Reno Diary

This Earthy Eat-In Kitchen in Montreal Was Designed for Multigenerational Meals

The homeowners like to cook for their entire family
Sabrina installed glossy white interior shutters as a nod to the clients former home.
Sabrina installed glossy white interior shutters as a nod to the clients’ former home.

When a middle-aged Montreal couple was looking to downsize and move closer to the city, they still wanted the ability to host their big, growing family in their new home. So they purchased a three-story 1924 abode in the Westmount neighborhood and hired interior designer Sabrina Barazin to give it a sophisticated yet grandchildren-friendly makeover.

“Their previous property was very traditional and they were open to doing something a little different,” the Sabrina Barazin Studio founder explains. “They weren’t looking for something kooky or overly fun, but they wanted it to feel a little bit playful.”

Sabrina took this brief to heart, both functionally and aesthetically. She completely opened up the main floor to facilitate entertaining and modern living, then employed contemporary shapes and patterns to enliven the elegant neutral color palette. The result is a warm, inviting kitchen and dining area that’s suitable for all ages—and best enjoyed with the whole clan.

Location: The historic, dark brown brick house is situated on a verdant, quiet street in an otherwise-bustling part of the city. “There is this very magical sense about the whole road in the way that the homes all look the same, with tons of character, and there are all these beautiful, billowing trees that change color throughout the seasons,” Sabrina muses.

BEFORE: The old kitchen was covered in mismatched finishes.

The before: It seemed like whoever was responsible for the previous renovation had too many conflicting ideas. “There were all of these different finishes and countertops and cabinet colors that didn’t have any form of harmony whatsoever,” Sabrina remembers. “So it was pretty wacky. And the layout was all divided.”

The inspiration: In addition to creating a welcoming space for multigenerational gatherings, Sabrina sought to connect the home’s lush surroundings with its interiors using rich earth tones and textured, organic materials. “The original inspiration was rooted in nature,” she says.

AFTER: A brass faucet and light fixture add warmth to the kitchen.

Square footage: Kitchen, 182 square feet; dining room, 228 square feet; powder room, 28 square feet

Budget: The budget was open-ended—within reason. The clients trusted Sabrina to spend their money smartly and find deals where she could.

Main ingredients:

Wall paint: Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace. “OC65 is my favorite white,” Sabrina reveals. “I really love matte paint on the walls and high gloss on the trim and doors. It’ll just give you a sense of depth between the two. I love the details that the untrained eye can’t really pinpoint but make you feel a certain way in the space without knowing why.”

Kitchen floors: Ciot travertine with rough edges in an English tile pattern. “They’re edged roughly,” Sabrina says of the stone tiles. “The inspiration for that was an old French countryside cottage. It’s something that feels like it could be exterior but is inside.”

BEFORE: The segregated spaces didn’t work for the new homeowners.

AFTER: “Since the kitchen and the dining room are off of one another, they were very much treated as one big room,” Sabrina explains. “A lot of the kitchen storage is also in the little bar and [in] the floor-to-ceiling pantry off the dining table. The homeowner is a big cook. She got tons of gadgets and cookware that she needed to store.”

Dining floors: Oak with a dark stain

Kitchen cabinets: Custom maple fronts with a medium stain by Pic-Bois Design. “We went with maple cabinets because they had a really nice grain to them and we just wanted a nice, beautiful, juicy wood,” Sabrina explains.

Dining cabinets: Custom maple fronts sprayed with Benjamin Moore Dufferin Terrace by Pic-Bois Design. “The storage on the dining side is a matte taupe, but we kept the Shaker profile the same,” Sabrina says. “That felt like a really good balance. We did this yin-yang thing with the finishes where the color of the dining cabinetry matches the floors in the kitchen area and vice versa.”

Hardware: Rocheleau GRAF Brushed Matte Black Handles. “I really like to [always] be very careful about the hardware we choose because it’s a really fun detail to pay attention to and not just let it slip away and be something boring,” Sabrina explains. “We did knurled knobs and pulls. They just feel so tactical and good. And I also find they don’t look dirty. When you do a smooth finish it’s just fingerprint city.”

Counters and backsplash: Ciot Calacatta Arabescato marble

Faucet: Brizo Litze Bridge Faucet with Angled Spout and Knurled Handle in Luxe Gold

Kitchen sink: Kohler Cairn Undermount Double-Bowl Kitchen Sink in Matte Black. “We did a black porcelain because the faucet is brass and I didn’t want brass and stainless steel together,” Sabrina explains. “This is just a little more elevated.”

Appliances: Thermador Dual Fuel Freestanding Range and Thermador Freedom Built-in French Door Bottom Freezer

Furniture: The dining table and the chairs are by Four Hands. “I was really happy to have an oval-shaped table with a base of two outward half circles,” Sabrina says. “There are no hard angles on that piece, which I thought was important, given it’s just surrounded completely by cabinetry, which is only going to be hard angles.”

Kitchen lighting: The Visual Comfort & Co Katie Globe Pendant is in Hand-Rubbed Antique Brass and White Glass. “The quality feels very substantial to me,” Sabrina says. “They’ve got thick brass chains and the milk glass is just so beautiful. They could be antiques, but they’re not. They were just meant to exist in a way that was soft. But they still have something a little edgy about them. They don’t feel precious, they don’t feel dainty. They command a certain amount of attention. And they turn into these little glowing moons in the evening."

Dining lighting: The Visual Comfort & Co Alberto Small Single Tier Chandelier is in Plaster White. “The lighting, as well as the furniture, is all from Beige, a local Montreal company,” Sabrina notes. “I love to shop with small businesses in our city whenever I can. They have a really nice selection.”

Bathroom lighting: Luminaire Authentik Coquelicot Pendant in Cactus

BEFORE: The bathroom was plain and white, so Sabrina decided to punch it up.

AFTER: “I really just feel like the client trusted us to have fun with her powder room,” Sabrina says.


Bathroom wallpaper: Lee Jofa Taplow Paper in Sand/Dove

Bathroom sink: It’s custom made with stone scraps. “I can’t get enough of building tiny marble sinks,” Sabrina says. “It’s so much fun. It’s the easiest thing. I will go see my stone suppliers and check out whatever they have as scraps. That’s how we can make this happen for our clients in an inexpensive way.”

Most insane splurge: The homeowners are avid cooks, so they sprung for their very pricey dream oven.

AFTER: Sabrina built the striking stone sink and matching shelf from scraps.


Sneakiest save: For additional lighting, Sabrina installed minimalist white outdoor sconces, which were super inexpensive.

The best part: “I love the way that it all came together,” Sabrina shares. “It feels really refined, but not pretentious or too over-the-top. It’s really quite rich and layered, but still really cozy and inviting. I know how fanciful it all is, but it doesn’t come off that way.”

What I’d never do again: Sabrina doesn’t regret a single choice.

Final bill: For materials, the kitchen cost $99,000 CAD (not including appliances), the dining area cost $15,000 CAD, and the powder room cost $4,650 CAD. The couple spent about $60,000 CAD on labor.