The Love Song of Eddie Corner
A Caledon kitchen celebrates café culture and contemporary design.
‘I have measured out my life with coffee spoons.’
TS Eliot, from The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
Measuring out her life in coffee spoons comes naturally to Eddie Corner. As co-owner (with her husband Dave) of Erin’s The Shed Coffee Bar, she doesn’t like to bring her work home with her, but it’s hard not to. Everything in the kitchen of the couple’s Caledon home, from the framed T.S. Eliot quote on the wall to the open shelving filled with coffee cups, is a celebration of café culture. Two years ago Eddie and David decided to renovate the kitchen of their nine-year-old house, and coffee and its accoutrements just naturally became a major theme in the inviting new space.
On a counter that opens to the living room sit an enormous coffee grinder and a portable espresso maker called The Rocket. Beside the kitchen window there is a French press, a percolator, a drip coffee machine and a smaller grinder. Mugs and coffee pots line the shelves. It’s a place to cook and entertain and – clearly – to drink coffee with friends and family.
“We wanted the space to be rustic and natural combined with a contemporary edge,” says Eddie. But it also had to be functional. “I really wanted my kitchen to work like a restaurant.”
The reclaimed flooring of four-inch-wide chestnut-brown fir provides a rustic touch, as do the honed granite counters and the old barn beams opening onto the main living area. Shaker-style cabinets in maple and stainless steel, plus streamlined open shelving lend a contemporary edge. The Corners’ kitchen has all the trappings of an upscale home kitchen – Thermador appliances, including a four-burner gas range with centre grill, refrigerator and dishwasher, as well as microwave, convection and warming ovens. “I wish I had a dozen warming ovens,” says Eddie.
But the pièce de résistance, the feature that gives the kitchen the feel of a real working kitchen, is the oversized industrial-style sink, which makes cleanup a breeze. “When we’re entertaining,” says Eddie, “we have big trays and other things the sinks can handle easily.” A second prep sink overlooks the living area within easy reach of the main work area – a granite and butcher-block island in the middle of the room.
“The island is my favourite feature,” says Eddie. This is where she and David do most of their food preparation. Although her heritage is Portuguese, Eddie’s preferred palate is Italian. “I make all of my own soups and sauces,” she says, “and we use the same recipes at The Shed.”
An accomplished cook Eddie is also no stranger to design. Before moving to Caledon, where her two daughters Lauren, 8 and Victoria, 5 were born, she studied visual merchandizing and worked as a display designer at Simpsons and a retail designer at Banana Republic, eventually getting a job at the Art Gallery of Ontario retail store. The kitchen concept and layout are her own vision. Karry Kitchens of Brampton gave her the technical help to realize her dream, as well as sourcing such materials as the reclaimed flooring and barn beams.
“We shape our dwellings, and afterwards our dwellings shape us,” reads another framed quotation on the kitchen wall, this one from Winston Churchill. And it’s easy to see how the words sum up the Corners’ kitchen.
“David and I see food as much as an art form as something you consume,” says Eddie, and indeed this is a place where form meets function every day.