Clients' Dream Kitchen Becomes Functional Reality

Clients' Dream Kitchen Becomes Functional Reality

By Barbara Capella Loehr

The owners of this redesigned kitchen were experiencing the latter problem, according to Beverly Leigh Binns of Pickering, Ontario, Canada-based Binns Kitchen + Bath Design, who was charged with making sense out the owners' ideas, hopes and dreams.

"Like many homeowners today, they had leafed through glossy magazines filled with photos of kitchens, and knew that there were many possibilities for their little space. They just didn't know where to begin, as the space was in need of a lot of help," explains Binns.

Indeed, the kitchen was very dark overall, as a result of a "dull," charcoal-colored backsplash, poor natural light, harsh fluorescent, artificial lighting and a lowered ceiling treatment that read like gray, painted aluminum siding.

Additionally, the kitchen had a generally "disjointed" feeling, adds Binns. "It was as if it had been pieced together by several past homeowners," she says. As a result, nothing truly matched or fit quite properly.

For example, "the clients had to move their table away from the wall to use it properly, and then push it back against the wall when they were done so they could walk through their kitchen again," she explains, citing the lack of storage and countertop space as the culprit for the overall cluttered feeling the kitchen conveyed.

"The clients dreamed of a bright, contemporary room, with more efficient use of space and storage.

It was also important to maintain table-height seating for themselves, as well as for their young daughter," explains Binns.

With the kitchen criteria cohesively outlined, Binns set forth to turn her clients' dream into reality.

However, the old kitchen had several inherent design flaws that she first had to tackle. These included removing the divider wall to the left of the dining room doorway to open up the space; removing the old ceiling treatment to increase the ceiling height; removing a small window on the cooktop elevation, which faced a neighbors' brick wall, to better utilize the wall space; moving the original refrigerator location to the opposite side of the room to utilize the depth of that wall, and replacing an existing solid exterior door with a glass-framed door and a new larger window to bring in more natural light.

Once these were addressed, Binns focused on turning the biggest liability of the original kitchen design into the new design's biggest asset. As she explains: "Because of the location of the entrance into the kitchen from the hallway, there was not enough space on one side of the kitchen for the standard-depth cabinets. But, by stepping in the cabinets on both sides of the sink elevation, the attention is drawn away from this awkward situation. The wall cabinets above the sink were also made into a feature by stepping them in and using custom, aluminum-framed, glass doors."

These custom cabinets are highlighted by integral task lighting below, and include an integral hanging rail system beneath.
According to Binns, the maple wood cabinetry is complemented by SieMatic' Lascala door style and a Golden Sunset finish. "A contemporary feeling was created by using [this] modern, Shaker-style door finished in a very natural stain," she says.

Custom cabinetry options in the form of a pantry with four internal, roll-out drawers, a pull-out spice cabinet, tall upper cabinets and a bank of drawers with a cutlery divider were installed to increase storage and function.

A custom stainless steel tambour unit for the microwave completes the contemporary feel of the cabinetry. This door features an automatic shut-off switch that disconnects the microwave immediately if the door is rolled down while the microwave is in use, notes Binns.

To extend the contemporary feel of the cabinetry, Binns installed ochre-colored DuPont Corian countertops around the kitchen, and incorporated a bone-colored DuPont Corian tabletop. "The countertop was used to bring in a soft touch of color into the room. The bone-colored, built-in table, along with the bone-colored painted trims, provided contrast against the chocolate-colored walls," she explains.

The cabinetry and countertops lend contemporary aesthetic value and provide the owners with the increased storage they so desired. And the tabletop created by extending the base cabinets to the right of the a 30" gas Miele cooktop at an angle solves the kitchen's original seating dilemma and breaks up the long and narrow feel of the space, elaborates Binns.

The designer also installed a bevy of other stainless steel appliances, such as a 24" AEG Competence oven; a 36" Miele stainless steel hood with integrated lighting; a 30" stainless steel Amana refrigerator with a bottom freezer; and an 18" stainless steel Miele dishwasher.

A Franke undermount, stainless steel sink with a KWC DOMO brushed nickel faucet completes the kitchen's function.
Safety features that also complement Binn's design and add to the ambience of the new space include low-voltage, recessed lighting and the application of non-slip, 12"x12" Cromlech Rosso porcelain tile to the floor.

"The clients of this 'big, little kitchen' are more than happy with the new layout of the space," remarks Binns. "They have a brighter, more open-feeling kitchen with ample countertop and storage space, as well as a room that reflects their lifestyle and a space in which they enjoy spending time."