Stylish Kitchen Tour: Walnut Countertops, Blue Cabinets

Laura and Jason’s vision for their newly renovated kitchen and living area was fresh, modern and functional. As a family of four, function was definitely of high importance to this redesign. It needed to look nice and it needed to work. A large fridge and freezer, a double oven, an appliance cupboard, a coffee station and a children’s “command centre” were all on the wish list for the newly designed kitchen. Amanda Drover of Finnext Creative made all of that fit and work together.

After meeting with the talented people of Modern Millwork & Cabinetry on James Lane in St. John’s, Amanda and I knew we wanted this kitchen renovation completed by Modern Millwork. With Amanda’s structural and 3D rendering background, Modern Millwork’s experience in custom cabinetry, and my interior decorating and design background as owner of Plank Design, this renovation was in good hands.

The original wooden cabinets were swapped out for a modern grey/blue slab for the bottom doors and a classic shaker for the uppers. In a large kitchen such as this one, which has quite a few cupboard doors, differing upper and lower cabinet doors offers aesthetic contrast without a drastic change. The matte black cabinet hardware by Richelieu complements the sleek doors and the black is carried through the kitchen with the faucet and range hood. The black accents are also carried throughout the newly designed living room. It’s important to carry design elements throughout the adjacent living spaces in an open concept home. The eye catching cabinetry; smooth, elegant Corian countertops; and the soft, milky backsplash tile are all warmed up by the rich walnut butcher block island with waterfall edge. The walnut in both the island and built-in shelves above the sink and coffee station add another layer of texture to the fresh new kitchen.

Renovations such as this one can be overwhelming, as there are so many decisions to make and details to keep in mind. Remember these tips while working on your own renovation, big or small:

• Carry design elements throughout other rooms, especially in open concept spaces. This may be a colour or a texture.

• Use different textures in a room. Incorporate metals, soft textiles, woven baskets, warm woods and glass. This includes using greenery and plants, an easy way to bring life to a room. It all works together and adds visual interest to the space.

• Have fun with lighting. Lamps and ceiling fixtures don’t have to be boring or fade into the background. Make them a statement and have them showcase your personal style. Play with different finishes and don’t be afraid to mix different kinds of lighting. Table and floor lamps are just as important as ceiling fixtures.

A warm wood, such as walnut, grounds the room as well as instantly turning the kitchen into a warm and cozy space. I also carried the walnut elements into the lighting in the kitchen, dining and living rooms. The oversized island pendants by CB2 are modern and fun, yet complement the sleek walnut veneer dining light by Eglo found at The Lamp Post. The living room table lamps from Bouclair also embrace the warmth of the walnut base and modern white shade, which complements all the new lighting, including my favourite oversized flush mount purchased on Wayfair. Lighting is a great way to update your space and don’t be afraid to have fun with it. Bring in texture, mix metals or incorporate colour with your lighting.

The homeowners wanted the living room to reflect the same light and fresh feeling of the kitchen, but incorporating colour was of great importance. They were concerned about painting the walls light (Sherwin Williams – Repose Gray), but with the newly painted neutral walls it was easy to decorate with colour. I added a large 8’x10’ rug with rich colours of yellow and blue, a large piece of artwork above the sofa with similar colours, and lots of greenery, both faux and real. Adding plants of varying sizes, textures and colours can add so much to a space. When adding greenery, keep in mind there are many easy to care for plants that can balance a space. Ask the staff at Hollands Nursery on Torbay Road and they will be able to point you in the right direction.

I used real plants, faux plants and faux flowers in the living room and it was an easy way to complete the design of this room. The living room’s double-sided fireplace also received a facelift during this design transformation. The original fireplace surround was drywall and now has been fully tiled. The new 12” x 24” grey porcelain tile that mimics the look of natural stone makes the fireplace a focal point and catches the eye as soon as you enter the room. By tiling around the fireplace, we created clean lines that give the fireplace a more modern look. This really completed the look of the open concept kitchen, dining and living rooms.

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