Image: Krista Jahnke
How one bachelor, two kitchens and three cabinetry styles add up to a handsome hub in this Richmond, B.C., home.
Count on West Coast designer to welcome a challenging space. Faced with decorating an awkward two-part u-shaped kitchen in the 3,400-square-foot home of a young bachelor, she didn’t flinch. “The house is a new build with a fixed layout. I didn’t have the luxury of removing walls, selecting the location of the island or deciding on the footprint of the prep area,” says Tanya. “So, early on, I realized I was going to have to get creative with finishes.” Her goal was to impart a lived-in look, but to do so in a way that would be dramatic and masculine. It couldn’t be strictly culinary since the homeowner likes to entertain but rarely cooks. Tanya’s approach paid off.
Here are her top takeaways for getting the look.
1 COVER WALLS IN SUBWAY TILE
Why stop at the backsplash? “Floor-to-ceiling subway tiles make a big statement but don’t cost a fortune,” says designer Tanya Krpan. “Plus, they’re easy to wipe clean, which keeps the room looking bright and pristine.” From a construction point of view, they’re hassle free: “You don’t have to worry about transition points,” she says. “You simply cover every exposed surface.”
2 MIX AND MATCH COUNTERTOPS
The island is the room’s showpiece, so Tanya went all out with a marble slab countertop. “But for everyday durability, I chose coordinating quartz for the perimeter. It lets you cut a lemon or spill wine without rushing to wipe it up,” she says. The smoky blue veining in the marble complements the slate cabinetry.
3 DARE TO ADD DRAMA
A wall of dark cabinetry proves that visual contrast is a must. It’s divided into sections – there’s the refrigerator, a display cabinet and a bar area – allowing kitchen tasks to blend with relaxed entertaining. Guests simply sidle up to the bar for a drink or lean on the island to watch the game (there’s a television built into the cabinetry as well).
4 CREATE A SPACE FOR DISPLAY
Glass cabinet doors reflect sunlight from the windows and showcase tableware and vases. Tanya lined the back of the cabinet with Calacatta marble tiles to mirror the island. “Since it was a small space to cover, marble was affordable to us,” says Tanya. Her tip: “Watch for blow-out sales on remainders. You can save a lot that way.”
5 INCLUDE STORAGE DRAWERS
The everyday cooking zone in the main kitchen is all about ease. Pots, pans and bowls are under the cooktop, easy to grab quickly – something that’s essential for the homeowner’s no-fuss meal prep. And since the drawers are so roomy, there’s no shuffling and stacking to be done, which makes the clean-up dance way more efficient.
6 COLOUR-BLOCK THE CABINETRY
The island is a gathering place, so Tanya selected warm wood for both its base and the bulkhead above. To define the cooking zones, while uppers were chosen for the perimeters of the main kitchen as well as the butler's pantry. For casual ambience, a bank of moody soft-black cabinetry was added; it features an integrated bar and television nook.
7 ADD RUNNERS TO RUNWAYS
A vintage runner on the bar side of the island lends an old-world touch to the brand new kitchen. “It marries the various cabinetry colours, and softens the hard surfaces and sharp corners in the room,” says Tanya. The rug has a worn, lived-in look, so the homeowner needn’t worry about wear and tear. Plus, its motifs are busy enough to hide the occasional spill. Tanya also placed a sisal runner along the sink side of the island to contain splashes and spills.
8 HIDE THE MESS
For those who love an open kitchen but dislike having a mess in full view of the living area, a butler’s pantry is a dream solution. Let the sauce splatter and the pans pile up! Tucked behind a door at one end of the kitchen, it’s the perfect spot to hide the happy chaos of making holiday meals.
9 SUSPEND LIGHTING WITH STYLE
A bulkhead is a design multitasker; it hides stray wiring, provides warm contrast to the metal lighting and emphasizes the island, transforming it into a destination. The geometry of the pendant lights is classic yet current. “The hexagons are compelling, and these are oversized, which further sets off the island from the rest of the kitchen,” says Tanya.
10 OPT FOR INTEGRATION
Seamless placement of a wall oven and microwave, and the use of a cooktop and an “invisible” refrigerator let the room’s finishes – not its appliances – take centre stage. “This makes the main part of the kitchen look less cluttered and feel less utilitarian,” says Tanya. In contrast, the hard-working butler’s pantry, which is tucked behind a French door, is served well by a slide-in range.