February 10, 2017
La dolce vita
Italian style comes home to the kitchen with Solterra’s contemporary Milano highrise
By Kathleen Freimond
Solterra Development Corp. president Gerry Nichele drew on his Italian heritage to inspire the kitchen designs in the company’s 30-storey, 176-home Milano highrise in Burnaby.
Born in Northern Italy, Nichele visits once or twice a year and when there, he often tours local factories, design shops and fabricators, always searching for new interior design ideas and inspiration.
He asked Phyllis Lui, Solterra’s in-house interior designer, to introduce Italian cabinetry and plumbing fixtures to the kitchen designs for Milano to differentiate it from other developments.
The dual-tone cabinetry gives the small kitchen a contemporary style and introduces a sophisticated esthetic to the two-bedroom, 800-square-feet condo, says Lui.
The kitchen is sited on a 13-foot 8-inch (4.2-metre) long wall and features imported cabinets with a high-gloss acrylic finish in a warm grey complemented by Italian melamine used for the lower cabinets and island. Taking advantage of the vertical height, cabinetry stretches from the floor to the 8-foot 8-inch (2.6-metre) high ceiling.
A bi-fold system opens the top cabinet doors, enabling easy access to the lower shelf while the top shelf provides storage for less frequently used items.
The cabinetry conceals the major appliances giving the wall a continuous appearance, providing an uncluttered backdrop for the condo’s living area. The Liebherr refrigerator and the two-drawer freezer (with ice maker) are behind a grey integrated panel, while the 24-inch (61-centimetre) Blomberg dishwasher beside the sink is concealed by a wood-look panel. The hood fan is also integrated,
The ceiling-high windows and the large patios give the condo an airy feel and the wide-plank Kentwood Evoke Series laminate floor throughout the living area and kitchen gives the whole space a cohesive look, says Lui.
“Just because you live in an apartment doesn’t mean you have give up on stylish and sleek finishes.” Phyllis Lui
“There are track lights in the kitchen plus LED under-cabinet illumination that looks really pretty. It serves a double function, providing both ambient and task lighting,” she adds.
Meanwhile, the white quartz countertop and full-height backsplash provide an elegant contrast to the dual tones, and the Italian chrome faucet adds a designer touch to the under-mount sink with in-sink waste disposal unit.
Milano is located on Alpha Avenue, two blocks south of Lougheed Highway and the Brentwood SkyTrain station. Its proximity to the Brentwood Mall, currently undergoing a major redevelopment, Madison Centre with its Save On Foods, and a new Whole Foods in the nearby Solo development, provides easy shopping opportunities for area residents.
Groceries bought on these shopping forays can be prepared using the 36-inch (91 cm) Fulgor Milano, five-burner gas cooktop with stainless steel hood fan. Alongside the cooktop is a 30-inch (76-cm) Fulgor Milano wall oven and a Panasonic stainless steel microwave.
The 70-by-25-inch (1.8 m by 64 cm) island provides a great additional work surface and six deep drawers for extra storage. The island also anchors a fold-up dining table extension, finished in the same horizontal wood grain Italian melamine as the island.
“The table is a really efficient use of space. If you need the extra dining space it’s easy to flip up, and when you don’t need it, it is not taking up floor space,” says Lui.
Ultimately, she says, “Gerry Nichele wanted the kitchens to reflect Italian craftsmanship and have a sleek and upscale look.”
That design direction was successful: the kitchen is finalist for a Georgie Award in the Best Multi-Family Kitchen – New.
Why it Works
Going wide: The wide plank laminate flooring used throughout the living area enhances the open-plan concept and makes the space appear larger.
Space saver: The fold-out table provides a convenient dining table when required, but doesn’t take up floor space when it’s not in use.
Cool contrast: The contrast between the white countertops and the dual-tone cabinetry enhances the contemporary design.