February 10, 2017
By Kathleen Freimond
Renovating and updating a family home built in 1949 presents a unique set of challenges: Respecting the architectural history and the family’s emotional ties to this Kerrisdale property were always top of mind for Denise Haddock, interior designer and granddaughter of the first owners.
“The original kitchen was very small, but it was always at the heart of family celebrations. I wanted to keep those memories and design a new kitchen where the family could enjoy meals and holidays together,” says Haddock. “I was able to discuss the drawings and plans with my grandmother and she encouraged us to blow out a wall and enlarge it, so it had her blessing.”
Now owned by Haddock’s parents, the kitchen was part of a one-year whole house renovation by Upward Construction & Renovation.
Inspired by a contemporary West Coast esthetic, Haddock wanted a design for the 240-square-foot (2.6-square-metre) kitchen that was open, bright and functional, but that also included warm wood tones. An engineered walnut hardwood floor throughout the main level anchors the design and plenty of storage space in an adjoining walk-in pantry and four large, ceiling-high cupboards eased the need for extra cabinets in other parts of the kitchen.
“We didn’t want the kitchen to appear top-heavy, filled with upper cabinetry so the only upper cabinets in the kitchen are high and shallow [in height]. Instead we used floating shelves and this keeps the space light and airy and gives it the clean look we were aiming for,” she says.
That clean look is enhanced by the white quartz countertops and the high-gloss white cabinetry. Custom designed by Haddock, who wanted something different to basic casework, the upper cabinets are finished with a band of textured white oak laminate that matches the lower cabinetry. Instead traditional lower cabinets in the kitchen, Haddock’s mother opted for drawers only, to maximize functionality
The drop ceiling above the kitchen island provides another opportunity to use the white oak. “When there are no walls, I like an architectural feature to define a space in open concept plans,” explains Haddock. Similar features, also with LED cove lighting, are repeated in the dining room and again in the living room to create a sense of design continuity in the four-bedroom home.
Once the cabinets and countertops were in place, Haddock revised the design for the backsplash. “My grandmother’s kitchen was a buttercup yellow and we originally planned to include that colour in an updated way, using back-painted glass cladding. But when everything else was in place we realized it wouldn’t work because it didn’t tie into any of the other finishes as we had hoped,” says Haddock.
She decided to combine two different 12-by-24-inch (30-by-60-centimetre) tiles. “I wanted the backsplash to have some texture so we used matte tiles and two courses of glossy tiles with a raised geometric pattern. It’s one of my favourite features in the kitchen,” she says.
With a nod to family tradition, the kitchen was designed to accommodate several cooks at the same time. “We knew that there would be multiple people in the kitchen when we had family events so we needed enough space for that to happen,” Haddock says. To achieve this, extra space was allowed between the island and the perimeter.
The kitchen is a winner with the family; it also received a nod from the Georgie Award judges, who named it a finalist in the Best Single Family Kitchen under $100,000 category.
Why it Works
Bright and beautiful: The white quartz countertop is maintenance free and the waterfall edges on the island and peninsula contribute to the modern design.
Cool and contemporary: The wine cooler in the peninsula opens in the dining room. This makes good use of an otherwise awkward space and it’s easy to access drinks without going into the kitchen.
Continuity counts: The white-oak wrapped dropped ceiling ties in with other design features in the kitchen and also works with two similar features in the dining room and living room.