An Entertaining Kitchen Stores Bright Ideas

New Canaan, CT— For a family that frequently holds large gatherings with business associates and family members – gatherings that can include as many as 150 people – a well-designed, well-lit kitchen is essential. Unfortunately, the original kitchen that the New Canaan, CT-based True North Cabinets was called in to remodel was neither. The design team at True North Cabinets quickly realized that the space needed to be completely revamped in order to transform the old, inefficient space into the hardworking kitchen the client wanted.

Although the kitchen clearly needed an update, the client wanted to be sure the space would continue the timeless, elegant feel of the rest of the home. Accordingly, the designers decided on a traditional style with Edwardian accents.

Providing plenty of work and storage space was also paramount to the new design. Taking the kitchen from a dark and oppressive area that lacked personality to a brighter, more efficient room was no easy task, but the design team was up for the challenge.

Great Island Adventure

To address storage and countertop space needs, and update the overall look of the space, an island was created using Lyptus wood for its durability and aesthetic appeal. This helped to facilitate larger prep and staging areas while creating much needed extra counter space.

Additionally, this allowed for added storage space located close to the double oven and cooktop. With a vegetable basket and placemat drawers opposite the sink, and places for pots, knives and utensils close to the cooktop, this island provides a foundation for a more functional and aesthetically pleasing kitchen.

The island, however, reduced the floor space available for a kitchen table. This challenge was overcome by extending the length of the island to incorporate an eating area at the end of this island. Adding post legs with rosettes to the end of the island creates a stylish, more updated look.

While the placement of the refrigerator and double oven previously created a problem, this was addressed by swapping the appliances and moving them closer to the dining room door.

The Sub-Zero refrigerator was chosen expressly to blend in with the cabinetry. However, a problem arose with the height of the ceiling in relation to the new appliance. Along the back of the wall where the refrigerator and pantry would now be positioned was a dropped ceiling duct that had to be built around. Luckily, the newer model of the appliance was 4" lower than the previous model, and just cleared the bottom of the duct. The firm created notches in the backs of the pantry, the double oven cabinet and the uppers to hide the duct, as well.

The Miele dishwasher was also designed to blend seamlessly into the cabinetry to enhance the clean lines of the space.

A Viking integrated warming drawer was placed beneath the wall oven so meals can be kept warm when the client’s busy schedule causes unexpected delays. The warming drawer is also a boon for entertaining.

A Viking undercounter oven was also designed into the space to assist with entertaining, since the client needed to be able to cook large quantities of food in a shorter period of time during gatherings.

The designers also divided the work space of the kitchen from the dining room with pocket doors that can be left open, or closed off to shield against any distraction.

A Place for Everything

Another new feature of the remodeled kitchen was a tall pantry cabinet detailed to match the built-in refrigerator with decorative fillers and flip up X panel doors at the top. Added at the far end of the room, this storage space was created to keep hungry children clear of the kitchen’s working area. It houses cereal, canned food and bulk items. A second pantry was built beneath the stairs to the left of the double oven for baking supplies, and features slots for cookie sheets and trays.

Between the refrigerator and the pantry cabinet sits the center cabinet, used to store extra dishes. A new space for the toaster and coffeemaker sits beneath the center cabinet just across from the island seating area. By eliminating clutter caused by the lack of storage space, the area is now able to be used as a breakfast servery.

Several of the cabinets were framed by X mullion glass doors that flank the sides of the cooktop’s paneled hood. Along with the details of the island, the refrigerator, pantry and message center, the accents draw the look of the room together.

Conveniently placed in the corner between the patio door and family room entrance is a new message center with a flip up pocket door over the phone docking station. The center was built so this door could be kept open for easy daily access, and closed when entertaining. The closed cabinets above create more storage for the message center essentials, and the open niche at the top transforms the look of the piece to something lighter at the same time as it creates cookbook storage.

The decorative fillers and X panels were repeated here to produce an integrated look, the design team notes. The space of the remodeled kitchen was 15.5" by 16.5", but with the extra storage space added to eliminate excess clutter, there is a feeling of greater spaciousness, the designers further note.

Into the Light

Lighting played an integral part in the kitchen design, since lack of light was a significant issue with the original kitchen. To address lighting issues, a chandelier from the previous kitchen was reused over the island, while valance lighting was placed under the upper cabinets, helping to shed light onto the perimeter countertops for food preparation needs. Creating even more light in the space, new recessed ceiling lights were installed. Dimmers and three separate switches for the 4" recessed lights were strategically placed around the room, creating the possibility of mood lighting.

The color theme also added a light and airy feeling to the space, with a soft cream paint with glaze brightening up the once muted tones of the kitchen. For the island, countertops, walls and floor, a sunnier tone was utilized as well. The warm look of the cabinets, countertops and walls create a welcoming atmosphere and transform the original kitchen’s oppressively dark look into a well balanced, well illuminated space, the designers conclude.

For more about this project, click here.