As shown by this Ottawa, Canada, kitchen, downsizing does not have to mean compromise. Completed by Nathan Kyle of locally based Astro Design Center, the design of this new-build home circled around the planning of a dream kitchen and its proximity to the historic Rideau River.
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With two grandparents as clients, Kyle began with a blank site they chose close to the river and close to the rest of their family. The kitchen was built with windows on both ends to show off the view and open up the space, which needed to embrace an open concept and include a small dining area.
“We designed the house around the kitchen, so it was fairly easy to put in the elements that we wanted,” said Kyle. “The challenge was trying to make the space tailored enough to make it feel like it’s a dining room, when it’s really a dinette.”
Instead of a separate dining room, the kitchen holds a table for four and an island with plenty of storage, space for two bar stools and an unusual color. The blue color, which draws inspiration from the nearby river, provides the focal point of the space.
Because the island was so wide, the installation of a butcher-block element was added to avoid an obvious seam in the quartz countertops. The butcher block, placed at the bar end of the island, instead gives the impression of an intended change in countertop material.
“The butcher block addresses the seam location, and it’s curved so it gives it a little more space,” said Kyle, adding that the island’s carved posts give the island another touch of interest.
A hidden microwave drawer pairs with open cabinets for cookbooks and other décor on the island, making it seem more like a furniture piece than cabinetry.
Around the kitchen’s perimeter, off-white cabinets keep the focus on the pop of blue in the island. Light gray counters, juxtaposed with crème counters on the island, help to further highlight the blue cabinetry. Above the island, two decorative bell pendants lighten the space and bring in a touch of country appeal.
“The pendants do tend to have that country charm, which brings in a simplified approach,” said Kyle. “Doing something with less hardware but large enough in scale balanced out the island without compromising the look of the weighted chandelier over the dining table.”
This country style is also expressed through details like the tongue-and-groove paneling in the ceiling and beadboard paneling in some of the cabinets. The box filler on the base cabinets and tall cabinets adds to the appeal, which is enhanced by extra molding details.
These minute elements have functional aspects as well. In the tall wall that holds the integrated refrigerator, an open shelf offers room for bigger, more decorative pieces of dishware. Hutches on either side of the fridge make the cabinets seem less utilitarian and more decorative.
“The hutches do serve several functions,” said Kyle. “On the left side, the space is a beverage station for juices, pops and beers. The right-hand side is for additional counter space and also a display area for laying out food.”
Set next to the refrigerator and close to the entrance, the extra prep space is perfectly situated for taking heavy things out of the fridge. Backed by a mirrored backsplash, this prep and display area keeps the river in view no matter where the cook stands.
“It’s just the little details that give this kitchen a little bit more of a refined finish,” he added.
Backsplash: Custom Marble Mosaic, Astro Design Centre
Butcher Block: Astro Design Centre
Cabinetry: Astro Design Centre
Countertops: Caesarstone Quartz
Hardware: Top Knobs
Lighting: Pottery Barn