Today, it’s an extra space where he can entertain family and friends, but tomorrow, it may become part of an in-law or income suite. So, although he wanted a bar-style kitchenette for himself, he needed to think bigger. “It’s a small space but I don’t know who’s going to be using it in the future. My kids and I will be using it for the next few years, but at some point we might move my mom down there, or I might want to rent it out for extra income. Basically it needs to be able to serve anybody, no matter what stage of life.” But knowing what he needed, and actually making it happen, were two different things. So Andrew enlisted the help of project manager, Scott McGillivray, and designer, Jacqueline Kay, to help design and execute a fully functional kitchen that would fit into the space and appeal to whoever may use it in the future.
Because the kitchen is part of an open concept space, a quartz counter was installed in a waterfall style in order to streamline the overall look. The counter extends 12” inches off the outside of the island in order to accommodate extra cabinet storage and four stools underneath. So not only does the counter serve as a practical work surface, it becomes an eating area and eliminates the need for an additional table. In this small space every inch counts. “Quartz is one of the most popular counter materials on the market right now,” adds Scott. “It’s very durable and will last for many years, so it’s well worth making the investment.”
When it came to the appliances there was no question that stainless steel was the right finish. “Stainless is contemporary, clean and soft – perfect for this space,” says Jacqueline, who never even considered another finish. Andrew had some concerns about smudges and cleanliness so they went with a new Smudge-Proof stainless steel that greatly reduces pesky fingerprints. “What’s best about stainless is that is works with every color palette, so if Andrew decides to change things up later he won’t need to replace the appliances.”
Since Andrew wanted his space to look a little more high-end than the average basement kitchen, he opted against a traditional tile backsplash and instead installed a single piece of Quartz. “I’m not one for a lot of frilly finishes, and I like the clean, elegant look of this stone.” The result is a take-notice focal point that looks sophisticated and blends seamlessly with the rest of the space.
“One of my favorite features in this kitchen is the sink,” says Andrew. Not only is it “huge”, it has graduated ledges on the sides so you can fit its custom cutting board, colander, dish pan and drying rack – either one at a time or several at once. “Big sinks are trendier than double sinks for sure,” says Scott. “But they’re not always practical. This one works because it turns the sink into a functional workstation and saves tons of counter space.” It also helps keep your counter clean and free of clutter.
The idea of an appliance garage appealed to Andrew for a few reasons. “I hate having small appliances out on the counter, but I hate moving them around almost just as much.” With this set up you can leave the most frequently used appliance(s) plugged in right on the counter at all times, and simply close the doors when you’re done using them. “Make sure you have the outlet set on a relay,” cautions Scott. In order to meet electrical codes the power has to shut off when the doors are closed.
A soft, neutral palette was never in question, but with so many light colors in the space, the kitchen ran the risk of looking too airy. To keep the kitchen from looking like it was floating away, dark cabinetry was used for the base of the island as a way to add visual weight and ground the space.
Like with any kitchen, storage was high on the list of priorities. “Because it’s a small space we didn’t want to bog it down with upper cabinets, so we used single door panels below the counters and hid multiple drawers within each.” There’s also plenty of storage hidden in the island – including space for the microwave.
For this modern, streamlined kitchen, simple hardware with a clean silhouette was necessary. But to keep it from being boring, handles with a subtle geometric design were chosen. When it came to the hinges, soft-close were installed on all the doors and drawers. Since this is a space meant for entertaining, and it will be heavily used by both kids and adults, it was decided that soft close was the way to go for minimizing both noise and stress on the cabinets.
The best way to make a neutral palette pop is with a hint of color – not in the major pieces that can affect the value of the home, but in the little touches that are easy to switch out. In a room that tends to get busy and cluttered, a neutral backdrop sets the stage for colorful dishes, beautiful packaging, and of course, the great meals you’ll create.
For a complete list of construction and design materials, services, and trades used in Andrew’s kitchen please visit the source guide.
1. Cabinet Door Finish – Slate Grey Walnut and Clay / Cabinet Interior Finish – Classic Maple / Door Style: Manhattan, AYA Kitchens 2. Cabinet Hardware – Swagger, Brushed Nickel, Uptown Appeal 6-3/4”, Berenson 3. Frigidaire Professional Appliances: French Door Counter-Depth Refrigerator, Dishwasher, Electric Front Control Freestanding Range, Stainless Canopy Wall-mounted Hood, Countertop Microwave, Frigidaire Professional 4. Quartz Waterfall Island, Counter and Backsplash – Ella, Cambria 5. Prolific 33″ x 17-3/4″ x 11″ under-mount single bowl kitchen sink with accessories, Kohler 6. DVP13621 Claire pendant, DVI Lighting 7. All Décor Accessories, Homesense / Paint: Walls – OverExposed P5243-24 (Eggshell) and Trim – JoJo White PF17 (SemiGloss), Para 8. Architect Counter Stool White, Sunpan 9. Floor: Looselay vinyl laminate planks – Senso Lock Bridge, Gerflor
Inside Appliance Garage (not shown): Die-cast Smart Toaster and Barista Express Espresso machine, Breville
Don’t put too much stock in trades who give free estimates over the phone. A plumber or electrician can’t properly diagnose an issue unless it’s in person. A free estimate given over the phone is likely to go up significantly once he or she is on-site.