Gutted Home Gets New Life

While this suburban home in Oakville, Ontario, Canada, was less than 25 years old, its poor design and even worse physical condition left Ramsin Khachi with a lot more than he bargained for.

Khachi, the principal of Khachi Design Group, also in Oakville, purchased the home to renovate, then sell. While he anticipated a reasonable amount of renovation, after discovering black mold in the walls, he gutted the entire home…top to bottom and inside out.

“It was a great opportunity to look at the home and ask, ‘what does today’s homeowner really want,’” he says, noting that the renovation was done to be broadly marketable and with a fictional family in mind since no one was living in the home at the time. “I could look at what was wrong with every room and see how I could improve its function and make it the best room it could be within the space.”

Keeping a realistic budget in mind – “because no one has endless money,” he notes – Khachi assessed the neighborhood so he could carry out the renovation in a way that would retain the charm and heritage of the home, which was originally part of the Eaton Estate from Toronto’s ‘royal’ family who owned Eaton’s department stores.

“There’s a certain charm and heritage that goes with homes in this community,” he says. “That’s what I took as my inspiration.”

At the heart of the renovation is the use of materials and design ideas that promote flow and continuity, warmth and livability, functionality and durability.

“Where things connect, how things meet is important,” he says. “Everything has to meet right and have a purpose. It needs to look like you took every detail into consideration, with subtle continuity so the style flows throughout the house.”

For example, to enhance the flow between the kitchen and adjoining living room, the backsplash behind the cooktop combines Cambria quartz, which is used on the countertops and island, with Emperador Dark marble, which is used on the fireplace in the adjoining family room.

With regard to warmth and livability, Khachi added custom walnut cabinetry and appliance panels for the 48" GE Monogram refrigerator and freezer, which is flanked by a GE monogram oven and a GE Monogram Advantium speedcook oven. Cabinet details, such as drawers with soft-close hinges, stainless steel glides and glass panel sides, make the kitchen user friendly. Khachi also removed a half wall to open up the kitchen to the family room.

As far as functionality and durability, “because we started with a house with mold, we wanted to create something that lived forever, without those worries,” he adds. The quartz countertops and quartersawn oak flooring speak to durability, as do a number of features beneath the surface that are not visible. For functionality, Khachi focused on the large refrigerator and freezer, lighting, an attached table and details such as the compost bin.

Overall, Khachi chose design elements and materials that would have broad appeal, since he realizes this kitchen wouldn't appeal to everyone. More importantly, he wants people to take the “thought process, the details, the notions about how things connect…those things apply to every kitchen,” he says.