Kitchen Special: Classic Victoria Home
The design of this Victoria kitchen proves that the views can be just as pretty inside as they are out.
At first glance, you might miss a key design feature in this Victoria kitchen—but that’s no accident. The room’s pièce de résistance is the seven-by-four-foot stainless steel island: set low at 34 inches to accommodate the main cook’s five-foot stature, it’s often a gathering place for grandkids and friends to socialize and cook together. But any clutter is cleverly hidden from anyone in the adjoining living space—a walnut reading bar, set six inches higher than the island, subtly conceals it from view while providing storage for the family’s music books.
The homeowners were looking for a kitchen design that was warm, comfortable and, most importantly, spacious enough to provide room for multiple cooks and entertaining—a wish list that designer Mari O’Meara of Jenny Martin Design has accomplished with aplomb. “They didn’t want anything loud or distracting,” explains O’Meara, who points to the natural materials and the off-white to mid-tone colour palette, both of which are pulled from the living room space. Torquay quartz countertops were chosen for durability, and the bar’s bevelled edge adds detail while softening the look.
A few Old World design elements add to the inviting atmosphere: the warm stone floor features travertine laid in a herringbone pattern; Schonbek hand-cut crystal sparkles on the pendant lights; and a plaster finish on the hood fan, designed by Victoria artist Frances Semple, recalls a look the owners first saw in an old French chalet. Overall, it’s a space that takes the best of the Old World and pairs it with all the modern necessities and plenty of fun for the modern-day chefs and whomever they want to cook with. A timelessly elegant space that’s disguised when it needs to be, and roomy where it has to be. WL
Designer Tips for a Chef’s Dream Kitchen
1. Don’t be afraid to mix and match hardware; while the upper and lower cabinets use a variety of pulls, their antique pewter finish keeps the space tied together.
2. Maximize the depth beneath countertops with pull-out shelving for deep vertical storage, and get specific: this kitchen features a pull-out drawer for bulk foods in the stainless steel island and a swing-out shelving unit that holds the rice cooker.
3. Take storage out of the main room: a separate pantry area holds extra appliances and dishware so cabinets to the ceiling aren’t a necessity.
4. Apply the designer’s rule of keeping 42 inches between countertops, providing ample space for multiple cooks, dishwashers and guests to stay out of each other’s way. (The space was recently put to the test during a party with 60 people.)