Built for the growing years
A touch of the exotic in a child-friendly kitchen
By Margaret Anne Fehr ,Photography by Duality Photographic
It wasn’t just a whim that prompted Les and Debra to dive into a complete re-do of the kitchen in their Linden Woods home. In fact, the 20 year old kitchen had pretty much given up the ghost with sagging cupboard doors and peeling linoleum that signalled for help sooner rather than later. Add to the mix, two toddlers who are constantly on the go and you get the picture. This renovation had to be approached with an eye to durability, child-friendliness, and the capacity for outstanding storage.
Debra was particularly displeased with the previous cabinet layout that only had room for one person at a time. “It was very frustrating for two adults trying to prepare a meal and two small children underfoot. It really was an unworkable kitchen.” XYZ Design and Accord Cabinets were the go-to professionals for this young family and soon plans were underway to correct the multitude of design and traffic flaws within the space. The couple borrowed some inspiration from Les’ family who had spent a great deal of time in Asia. As a result, Les had developed quite an appreciation for bamboo and teak wood. Debra says, “We asked Donna from XYZ Design about installing bamboo flooring in the kitchen. She went one better and suggested we go with bamboo cabinetry as well.” The choice of bamboo pleased not only Les and Debra but also Dmytri and Sergey of Accord Cabinets. The material was new to both partners but they soon found that the bamboo was very easy to work with, provided a beautiful natural grain, and was highly durable. The kitchen was outfitted with bamboo for the lower cabinets that were finished with a clear coat lacquer and whitewashed laminate uppers that extend right up to the ceiling for maximum storage potential. Stainless steel pulls were chosen for their contrast value and sturdiness. The touch of the exotic was re-introduced into the backsplash, a combination of glass block and ceramic tiles that are textured with a subtle bamboo motif.The kitchen island incorporates a double sink, dishwasher and a counter overhang that gives clearance for two stools, with extra wide bases to allow for the couple’s toddlers to clamber up to the counter without toppling over. The laminate countertops on the island have been edged with Caesar stone for increased durability and resulted in significant cost savings. Debra appreciates that all the cabinetry drawers are equipped with safety hardware that glide closed slowly so that little fingers don’t get caught unawares. A corner space that was previously occupied with a kitchen table and chairs has been converted into an office workspace and looking ahead will be a perfect spot to do homework, once the children start school, says Debra. As for storage, Debra is thrilled with how a re-working of the cabinetry layout has resulted in twice the space of the previous kitchen. She is especially pleased with the series of pantries that Accord built, all equipped with roll-out drawers and “surrounded with little ‘fences’ so the kids can see what’s in each roll-out platform without everything coming out.” Another Debra favorite is the cupboard with a flip-up door situated above the refrigerator that extends fully to the back wall for storage of less used items. “I’ve got space that hasn’t even been used yet. We actually have room to grow and it was done without the addition of extra square footage or needing to move walls in the process.” Debra is enthusiastic about the final result and gives Accord Cabinets an off-the chart rating of 12 on a scale of 1 to 10 for their workmanship and professionalism. “You couldn’t ask for better!” Dmytri and Sergey were pleased with the final result since it provided them with the opportunity to work with new materials on a contemporary project. Dmytri adds, “It gives us a chance to extend our range of styles and to challenge ourselves. It was very rewarding.”