By Adriana Ermter
Photography by Ryan Fung
“During the 1970s, in a woodshop in a small town in Poland, Walter Guzda began creating and selling one-of-a-kind, hand-crafted furniture. Each of his pieces were special and thoughtfully handmade using only the best quality materials — he was a big believer in ensuring his wares would last a lifetime. Fast-forward 50 years, and today Walter’s humble beginnings and years of putting his heart and soul into creating exceptional pieces have culminated into Flexwood Fine Cabinetry. The company, run by Walter’s son Martin Guzda, specializes in custom kitchen, bathroom and interior-living-space design, and they service clients in the Greater Toronto Area. “My dad passed his craft and remarkable craftsmanship skills on to me,” says Guzda. While Walter remains involved, Martin has been at the helm of the family business since 2008. “We’ve evolved over the years,” he says. “But our tradition of quality and family pride is still the same. We only produce products that we’d use in our own homes.”
Guzda’s philosophy on his materials and work is especially evident in one of Flexwood Fine Cabinetry’s latest design projects — a two-storey home in the Mineola neighbourhood of Mississauga, Ont. Located near Port Credit, south of the Queen Elizabeth Way and north of the Lakeshore, this five-bedroom, eight bathroom transitional-stye abode sits on a quiet and picturesque street. Its prestigious area is highly coveted for its proximity to the lake and amenities, and for its exclusive, custom, multimillion-dollar real estate. “You can walk to restaurants, bars and shops, which gives the area a real European vibe,” says Guzda. “Plus, the homes here have big lots and are very high-end and desirable.”
Equally desirable is Guzda’s work, which is featured throughout the home’s sprawling 9,000 square feet of living space. From acrylic-and-wood panelled walls and a custom-made wine cellar to divine bathroom vanities and his use of metal, glass and fluted detailing, Guzda’s sophisticated touch can be seen and felt throughout. This is especially true deep in the heart of the home — in the kitchen.
“It’s about the details. I get excited about uniqueness. We’re never cookie-cutter. I put my thoughts, ideas, skill and craftsmanship behind our projects.”
Clean and chic in aesthetic, and drenched in cool white and grey hues, the 500-square-foot space offers more than just a place to cook — it’s a marvelous work of art. Here, tinted glass, mirrors and solid metals merge. Two pantries are anchored with integrated LED lighting, appliances are panelled to match the cabinetry (creating a seamless look) and the waterfall kitchen island is draped in a combination of natural quartzite stone and painted wood. “It took us three months from start to finish to create the kitchen, and I really enjoyed putting everything together,” he says. “We worked with different materials, so the space has intricate details that you don’t see every day.”
These details include two spice drawer pullouts on either side of the cooktop for easy access and adjustable shelving with a non-slip base for practicality. Guzda added a servery between the dining room and the kitchen, complete with a sink and a countertop for additional capacity and convenience. There’s stunning cladding on the staircases and walls instead of wainscotting for a unique hit of luxury, and LED lighting was subtly incorporated around cabinetry and the fridge for softer ambiance, giving off a pretty, framed effect. The fluting detail incorporated into the kitchen’s top drawers has a reeded design that catches the eye. “It looks like a routed-out pattern,” says Guzda. “Like an architectural column from the Roman period.”
Not only do these bespoke elements set Flexwood Fine Cabinetry apart, but they are also deeply rooted in the company’s history — Guzda’s father was always so meticulous when it came to his intricate work. Now, together, the pair, along with their team, have the knowledge, experience and ingrained craftsmanship — be it for budget, design plans or renderings — to provide clients with any design style in any room of any home.
“The first thing we do is identify how we can make it happen, from function all the way to the materials,” says Guzda. “And then, it’s about the details. I get excited about uniqueness. We’re never cookiecutter. Our projects, this project, was something I put my thoughts, ideas, skill and craftsmanship behind.”