Before and After: How a $300,000 reno transformed a stuffy Leaside craftsman into a vision of black and white

Before and After: How a $300,000 reno transformed a stuffy Leaside craftsman into a vision of black and white

Goodbye, tiny kitchen, dated dining room and forgotten fireplace. Hello, airy spaces, modern bar and cute powder room

THis Leaside craftsman underwent a $300,000 renovation.


The place

A three-bedroom, two-plus-one-bathroom semi-detached craftsman home in Leaside.

The history

The current owners, a young couple, purchased the house in 2017 and dreamed of transforming its main floor into a more contemporary and functional open-concept space. In 2021, they reached out to designer Amanda Beer of AB Interiors to make their vision a reality. Her design was all about creating airy gathering spots flooded with natural light. The project, which included a new kitchen, bar and powder room among other upgrades, ended up costing $300,000.

Related: How a reno turned a dated house on the Niagara River into a pristine nature escape

The tour

In the foyer, Beer kept the antique front door and repainted the original staircase and railing black. “I remember insisting that we have to keep the door—it’s got character,” she says. She also gave the coat closet a sleek update and moved the heirloom Mason and Risch upright piano to the front of the stairs.

Designer Amanda Beer insisted on keeping the original staircase.

The new space been re-painted, with more storage added.

The team replaced the old floors with wide-plank white oak. The thinking was that a neutral palette of white, grey and black would contrast nicely with the wood details. Beer preserved the bay window and banquette and installed an asymmetrical chandelier.

The old floors have been replaced with white oak.

Note the funky asymetrical chandelier.

Next, they removed a wall in the kitchen to open it up to the front of the house. The coffered ceilings are by Straight A Woodwork.

The old kitchen was tired and dated.

Bear removed a wall and added coffered ceilings.

In place of the old decor: custom storage (including under-cabinet shelving), soft-vein quartz counters and backsplash, and a wine rack that conceals the previously exposed HVAC stack.

Goodbye old appliances.

Hello stainless steel equipment.

The kitchen is now oriented north to south, with the west wall serving as the anchor. This allowed Beer to set up a long island with hidden storage and pendant lighting above.

The new kitchen now fully lines the west wall.

The new island and pendant lighting bring contemporary flair.

The once-cramped cottagecore kitchen is now equipped with stainless steel appliances, pull-out spice and oil racks on either side of the stove, and a microwave embedded in the island.

A peek inside the island.

There are now racks for cooking ingredients on both sides of the stove.

Here's the microwave garage.

Beer swapped the dining table just off the kitchen with a bar, a mini fridge and custom cupboards—more storage that wouldn’t impede foot traffic.

The east wall was extended to make room for the new bar.

The cupboards here are custom.

A portion of the east wall was extended to add this powder room. Beer brought in modern fixtures, whimsical wallpaper and bubble lights to liven up the space. She also fashioned a vanity from a table crafted by the owners’ friends.

The funky wallpaper in the new powder room is a nice touch.

The vanity is actually made of an old table.

Previously, the sunken living room overlooking the backyard came with a fireplace that blended into its environs. The team turned it into a focal point by adding a dark porcelain-tile floor-to-ceiling surround. “It was a bit tricky because you don’t typically see fireplaces with a massive window above them,” says Beer. The clients also requested that the chandelier be replaced with a fan to distribute cooler air in the summer.

Before, the fireplace disappeared among the scenery.

Today, the fireplace is the star of the sunken room, surrounded by dark porcelain.


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