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Kitchen Tour: An L-shaped Layout and Neutral Scheme Boost Space

A contemporary new kitchen gets pewter-colored cabinets accented by leopard-print bar stools and dark pendants

Houzz Editorial Staff. Writing about the cost of renovation and what it takes to… More

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Kitchen at a Glance
Who lives here: A family of four
Location: Markham, Ontario, USA
Size: 21.8 square metres
Designer: Soda Pop Design

The backstory: The homeowners contacted designer Cynthia Soda because they were building a house and didn’t love the blueprint for the kitchen. As designed, the room was U-shaped, and the sink stood on the wall that now contains the large window. Also, the kitchen had a much smaller island. “Going this route let us put in a bigger window and a bigger island, and allowed for more worktop space on either side of the stove,” Soda says.

The style: The owners didn’t want an all-white kitchen — by far the most popular colour for kitchen cabinets these days. “They were willing to explore. They picked a pewter colour for both the cabinets and the countertops,” Soda says. They wanted their kitchen to feel clean and contemporary, and were open to the leopard-print fabric the designer suggested for the back of the bar stools.

Darker tones in accent pieces, such as the pendants and bar stools, “help the space pop and give it a little more personality,” she says. “There isn’t much colour, but there’s still that visual texture.” The glass in the highest cabinets helps break up the pewter, and the deeper floor colour provides contrast with the neutral cabinetry and workrtop.

Cabinets: Chervin Kitchen & Bath; floor: Komodo in yellow birch, Preverco, via The Hardwood Flooring Store in Markham, Ontario; ovens: 30-inch Professional Series double oven PODC302J, Thermador

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The layout: An L-shaped layout with a large island was the most functional given the available space, according to Soda. As this floor plan shows, there’s a passageway between the wall ovens and the refrigerator that leads to both a butler’s pantry and a walk-in pantry. Beyond that is the formal dining room.

The top wall shown in this floor plan is the window wall, which as the plans were originally drafted also would have contained cabinetry and the sink.

The hob stands apart from the double ovens and microwave, a preference of the clients, who are frequent cooks. Separating them means that one person can work at the hob while another pulls out a tray from the oven, without getting in each other’s way.

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The worktop and backsplash: Soda used a pewter-toned Caeserstone for the worktop material as well as the backsplash behind the range and coffee station (see next two photos). Because there wasn’t much area that needed coverage with a backsplash, it didn’t make sense to introduce a new material, Soda says.

Worktop: 5110 Alpine Mist by Caesarstone; microwave: Built-in traditional microwave MBES, Thermador

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This photo shows how the “backsplash” that straddles the cooktop zone is simply windows. The dark pendants with a hint of gold add warmth to the kitchen.

Pendants: Matteo Lighting; leopard fabric: LuLu Leopard, Grey, Tonic Living; range hood: PH42GS 42-inch Wall Hood Professional Series, Thermador; range: 36-inch Professional Series Rangetop PCG366G, Thermador

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At the coffee station, the worktop material was also used for the backsplash.

Refrigerator: 36-inch built-in French door bottom-freezer T36BT820NS, Thermador

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Soda likes to use double-decker cutlery drawers, since they nearly double the storage found in a standard single-layer cutlery divider. This drawer is to the left of the refrigerator, beneath the coffee station.

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For the butler’s pantry, in the passageway to the dining room, Soda selected a clay hexagonal tile backsplash. “I like it because it has a little bit of sheen,” Soda says. The homeowners use the butler’s pantry to stow their wines and spirits. Behind it is their walk-in pantry, where they keep their many cookbooks, extra bowls and other kitchen supplies.

Backsplash tile: Clay silver mosaic hex tile, 3 by 4 inches, Ceragres; beverage fridge: Thermador

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What’s number one on your wishlist for a new kitchen? Share your ideas in the Comments section.
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