Meet Lynn Thomas
Designer • Gardener • Nature lover
Lynn Thomas was living in an old Rosedale building when she decided to look around for a newer home. The criteria were pretty specific; she wanted to be convenient to work, have at least one bedroom and a den, be on a main floor, be surrounded by mature trees and easy access to nature. The moment she saw the listing for a condo at the Savoy, she knew she had found her home. That was 2015 and Lynn hasn’t looked back since.
Lynn is an independent kitchen and bathroom designer with clients across North America. As a millwork specialist and remodeler, Lynn works with her clients to create spaces that meet their needs. You can check out her work at www.kitchencreative.ca
Kitchens represent one of the more complicated redesigns you will probably ever do. Planning a kitchen redesign involves plumbing, electrical, and sometimes gas lines; appliances, fixtures and lighting, as well as work, storage, entertaining and family areas. Kitchens are the hub of the home where we spend more time doing more activities than anywhere else in the home. For today’s design options that can sometimes mean taking down walls and opening up for a completely open-plan environment. And because they are so often the central gathering spot for family and friends, we want them to be showhouse-beautiful as well.
There’s a lot at stake when you’re re-designing a kitchen. Although it sounds like a lot of decisions about “things”, Lynn thinks it really starts with people. Lynn begins every new project by getting to know you and how you work in your space. It’s important to understand what your needs and wishes are. Only by understanding this can the process begin with a new kitchen layout.
“The design process starts with understanding my client’s needs – how they live, flow, lighting, etc. Just because your current kitchen is laid out a certain way doesn’t mean that is the most efficient use of space for you,” says Lynn. “In fact, builder basic is more often a reflection of what was the easiest and cheapest for the builder to build, not the most efficient use of space.”
“Notice I haven’t even begun to talk about style?” says Lynn. “For style ideas, I ask my clients to come in with what I call “idea pictures”. These are examples of what they like (it may not be just kitchens). There may not even be an easily discernible style to the shots, but I can see the commonalities. That’s when we talk about style.”
“I don’t have a style preference. I’ve been in this business for over 20 years in both Canada and the US. I’ve seen all the styles come and go. It’s really about what you like and how you work in your space.”
“Budgets come next. Kitchens are the most lived in room in the house, they are also the most expensive room to do. Because I’ve been in the business for so many years, I know what basic budgets are by style and function. It will be a significant investment – kitchens can’t really be done cheaply.”
Lynn draws her strength from nature. She loves forest-trail hikes and horticulture and currently participates in the gardening committee at the condo – she got the committee to start annual planting days in the spring and fall for all the lovely gardens.
“Nature is my go to. I love nature in all her forms. Pre-covid I’d often travel to the beaches in the Caribbean. Although I’ve been to most of the islands, I love St Lucia the best. I’m an avid sailor and have gone out on two different tall ships along with race nights from a local club,” says Lynn. “I’m originally from Brampton and Huttonville. I went to high school in Streetsville, so I’ve been around Ontario waterways and nature for most of my life. The only time away was when my husband and I operated a large design and architecture business in Raleigh, North Carolina.”
“I feel fortunate. I’ve been able to travel a fair deal and have seen a lot. I’ve chosen to live here. I love this neighbourhood. It’s convenient, the parks are all around us, the Shops of Don Mills are an easy walking distance and most importantly, I know my neighbours. That’s something you don’t get in every neighbourhood.”