• February 25, 2020

DESIGN SPOTLIGHT: OLD WORLD KITCHENS

Featured in: Bright Timber-Frame Farmhouse Kitchen Renovation

Our clients have a large family, there are always tons of kids and grandkids running around and their kitchen was at the heart of it all. They needed something that was not only a beautiful fit with their traditional farmhouse home, but functional. This high-traffic space was the command centre for daily life and it had to have the capacity to store a million little bits and bobs out of sight.

Interacting with the client and seeing how they use their kitchen, where they place their dishware, what appliances they access regularly, the struggle-to-reach spots or areas that can’t stay uncluttered–these everyday clues are crucial to designing the perfect tailor-made kitchen.


Kitchens Are All About the Details

Once we created a hand sketch and 3D model of the kitchen, we went to Old World Kitchens and Custom Cabinets and their team of CAD drawers to create the detailed spec design. When you’re designing kitchens, the details are more important here than anywhere else in the house. Choosing the correct type of mould on the door, the type of kick, handle, crown, these details have a huge affect on the overall look and so it’s important that when you pair up with a cabinetry company that it’s a company you can trust 100%. One of the things Old World Kitchens really prides themselves on is that the drawings you sign off on are exactly what is delivered and installed in the home. 

Another special element our team and Old World Kitchens had to navigate, was that with a timber-framed home like this, you have to work around the timbers. These weren’t faux timbers, but real, structural cedar beams, and this can sometimes mess with the symmetry of a home. So in this case we tried to balance the kitchen, despite it not being perfectly symmetrical, and Old World had to work around these kinds of challenges. That’s why we didn’t carry the cabinets all the way to the ceiling, we had to leave room for the timbers to pass through the house. 


A Fresh Take on Traditional

The homeowner originally came to us wanting a much more traditional kitchen. And so we worked with them to find a way that the kitchen could feel both traditional and current. The perimeter of cabinets is a classic beaded shaker, but then we used soft greys on the hood fan and the island to keep it fresh and updated. Pro Tip: The hood fan is always an opportunity to add a bit of personality to the kitchen. And although this isn’t the most lively hood fan, it still does add a lot of sculptural interest. If we had done it in white, it would have blended in, so doing it in the soft grey allows it to be more of a statement piece. 


Functional Fixes

The homeowners didn’t want plates and glasses stored in upper cabinets, so our design included a ton of kid-accessible drawers below. We wanted the bistro area to be a functional space for all for breakfast, so we incorporated a new coffee maker and a speed oven on the left for record-setting toast. Wine storage, a secondary dishwasher (for breezy entertaining) and barware storage found their home in this section too. Everything has its place, behind cabinets and drawers, to make the kitchen look perpetually clutter-free. 

We even hid an appliance garage in the cabinets to keep the blender, toaster and other assorted chunky appliances out of sight until the family needs them. Even the fridge and secondary dishwasher are disguised behind panel doors. 


Elevating the All-White Kitchen                                                       

When our clients want a white kitchen, we’ll incorporate different tones and twists so it doesn’t fall flat. In this kitchen we used glass panels in the upper cabinets and lit them from within. Adding glass into any kitchen adds interest, but it also means you don’t walk into this big wall of white. And when the seasons change, the homeowner can set up different holiday decor pieces behind the glass to change the look and make things feel festive. Varying tones of soft grey and a two-toned marble chevron backsplash give this white-forward kitchen a bit of edge. 

Pro Tip: Too-plain kitchens are a nightmare to keep clean. You can make your kitchen look cozier, more inviting (and hide a lot of everyday family mess) by using pattern backsplashes or textured marble/quartz countertops. 


Let There Be Light

This home was truly a traditional home (with an updated palette!), so for lighting we opted to use industrial-inspired fixtures—like the circular steel wheel and Edison bulb chandelier above the bistro table by Ralph Lauren, or the big bubble glass pendants above the island—which is another way to make a traditional home feel slightly more current.  

Made in Canada

All the custom-made chairs in the home, including the kitchen, the dining room, and the dining table itself, were all made by a company in Montreal. We try to get as many pieces as we can from within Canada.  

Design For How You Live

This married couple, they’re newly married, they have a growing family, relatives with young kids who visit often, plus four dogs, multiple cats, horses—they even a pet pig—so it’s a family that really uses the house. And yet this is what the kitchen looks like with daily wear and tear. We did this photo shoot after they had already been living in the house for two years, and it looks exactly the same as the day the renovation was complete. That’s the power of good design, and why it’s important to pay meticulous attention to how people use their space.  

For more on Old World Kitchens & Custom Cabinetry, check out their website at oldworldkitchens.com.

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