Cool and colourful cooking space
Photography by Heather Dunbar Photography
Designing a modern kitchen for this busy family was truly a joy. But, with every project, there are also design hurdles to overcome. Since the main floor flowed from the kitchen into the living and dining rooms, achieving the right flow was key. I never view a challenge as a pain point, but rather an opportunity to create something truly unique and reflective of our homeowner’s combined tastes.
The starting point came when the homeowners agreed to have their upper cabinets painted in a vibrant hue, Benjamin Moore’s Fair Isle Blue. From there, it was just a balancing act of transitioning one design element to the next. I chose darker walnut-stained lowers cabinets that would stand up to the vibrant upper cabinets. A subtle off-white and veined backsplash and countertop paid homage to the white colour applied to the walls. Playing off the bold upper cabinets, we added richness and playfulness by incorporating warm and confident brasses and golds within the lighting choices.
A key component in pulling the room together was finding moments where I could add a natural fluidity. This was especially effective with the pendant lights and their subtle ombre fade from brass, silver to clear. Having a strong metallic accent with this finish added depth and softness to the room’s overall palette, balancing polish with organic elements. This principle of harmonious dichotomies is one of my design philosophies.
The open concept dining room directly adjacent to the kitchen required flexibility between both formal and casual settings, with three rambunctious girls in the household. Starting with a matching bold and brass light fixture, I added a beautiful English brown-stained white oak dining table with clean and natural lines. Mixing the table with mid-century modern inspired leather dining chairs hit the perfect amount of tempered luxury. Adding a matching bench on the opposite side of the table allowed us to emphasize the space without creating a break in the flow.
Lastly, adding an oversized area rug underneath the dining area helped define the space while also echoing the kitchen cabinets’ familiar blue and teal accents.
From the project’s inception, we knew the kitchen would be the home’s natural focal point with its confident hues and bold accent metals. By choosing slightly lower height furniture pieces throughout the space, this seamlessly leads the eye back towards the kitchen from every vantage point of the floor.
Before you fully commit to making significant changes to your kitchen (whether it be bold and dynamic or subtle and modest), make sure to explore the depths of your own palette and understand its flavours. Because ultimately, with design being so subjective, there isn’t a right or wrong. It’s just a question of personal taste and, of course, balance.
Countertop + Backsplash by Baystone Quartz
Hardware by Richelieu Hardware
Faucets from Delta Trinsic
Barn Door from Urban Woodcraft
Upper Cabinet in Fair Isle Blue (CSP-715), walls in Silver Satin (OC-26), trim in Chantilly Lace (OC-65) by Benjamin Moore
Kitchen Pendant lights and dining room pendant lights from West Elm
Dining Table from Pottery Barn
Dining Chairs, Bench and living room sofa by from Crate & Barrel
Carpet by Brayden Studio
Counter Stools by George Oliver
Floor Lamp by Williston Forge
Designer Louis Duncan-He is Creative Director and Principal of Louis Duncan-He Designs. This Calgary- and Montreal-based boutique design firm offers complete residential design services throughout Canada. With a distinct timeless perspective, it creates unified authentic designs. @louis.dhe