here is the great part about facelift for any space” explains Paula. “With the money we saved here by keeping the kitchen cabinets, the floor, and our heritage furniture pieces, we were able to add in the new touches that have really transformed this space. The furniture we have in the kitchen still fits with the new style, and some are family heirlooms, so we were able to mix the old with the new.” Paula had beautiful stainless steel appliances that stayed right where they were, but did make an investment in some new small appliances. These countertop workpieces almost melt into the backsplash because of their soft cream colour. But because they are super cool, these are the ones that you want to display! Imagine that? A toaster you can be proud of! Enter in some modern-style leather bar stools for the kitchen island seating, and the new look is complete.
The pictures of before and after speak louder than my words ever could. Paula has a classy, elegant design style that leaves a stunning impression. Much like the lady herself!
Written by: Kelli M. Maddocks | Photography: Cory Bruyea