4 Design Lessons from 4 Inspiring Kitchens
Four designers turn a functional piece—a hood fan, an island, a pillar and a backsplash—into the star of the show.
Before a renovation, this Vancouver condo had a walled-in kitchen—and that meant the homeowners, avid sports fans, couldn’t see the TV when they were cooking. Removing a wall created a more asymmetrical design, which Chad Falkenberg and Kelly Reynolds of Falken Reynolds Interiors turned into a positive. The lower cabinets mirror the size of the island opposite, including a false door on the lower half of the fridge; the backsplash, designed as a rectangle in a glossy turquoise tile, also creates a focal point, creating balance instead of discord where it sits in relation to the island. (See the rest of this warm, modern home here.)
For this modest-sized home in Calgary’s Elbow Park, the homeowners tasked designer Paul Lavoie to make every aspect feel boutique—right down to the island in the kitchen. “It’s a pattern that’s influenced by a mid-century design that we’d find in breeze blocks in Palm Springs,” says Lavoie. “People often forget about the island—you see a lot of plain waterfall edges. We wanted something that was really special.”
Make the hood fan the star of the show. Budget didn’t allow for custom cabinetry in this Vancouver home, but that doesn’t mean it feels anything less than gorgeous. Instead, designer Ami McKay encouraged the homeowners to splurge on a custom hood fan, finished in a rustic patina that feels both raw and elevated. Paired with the reclaimed wood installation that lines the back wall and climbs up onto the ceiling, the linear kitchen feels like an edgy, contemporary jewel in the room. (See the rest of this industrial-chic renovation here.)
An immovable pillar can often be a headache in an open-space design, but designer Robert Jobes of AyA Kitchens turned it into a plus. The family doesn’t rely heavily on their microwave, so tucking it out of the main work triangle wasn’t a problem. Paired with a spot for a small coffee station and open display shelving for cookbooks and collections, the niche becomes its own functional space within the greater kitchen design.
Designers, Ami McKay, Pure By Ami McKay, Vancouver, purebyamimckay.com; Paul Lavoie, Paul Lavoie Interior Design, Calgary, paullavoiedesign.com; Chad Falkenberg and Kelly Reynolds, Falken Reynolds, falkenreynolds.com; Robert Jobes, AyA Kitchens, Vancouver, ayavancouver.com.