Photography: Donna Griffith | Styling: Ann Marie Favot
With a soothing palette, herringbone flooring, brass accents and worldly touches, this cuisine would have Julia Child jealous.
“We did it all without a designer!” enthuses homeowner Jennifer Stewart. It’s hard to believe, but this avid baker created the kitchen of her dreams with zero previous design experience. “Two tall windows and two doors (one to the basement and backyard, the other to the hall) meant an awkward space with almost no storage,” she says. “Plus, it was very generic in style.” So, with design ideas at the ready, she sought out a contractor. “Only one asked for my Pinterest page,” she says – and he became the one. Together, Jennifer and contractor Nathan Armstrong-Whitworth turned the kitchen into a celebration of Euro-fresh functionality. “I adore cooking, and I have the tools to prove it,” says Jennifer. Floor-to-ceiling cabinetry means there’s a place for everything in the stunning design. But perhaps the pièce de résistance is something you can’t see: hidden speakers installed in the ceiling. “I love to get up early, put on music and bake pies,” says Jennifer. “Now I have the perfect place to do it.”
“I really wanted a white oven,” recalls homeowner Jennifer Stewart, but she says it was difficult to find a nice white one. Instead, she opted for a stainless steel version. Worried that the finish would “suck all the air from the room,” Jennifer had it fitted with a custom white door and echoed the block of white with a nostalgic white apron sink and the home’s existing, perfectly functional white dishwasher.
The exposed copper plumbing was inspired by a restaurant Jennifer and her husband visited while vacationing in Spain. To keep it in concert with the rest of the kitchen, contractor Nathan Armstrong-Whitworth searched intensely for the perfect brass hardware. “The difference between custom and cheap hardware is huge,” he says of his hunt for the ideal quality and patina. Brassy stools beneath the island echo the finish.
Lush greenery enlivens the kitchen’s grey and white palette. Jennifer and her husband are also avid gardeners, so it was only fitting that they flex their green thumbs inside with herbs lining the windowsills and potted plants in front of every window. “I love how they pop against the grey finish,” says Jennifer.
To enhance the natural elements in the room, Nathan fashioned open shelving from a walnut tree cut down by an arborist in Fort Erie, Ont. “I love to create things,” he says.
Laid in a herringbone pattern, the porcelain floor tiles were picked for their ashy wood tones, while the wide planks deliver a more modern spin on the old-world classic. Another time-tested design: the subway tile walls Jennifer had admired on a trip to France. “They extend from floor to ceiling for continuity – I’m not a fan of sudden termination points,” says Nathan. “The more continuity, the better.”
The custom light fixture was totally worth the splurge because it completes the room. Its warm metal piping echoes the exposed plumbing, while its grand scale accentuates the high ceiling and the show-stopping island, with its dramatic zinc countertop and brass corners. Leggy brass-toned bar stools below the island reiterate the fixture above.