April 4, 2002
Detached home in
Pickering gets a new kitchen and a family room makeover
Special to the Star;
Salvatore Sacco FOR THE TORONTO STAR
East meets West
under one roof. She's handy, he isn't. How to resolve all this
when planning a home renovation? Compromise, of course.
Chanana and his wife Anna balanced both cultures while remaking
their 13-year-old detached home, purchased for $230,000 in 1993,
that backs onto the old Dunbar estate across from Dunbarton
Village in Pickering.
importer-exporter who comes from Delhi, and like many South
Asian men of means, wouldn't be caught dead with a tool in his
hand. She's a teaching assistant who grew up in Thunder Bay, and
she's never happier than when she's up a ladder raising the dust
to upgrade their home. They have two sons, 13 and 11.
Tony Chanana says
he first knew his wife was "up to something" when he
noticed a large pile of clippings from home decor magazines. The
couple talked it over and he agreed that they had to modernize
the kitchen and, while they were at it, make changes to the
family room that adjoins it.
The entire cost
of the new kitchen, including cabinets, countertop, backsplash,
lighting, plumbing, painting and turbo fan,came to $10,000.
Anna Chanana had
a redesign in mind for both. "Since our family is a
combination of East and West, I wanted at least a part of my
home to reflect both cultures and for my kids to feel
comfortable in both. So while I was planning a modern, Western
kitchen, simultaneously I designed an Eastern family room."
He agreed to be
the project comptroller. "I shopped, did price comparisons
and made budgets- that's just as important, you know! I was all
for having the work done, but we kept putting it off because we
calculated we'd need to spend close to $40,000 to contract it
challenge was the kitchen. "The old kitchen was functional
but had no character, so for years I'd been pondering making it
hi-tech. I also felt valuable space was being wasted by the wall
separating the family room next to it. I love wide open spaces,
so the idea of an open concept had been in my mind."
After attending a
home show, the Chananas made their plans and decided they were
ready. They hired a contractor to design the kitchen cabinets
based on her ideas. "Given a chance she would have done all
the work herself, but I insisted she get some help," says
professionals we brought in was for installation of the
cabinets, which came as a package," says Anna Chanana.
"Labour in Canada is the biggest cost, so we decided to do
most of the work ourselves."
'Since our family
is a combination of East and West, I wanted at least a part of
my home to reflect both cultures and for my kids to feel
comfortable in each'
handy friends, Bill and Jay MacKay from Parry Sound, offered to
help and were invited to stay for two weeks. Anna Chanana notes
with amusement that while the MacKays are also an intercultural
marriage (Bill is Canadian and Jay is from India), the parallel
Tony," she laughs, "Jay enjoys working with her hands.
Both she and Bill are extremely good at renovation work, which
was a boon for us."
She says the two
couples were up at 6: 30 every day and worked for 12 hours.
"First we pulled out the kitchen floor and had the
contractor remove the old cabinets. Then Bill, Jay and I did all
the plumbing and electrical work before the new cabinets were
installed. Tony watered the floor and did the fetching and
work was tough because she wanted halogen lights under all the
cabinets so there would be no shadow. She also had the corner
cabinets fitted with French doors and lights.
the kitchen walls and had mirrors installed so I could see the
boys (from an angle) while I cook. I love to cook Indian food,
so we installed a turbo fan in the kitchen to keep the spicy
odours from the rest of the house.
contractor tried to talk me out of having all-white cabinets and
countertops. When I told him I wanted a mirrored backsplash, he
almost resigned. He'd never seen anything like it. But in the
end, he loved it."
They had brought
new appliances at a reduced price at the home show. The entire
cost of the new kitchen, including cabinets, countertop,
backsplash, lighting, plumbing, painting and turbo fan, came to
$10,000. New laminated flooring for the kitchen and family room
cost another $1,200.
End result is a
slick, state-of-the-art kitchen with hidden areas built in for
recycling bin, wine rack, spices, bread bin and pantry. Tony
Chanana is thrilled with the results- and his part in it.
"I ensured the kids were kept busy and supplied Anna and
our friends with coffee and food while they broke down the wall.
Then they put in the flooring for two days and I kept their
They also redid
the flooring in their living room, hall and dining area, all of
which took a week. Tony added the final designer touch of rope
lights along the edge of the solarium.
Anna loves the
new look and open spaces of her home and revels in the comfort.
"The kids practically live in the solarium, read and do
their homework there. In winter, we use a portable heater or
keep the kitchen door open to keep it heated.
"I can spend
valuable time in the kitchen while being able to keep an eye on
the kids. And Tony loves lying on the cushions in the family
room, listening to music or watching television."
© 2002 Toronto Star, All Rights Reserved.