Part 1 – Rice Residence, Toronto

Part One – Rice Residence, Toronto (PDF)

  • Andrew

    John: My initial reaction is to reverse the kitchen and living room. Have the “public” side of the house all open with the kitchen at the front, the dinning room where it is currently and a living room at the back. The larger space at the rear has more options for furniture layout and such. Have only the dinning room for eating, no need for two eating areas. The front would lend itself to a nice galley kitchen layout.

    The complication could be the entry way. Moving the stairs further into the house would create a real entry space, but that is complicated and likely not within the budget.

    I’m enjoying these segments.

  • John Brown

    Andrew, Good idea! That was my first thought as well.

    I think that locating the living area adjacent to the rear exterior living space is almost always the most advantageous thing to do. Putting the kitchen at the front of this house is a smart idea, particularly so because of the view out the back.

    I encourage you to draw out this idea on the demolition plan that we are releasing in tomorrow’s post. If you send me a pdf of your design to ( we will put it up for everyone to look at and comment on. Don’t worry if your drawing isn’t perfect. As you can tell from my videos, you don’t HAVE to know how draw well to be a good designer. You just need to know how to THINK like one – and that is what you are doing based on your thoughtful ideas.

    Now… Let’s take this discussion to another level.

    Consider what would you suggest if the client’s budget, which currently includes new furniture, does not allow such a large scale movement of the kitchen? If we know what the ultimate design proposal should be – what is a second, less ambitious, option? Although I didn’t mention it in the brief, the Rice’s finished their basement a couple of years ago (right after they got married). This makes the relocation of the plumbing very expensive because of the newly finished drywall ceilings.

    I think it is responsible practice to always show a client at least one option that meets the criteria of the design brief as well as any “better” ideas you might have (particularly if it is more expensive). I would also recommend that you have a strategy for how you can adjust the scope of work to make the “better” option more affordable.

    In this case, if the Rice’s really liked the more drastic option we could suggest that they could either postpone the purchase of new furniture, eliminate(or postpone) the scope of work in the master bathroom / bedroom, or increase their budget (as a last resort).

    Thanks for your thoughtful contribution to the design exercise.