When it came to designing his kitchen, Toronto-based interior designer Diego Burdi wanted a “modern classic oasis.” The crisp, clean lines of the space juxtapose with the heritage façade of his 1892 coach house in Rosedale. “The front of the coach house in historically protected so I retained it and also created a modernist glass box in the back of the house to overlook the ravine,” says Burdi, who is a creative partner of award-winning interior design Burdifilek.
The kitchen, situated in the new addition, is designed as an enclosed room, one that can be opened to the rest of the house when needed. “I designed the room to be segregated from the other areas of the house because I wanted the ability to close off the room when entertaining,” Burdi says. The composition of the elegant minimalist space focuses on two materials, French walnut with a matte finish for the cabinets and Gris de Savoie Italian marble, which covers the walls and floor. “The design process was mostly focused around the user experience and sculptural integrity of the space,” Burdi explains. “I envisioned walking into this sculptural space every day and tried to design for that experience by considering every aspect from usability to integration, such as hidden appliances. The room is calm and serene.” The beautiful space provides plenty of incentive to delve into a recipe or two. The self-professed foodie enjoys recipes from English-Israeli chef Yotam Ottolenghi, and subscribes to the weekly Cooking newsletter from The New York Times for recipes by Mark Bittman, Melissa Clark and Sam Sifton. When in a rush for cooking ingredients, Burdi heads over to the Summerhill Market near his home. “When I want to do a serious deep dive, I go to Fiesta Farms for produce, Cumbraes for specialty meats and cheeses and Nadege for my sweet tooth.”
A serious home chef needs serious kitchen accessories, and the designer has hunted for unique items, such as the coffee maker from Wilfa, an iconic Norwegian brand established in 1948. “It makes the perfect cup of coffee every time, and is always a great conversation starter,” he says. For unique finds, Burdi loves to browse online magazine Food52’s shop and the shelves of Hopson Grace, a stylish tabletop and giftware store his firm worked on. It’s where he picked up his trusty oil carafe. “It pours oil without a drip,” he says, an important feature for the room’s immaculate surfaces, particularly the extravagantly large island, with its minimalist stainless steel sink and polished chrome faucet with integrated spray and spout from Dorm Bracht.
“I wanted the island to be the focal point for cooking and entertaining,” he says. “When I’m in town, it seems like everyone always ends up at my place on the weekends.” Now, during the summer season, the barbecue tends to see more action than the range. Burdi’s go-to grill recipes tend to be “easy and quick,” he says, “followed by a good bottle of Chablis.”
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