November 5th, 2012

Before & After: Kitchen Modern Makeover

Portfolio Project #2:  A long Narrow Space goes from Vintage 80′s Traditional to Modern

The client purchased a home from the 80’s with a pink on pink Traditional Interior. Her no.1 request was to get rid of ALL the pink and replace it with a more neutral, warm colour pallete inspired by a picture of a space with large limestone slab floors and clean contemporary lines.  It wouldn’t take much to turn this space into something more contemporary. Fulfilling her storage needs, creating a layout that married the 3 spaces without it becoming wallpapered in cabinets and providing for seating for 6-8 in the kitchen however would make this renovation project a bit of a challenge.

The Kitchen presently existed in just over half of the space with an eating nook/dining area in the rest of the space.  The peninsula at the end of the Kitchen created a boundary, dividing the space into two separate rooms.  The lighting did the same.  The Family Room is off to the right.  The client wanted a better flow between the Kitchen, Eating area and Family Room and a more open feeling to the space.

Note the standard Millworker Kitchen layout.  Start with angled glass door cabinet in the corner. Place cooking  area to one side and preparation and clean-up to the other.  The cooktop ends up stuffed against the short wall that backs onto the dining room with no landing space on one side which isn’t a workable solution for an avid cook with young children. The client wanted a cooktop and double wall ovens and the short return wasn’t suitable for the contemporary style she wanted. She did want to keep the sink centred on the window.  This left the work triangle close to one end of the Kitchen.  Not necessarily a bad thing when you cook a lot. Keeps steps short and the gang out of the cooking zone.

The client also wanted a larger French door fridge, and pantry as well as wall ovens and microwave.  A landing area would also be required on this wall because the opposite counter was a bit of a reach away The build-out was part of the main floor Bathroom and so the layout in that room had to be considered as well.  The entire house was being renovated so we had flexibility in moving plumbing and walls. Everything pink had to go…and EVERYTHING was presently pink.  Although the client wanted something more Contemporary, her style would be described as Modern since she had a sensible Form Follows Function mentality and a preference for natural materials and design details along the style of the Modern Period in Architecture.

The Plan:

Changing the window from a wide horizontal rectangle to a long narrow one, allowed for tall pantry storage at the end of the room and was more suited to the Modern style.  Going to a 15 inch depth on these cabinets allowed for storage of bulky items without the need for roll-outs.   To increase workable counter space and reduce the distance to the other wall, I made the preparation area countertop deeper.  This not only created more counter space but also kept the faucet from being jammed up against the window sill.  The other benefit of having a deeper sink cabinet is more space to get the sink gear and a good sized waste bin underneath.

The horizontal line of the backsplash tile also added to the long contemporary lines and using a darker colour made the wall a cohesive and balanced focal point. The upper doors are made a bit longer than the cases to eliminate the need for handles and double as a light valance for the under cabinet lighting.

The Result:  Classic Contemporary Space with clean lines and a warm welcoming feel.

The table will be a live edge wood slab table with matching bench on one side and  additional chairs on the family room side to accommodate the seating requirements. The client wasn’t going to compromise on the table so it is in the budget for later once they recover from the cost of buying and renovating their home.  Since the table is to be a work of art, selecting the perfect slab of wood to go in this room also wasn’t to be rushed.  The lighting was installed in anticipation of the future long table.

To maintain the long, lean contemporary lines, I used aluminum metal channels instead of face hardware except on the tall pantry doors.  The rift cut cherry veneer slab doors also created a contemporary look with a warm feel without having too busy a grain to detract from the long horizontal focus of the room.  The floors are a look-a-like porcelain tile which is less costly and non-porous but achieves the look of limestone slabs just the same without the worry of staining and maintenance.  The porcelain selected had very clean edges so we could go with a really tight grout joint, giving the floor an almost seamless look. This is important because there is so much floor and we wanted it to compliment the room and not take over it visually.

The white quartzite countertops create a clean plane that doesn’t contend with the texture of the cherry veneer and backsplash tile.  Going with custom cabinets, allowed use of every inch of space because the cabinets could be made any size desired.  Designing the drawers to be 2 shallow drawers on top and an extra deep drawer on the bottom allowed for much more usable storage for utensils, large pots and smaller items like strainers and containers needed in the cooking and preparation zones.  The stainless steel chimney style hood canopy reinforces the contemporary style and mirrors the stainless steel appliances in the rest of the space.

The Fridge and Oven Wall gets a functional make over making use of every inch.  The microwave gets tucked away out of the main work zone leaving valuable first use cabinetry space available near the sink.

The finished Modern Kitchen satisfies the client’s desire for an open airy kitchen with a warm feel and high functionality. In keeping with the Modern style, the cabinets have clean lines, natural materials and a furniture aesthetic.  Although this Kitchen was tailored to this particular client, it makes use of classic details and well designed storage making it a Kitchen any family would enjoy with the added benefit of only being able to determine the Kitchens age by the appliances manuals.

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