Designers Dish

At the new Jenn-Air Experience Centre in Toronto’s design district, the creative chatter flowed.

At a recent candlelit dinner celebrating the season’s harvest and the King East Design District Festival, more than a dozen of Toronto’s top interior design minds talked shop. The setting was Jenn-Air’s new Experience Centre, the premium appliance maker’s first showroom in Canada, and a collaboration with Toronto designers Glen Peloso and Jamie Alexander.

(from left to right) Tanya Rentzos, Designer and Vice President of Programs of the National Kitchen & Bath Association, Ontario Chapter, Glen Peloso, Designer and Co-founder of Peloso Alexander Interiors, Anna Rentzos, Certified Master Kitchen & Bath Designer and Owner of Andros Kitchen & Bath Designs, Jamie Alexander, Designer and Co-founder of Peloso Alexander Interiors

(from left to right) Tanya Rentzos, Designer and Vice President of Programs of the National Kitchen & Bath Association, Ontario Chapter, Glen Peloso, Designer and Co-founder of Peloso Alexander Interiors, Anna Rentzos, Certified Master Kitchen & Bath Designer and Owner of Andros Kitchen & Bath Designs, Jamie Alexander, Designer and Co-founder of Peloso Alexander Interiors

The showroom is attached to the Peloso Alexander Interiors studio and doubles as a meeting space for other designers and their clients. The dinner—and this new space—are prime examples of the new spirit of collaboration in the industry. Designers are increasingly comfortable working with fellow creatives and suppliers to deliver a range of expertise to their clients. “The industry is changing,” says Michelle Major, of Foxglove Design Inc. “People used to be more guarded about their suppliers and their projects. Things have relaxed a lot, all these businesses are collaborating and it’s a win-win for everyone.”

Before dinner was served, the designers—Anna Rentzos, Shai DeLuca-Tamasi, Andrew Pike, Yvonne Whelan, Karl Lohnes and others—congregated around stovetops and leaned against cupboards, dispensing nuggets of what’s hot in kitchen design: steam ovens are big in Vancouver, bottom-mount freezers are well-liked in France, black fridge interiors, like the Jenn-Air Obsidian, are popular.

(from left to right) Andrew Pike, Senior Design Director at Andrew Pike Interiors and Anna Rentzos, Certified Master Kitchen & Bath Designer and Owner of Andros Kitchen & Bath Designs

(from left to right) Andrew Pike, Senior Design Director at Andrew Pike Interiors and Anna Rentzos, Certified Master Kitchen & Bath Designer and Owner of Andros Kitchen & Bath Designs

Then, once seated around an expansive harvest table for a multicourse meal by chef Daniel Janetos, of Chopped Canada fame and Meranda.Kitchen in Liberty Village, the designers freely dished:

Glen Peloso: Individual client needs remain paramount. Unique, not packaged, and not cluttered are important tenets. We work with hopes, goals and aspirations. We’re designing for the way you live. Everything has a purpose.

Jamie Alexander: We aim to hide the kitchen in the kitchenscape. We bring function and beauty together. Function has to be beautiful. People have an attachment to their home because it is a reflection of who they are. They want something that is impressive in all ways and we want that for them.

Anna Rentzos: People tend to stay home more, gather more often with family. I’m European, we’ve always gathered in the kitchen. And when families get together, everyone likes to help in the kitchen, and that’s where different workstations come in.

Major: The kitchen counter is a big decision for people. What are the pros and cons of quartz versus granite? It’s important for the countertop to have little maintenance. Quartz doesn’t absorb red wine, soy sauce, so you don’t have to worry about it. It’s the times we’re in right now, everyone is busy, going, going, going.

Rentzos: Open concept continues and will continue to continue. White is very much in. Grey is still in. Taupes are coming in—I’m not talking about brown-taupe, more grey-taupe. Colour combos depend on the homeowners and their personalities. I ask questions: Are you right or left-handed? Do other members of the family help in the kitchen at gatherings? Does your husband cook? Then I put two or three colour combinations together as options. If you’re flamboyant you’re more likely to take a leap and do a two-tone kitchen. If you’re more reserved, you may experiment with a uniform colour, but put an accent on an island. It’s like if someone says you look good in a dress, you have to feel good in the dress.

Whether you’re a homeowner planning a new dream kitchen or a designer looking for modern inspiration, the Jenn-Air® Experience Centre provides the perfect opportunity to experience Jenn-Air® appliances in a luxury setting. Learn more about the Jenn-Air© Experience Centre.