by HOLLY CRAWFORD
THE KITCHEN has always been the heart of our homes, but many of us have spent more time at home—and in our kitchens—in the past year than we ever thought we might. What once was a cooking and gathering space, is now as often used as a workplace, classroom and video call stage. What kind of kitchen are we looking for now? The answer to that question is as varied as are homeowners. Here are three distinctly different kitchens, each with their own unique style and appeal. The one thing they have in common? Not a single one is white.
A RICH GREEN SHADE
One of the movements in kitchen design has been a return to colour, and certainly a return to colour on cabinetry. If you love a bold shade in your home, this may be the kitchen for you. Designed by West of Main for Eq Homes, this kitchen scheme began with the rich green cabinet colour: Essex Green by Benjamin Moore. “Our goal was to create a boutique-style kitchen that blended traditional as well as modern elements together. We started by selecting a deep warm green cabinet colour and everything fell into place from there,” says Sascha LaFleur, West of Main co-founder and principal designer. West of Main is an award-wining, Ottawa-based design firm providing complete residential and commercial design services.
With plenty of storage space provided by a walk-in pantry, the plan could afford to eliminate upper cabinets on the stove wall, creating the space for an impactful feature, and another emerging element of kitchen design: the feature range hood. “We created a feature wall by including a 60-inch hood, mixing white subway tile and marble backsplashes, and added some decorative wall sconces for a touch of glam,” says LaFleur.
To balance the side of the kitchen without upper cabinets, the wall where the refrigerator resides was completely panelled for a seamless appearance, accomplished beautifully with floor-to-ceiling cabinetry.
A mix of materials highlight the deep green cabinets even further. “To break off the deep cabinet colour, we designed some thin, black metal glass doors for one of the cabinets and used the light wood finish found on the island and hood fan on the interior to create contrast,” she says. “We added glass-front cabinets to break off the weight of a full, closed look cabinet wall. The glass allows for the interior melamine wood to tie into the wood on the island.”
The ideal accompaniment to the green hue, brass finishes are showcased in the faucets, knobs and lighting. Making a statement above the island is a pair of geometric Morris Lanterns by West of Main in brass. “The silhouette perfectly blends the traditional and modern details we had created within the kitchen,” LaFleur says. “Although oversized, the pendants don’t disrupt the look of the kitchen since they are mostly glass, which allows them to cast beautiful mood lighting.”
A MODERN STATEMENT
FOR THIS HOMEOWNER, the kitchen needed to make an exquisite impression as the backdrop to the main living area, combined with incredible function to satisfy a love of cooking and entertaining. Gwen Krieger and Mary Jane Ridley of Blue Hat Studio worked on the project from its inception. Blue Hat Studio has been transforming interiors for more than 35 years. Along with architectural firm Red Studio, they were able to maximize the footprint of the kitchen to make the space everything the homeowner dreamed of.
The choice of black on black finishes is certainly statement-making, but Krieger approached the colour choice like a wardrobe staple; you can never go wrong with a little black dress. “The homeowners really liked the idea of a dark kitchen, a black kitchen. They were really open, and we worked with The Scavolini Store, Toronto to distill their ideas into this completed vision,” she says. Based in Italy, Scavolini has been designing and manufacturing high-quality, innovative products for 60 years.
“The space is divided into a presentation side of the kitchen, and a prep side. You can see the presentation side from the rest of the space, but all the work and mess are kept just around the corner in the working area. This homeowner loves to cook and spend time in the kitchen, so the working area is carefully planned to give her everything she needs.”
Integrated appliances by Gaggenau are tucked sleekly into the Scavolini Liberamente cabinets (finished in NTM Indo Black by Fenix), while integrated lighting was planned to illuminate niches for display and work and highlight the texture of the backsplash (Liquorice Seta Laminam porcelain). While all of the elements may be of similar colour, they each add a layer to the design with subtle texture, including Nero Assoluto honed granite, sourced from a local supplier.
To keep the entire space seamless, the Scavolini Liberamente cabinets were installed right up to the ceiling, and remaining walls were painted out in Benjamin Moore’s Wrought Iron (2124-10). A full wall of cabinets provides the homeowner ample space to store dishware and seasonal pieces, as well as hiding pull-out drawers to tuck away her workspace at the end of the day.
To incorporate a natural element, the warmth of wood was brought into the space via the dining table. “We love the idea of a combination of black and warm wood,” says Krieger. “The table was in our concept from very early on. Because there is no separate dining room, this eat-in space had to be exquisite. The island was narrowed to accommodate space for the Karl Hansen table, as well as the Wishbone chairs.” Both were sourced from Hollace Cluny.
“This kitchen is the entire width of the home, and is visible from all sides, so it had to be a show-stopper.”
A BOLD RANGEHOOD & BACKSPLASH
WITH A HOMEOWNER who wanted a kitchen with incredible functionality as well as enough style to be an entertaining hotspot, designer Diana Rose created bold effect with high contrast. Rose is the principal and creative director for GTA-based Diana Rose Design.
The first focus was total function and lots of hidden storage to keep this open-concept kitchen looking tidy. Inside the cabinetry reside built-in spice racks, garbage pull-outs, lazy Susans in corners and deep drawers beneath the Wolf cooktop to store pots and pans. “Integration of all details is the key in kitchens,” says Rose. “The homeowner also wanted to have a raised breakfast bar to visually hide the cooking mess on the counter level. This way when they are entertaining, the guest at the bar can still be a part of the conversation, but not a part of the cooking mess.”
The other part of the design brief was to create a visually-appealing space where guests would want to gather, so Rose designed a “star” element that would anchor the space. “It is important to pick the element that will visually be the anchor and hold the composition together. In this case, I went with Obsidian Dark from Benjamin Moore on a custom-built range hood with chrome inserts. It also echoes the colour on the island,” says Rose.
Another statement element of the space has to be the striking quartz backsplash and countertop. The bold veining of “New York Marble” sourced from Lucent Quartz is a departure from more subdued surface choices. “High contrast in materials and colours was used multiple times throughout this kitchen to create bold effect,” Rose says.
“A combination of black and white stone, gray cabinetry against black wall sconces—even the contrast in finishes in plumbing and lighting fixtures—work together to create the finished look.” To avoid blocking the view with upper cabinets on the sink side of the kitchen, they were eliminated altogether. Instead a stone ledge adds a textural touch, as well as a place to display small items.
To warm up the combination of black, white and gray, a warm cognac was introduced in the bar stools. “It really helped to achieve a timeless vintage vibe,” adds Rose.
Lighting is also an important aspect of this kitchen design. “We all know that parties revolve around the kitchen island,” Rose says, “this kitchen can go through a transformation with strategic lighting. The fixtures range from pendants to cabinet lights, under counter lights, wall sconces and dimmable LED pot lights. The lighting scenes, blinds and built-in speakers are controlled by a Control 4 System for easy use and flexibility to creating the desired atmosphere at any given time.”