K+BB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Archive for Kitchen Design

Jul 25 2017

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Bringing Light In

Since I moved to the Pacific Northwest, I’ve seen a number of beautiful designs in my region. Two of our friends have recently purchased homes – one is a new build with an open-concept plan, and another is a renovated 100-year-old farmhouse. Here it can be rainy and cold seven months out of the year, so it’s even more important that our interiors are visually appealing.

The local NKBA Puget Sound recently highlighted some of the most standout designs in their 2017 Design Awards. Designer Shannon Boyle, AKBD, of Seattle-based Elements Kitchen + Bath, worked alongside Vawn Greany, CMKBD, of Mercer Island, Wash.-based Collaborative Interior Design on a coastal kitchen redesign, which won the 2017 NKBA Puget Sound Design Competition President’s Award.

Set on the Pacific Ocean, this view is stunning in the summer and moody in the winter. The kitchen had been renovated in recent years, but the dark cabinetry and low ceilings made the room dim – which is a fatal flaw in an area that experiences a lot of dark days. Boyle and Greany instead transformed this kitchen into a modern space that will be filled with light year round.

The ultimate objective for this kitchen design was to create a cohesive, efficient and open floor plan that works well for entertaining and everyday living.

Challenges: The existing floor plan was very chopped up because of the structure of the home. There were beams and structural posts that created inefficient flow throughout the kitchen and eat-in dining area. The design team added an addition to the corner of the home to square off the space, which allowed them to create a more open and cohesive floor plan. A new beam was also added over the wet bar area and concealed with two new structural posts inside the walls.

Materials: Pulling together a crisp, neutral color scheme of finish materials and layering new LED lighting in a series of pendants and suspended track lighting provides a bright and contemporary backdrop against the Pacific Northwest’s natural elements. Dura Supreme white-painted cabinetry with dark-stained maple cabinetry in the kitchen and a textured laminate cabinet finish were added to the wet bar area. Cambria Britannica quartz countertops create a cohesive bond between all the spaces. Adding Pental Sculpture Nero tile in the wet bar makes a major statement that helps balance the Puget Sound views.

Favorites: “The wet bar and statement tile wall are my favorite part of this design; we took an awkward area and gave it major drama and purpose in the space,” said Boyle. “It balances well with the view of the Puget Sound, so you have 360 degrees of cool views!”

Jul 09 2017

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New York City apartments are notoriously small, but living in small quarters is a growing phenomenon globally. Particularly in larger metropolitan areas, people are looking for less-expensive, more efficient ways of living. One solution is the micro-apartment – a studio space with the optimum minimalist layout.

Designer Ajay Chopra of New York City-based Echo Design + Architecture designed one of these spaces for a client living in Manhattan. The space is only 220 square feet, so the design team needed to make every inch count.

“Architecturally speaking, the square footage was not a lot of space to work with, especially when you’re trying to include a full apartment’s worth of functional features,” said Chopra. “The goal was to create a micro-apartment that appeared far more spacious than it actually is without sacrificing practicalities of everyday living.”

Hidden Kitchen
The team found that the best way to conceal clutter in the kitchen was by hiding it completely behind a fold-out wall, creating that illusion that the space is larger than it really is. Behind the wall, the custom kitchen cabinetry is arranged to maximize space. For example, the door and cupboard panels can be maneuvered to double up as a table.

“This clean, simplified way of living encourages you to only have what you need,” said Chopra. “Beyond that, each element in the kitchen is multifunctional, designed to keep things contained and less distracting while also providing flexible usage for each feature.”

Behind the fold-out walls are small appliances like a microwave, mini-fridge and mini-oven. Outside, the walls in the kitchen are covered in chalkboard paint to create an interactive element and add a personal touch to the space.

Natural Light
Instead of using a regular door that would open out and take up limited space, frosted sliding barn doors were used to divide the bathroom from the bedroom. The sliding features also make the studio space feel more continuous.

“We utilized a white color palette, from features like mosaic tiles to the floating sink and shelving, to make the 5-ft. by 5-ft. bathroom feel clean and open,” said the designer. “The sealed bamboo flooring creates a visual contrast from the white scheme to create further depth in the space and ensure that the white walls really pop.”

These white-paneled walls were also Chopra’s favorite part of the space.  This aspect of the design took the longest to construct because many different modular pieces were incorporated. Even the TV has the same paneling, complete with a 180-degree rotating feature that allows the viewer to see the screen from anywhere in the apartment.

“I love that the dynamic paneling minimizes excess and declutters the space, encouraging the resident to focus on experiences outside the home,” said Chopra. “Working on a project like this has made me rethink the importance of necessity versus excess, while developing an innovative solution to maximize the space that was available.”

May 25 2017

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A Sunny Extension

The homeowners of one turn-of-the-century home in Ballarat, Australia, wanted to still honor their home’s original design, but they had to meet the needs of their growing family.

“The house was too small, and baby number three was on the way,” said designer Mick Moloney of Ballarat-based Moloney Architects. “Our requirements were for a robust family home, but we were challenged by a tight budget.”

To open up the small home and create a working kitchen space, the team added what looked like a “wooden box” to the rear of the home with a glass-covered side. Using low-cost materials like plywood and formply wood, they were able to join the new area to the original home through a connection space. This allows the original roof structure to remain unchanged.

This addition also takes advantage of the sun with its open side. It was important to the clients to have an eco-friendly home, and the sunlight helps to naturally heat up the home in the cooler environment.

“This group of vertical windows captures long shafts of sunlight that reach right to the very back of our central living space,” said Moloney, who worked alongside Jules Moloney on the project. “The space receives plenty of natural light and also has a positive psychological effect of feeling warm and cheery. It makes those chilly Ballarat winters much more bearable.”

Using SketchUp, the team designed a layout that centers around the island. This long island needed to match the openness of the surrounding design, so the team made it completely open underneath.

“We wanted the island to float off the floor – a bit like a piece of furniture with legs,” he said. “Seeing underneath the unit makes the space feel lighter and larger.”

Dark cabinets contrast the prevalence of light-colored wood in the space. These cabinet faces are made from inexpensive black formply, and the rear service bench is stainless steel – perfect for a busy family. The island is topped with Carrara marble for a touch of natural texture to complete the composition.

“Everyday they can have a cup of tea and sit and watch the kids play in the garden,” said Moloney. “It can get down below freezing in Ballarat, and we’ve found the sunlight access here in the kitchen keeps up cheer throughout the winter.”

May 18 2017

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Updating the Twenties

This is certainly the season for show homes – we’ve seen everything from a luxury Hollywood mansion redesign to a high-tech house in Arizona. Another one caught our eye in Lake Forest, Ill., with a fascinating history and a unique kitchen design: the Lake Forest Showhouse and Gardens.

The home is an estate designed by architect Howard Van Doren Shaw, one of the most respected turn-of-the-century architects. Shaw received a nod in the The Great Gatsby as the architect of character Daisy Buchanan’s Lake Forest home.

        The office nook features elegant touches like a ceiling tray and a cozy window seat.

The Historic Preservation Award-winning English country estate is set on more than two acres featuring gardens with bluestone patios, fountains and a large fire pit. The house is a five-bedroom and five-and-a-half bath structure with a five-room coach house and kitchen. The house was built in 1922 as the summer residence for a prominent lawyer named J.O. Hinkley.

Chicago-based designer Leslie Martin of M & M Interior Design redesigned the kitchen in this Gatsby-inspired home for the event. Since this was a historic home, she was only allowed to change certain aspects of the kitchen.

    The heavy wooden island contrasts the white cabinetry around the perimeter of the kitchen.

“We were tasked with working with the existing architecture, but with a kitchen this lovely it wasn’t a tough assignment,” said Martin. “Our goal was to freshen the space and make it come to life.”

She began by painting the ceiling in a high-gloss finish, which opened up the kitchen and made the large room feel even grander. By doing so it also neutralized the space and gave the designer an opportunity to play with color in other areas like the office nook, which features floral touches in yellow and green.

    Tiny details in the cabinetry give the kitchen a modernized version of 1920s character.

The ceiling lights were replaced with pendants that have a modern edge while still remaining suitable for a space with traditional bones. Martin then accessorized the space with a mixture of timeless materials like vintage hotel silver, marble, blue and white porcelain and copper – along with some modern designs like cake plates and lighting.

“Table lamps were brought in for the counter because mood lighting is important in every room, including the kitchen,” explained Martin.

Photography: Anthony Tahlier