March 6, 2011

Breaking Down Barriers

The ideal open-concept kitchen is a clean, contemporary, approachable room, a place for the cook to conjure up meals while continuing to enjoy a conversation with family and friends.


What could be better than a kitchen designed especially for you, with all the right appliances, lots of counter space and storage, perfect lighting and a place for everything? A kitchen that is both functional and beautiful, where you want to spend time, create special meals, and share precious time with family and friends.

Almost every home today is planned around an open concept kitchen. Usually the kitchen is on view from the adjoining eating area, family and media room. The trick to having an open concept kitchen is to have a place planned for everything so that the usual clutter on kitchen countertops is avoided.

I like to make the back wall a focal point and to make it look less “kitcheny” I remove the usual overhead cabinets. This concept gives the kitchen a clean, contemporary feel. To accommodate the lost storage space in these overhead cabinets, I incorporate full-height rollout pantries to house all the items that were previously stored in the overhead cabinets. Rollout pantries are a more efficient use of space and allow everything to be more visible and more readily accessible.

The back wall of the kitchen is now bare and allows it to be treated as a focal point. In the picture below I tiled the wall full-height with beautiful polished travertine marble and hung a floating stainless steel shelf on which to display a collection of oriental pottery. An eating counter was incorporated in this kitchen for quick meals and gatherings around the food preparation. Best of all, an island concept allows the cook to be part of the flow of conversation in the adjoining dining and media area.


In this open-plan kitchen in False Creek, Patricia Gray has removed the upper cabinets and incorporated roll-out pantries in a beautiful furniture-finish wood cabinet. A built-in and plumbed Miele coffee machine was incorporated into the pantry with a drawer below to house coffee cups and utensils. Above the coffee machine, a Miele microwave has been cleverly concealed behind a door that slides up for easy access. Gourmet food preparation is facilitated by a state-of-the-art induction cooktop with a built-in convection oven below.  Roll-out pantries eliminate the need for overhead cabinets. They slide out easily and everything is in full view and readily accessible. 



This kitchen was designed with no overhead cabinets. This concept makes the cooktop a focal point and gives it a clean, contemporary feel. A wall of full-height pantries is located directly adjacent to the island work area, with slide-out drawers behind full-height doors that easily accommodate everything that is usually kept in upper cabinets. A built-in panelled Sub-Zero refrigerator is also in the wall of this pantry. The slab of granite behind the kitchen cooktop is like a beautiful piece of artwork.

Attention to detail is what makes a unique and functional kitchen design. A wine rack has been incorporated into the end of this teak kitchen island, above. Stainless steel drawer organizers, top, keep utensils in view and easy to find.

Patricia Gray is an award-winning interior designer whose projects have appeared throughout Canada and the U.S. as well as in Japan, Singapore and Africa.

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