A Little Slice of Harmony
By Christina Freeman
Free-flowing European design. Photo by Kat Walsh.
By Suzi Mitchell
Awarded first place for best small kitchen in the 2014 National Kitchen and Bath Association Design Contest, this kitchen remodel by Bartolini Kitchens exemplifies engineered functional and contemporary design.
Built in the '70s, the townhome located at the base of a mountain retained its original rustic finishes. The kitchen was separated from the rest of the living space by walls and cabinets that hung from the ceiling. “The owners were in search of a functional and balanced interior complimenting the natural exterior of the mountain views,” explains designer Ellen Ladley.
Contemporary functional design is an emerging trend, filtering its way into the Yampa Valley. The driving force is a desire for simplicity and user-friendly living space. Nowhere in the home have changes been so apparent as the kitchen.
“Days of a closed kitchen door where cooking was simply a necessity, have gone. Today the kitchen is the hub of a home. In a smaller space, the design must balance functionality and aesthetics,” Ladley says.
Key to this redesign was an open floor plan. With soft white wall colors, the kitchen was differentiated by cabinet finish – smoky brown pear and line design. The soft grain of the sequentially matched laminate on the doors and panels contrasted, but still complemented, the rustic view of the mountain.
Every cabinet has increased functionality. The microwave is built into a pantry cabinet with hideaway doors and a lighted workstation, for the owner's unseen use. A large, 36”-wide cutting board pulls out from the counter surface to add extra workspace. The base cabinet doors extend above industry standard to conceal the counter. Although different depths, all cabinets are on the same plane, within at least a 24”-deep dimension. The exposed appliances have matching handles.
Two colors, white and gray, define the pure and simplistic style. White created luminosity, while the abundance of natural light highlights the gradations of gray.
“The kitchen area became a clean-lined, unobtrusive yet attractive pocket of function,” Ladley explains. The space oozes a calm and balanced energy, transforming it into the perfect retreat.