It is no surprise that the kitchen is the centre of the home. This is especially true when it comes to families. A family kitchen is much more than a place to cook, bake and entertain guests. It is also a place where creativity reigns supreme, and I don’t just mean baking and cooking with (grand)parents. On any given day, a family kitchen might become a restaurant kitchen or bakeshop where kids practice their culinary skills, or an art studio where paints, paper or moulding clay lay around, or even a laboratory where school science experiments are being executed. A family kitchen is an extremely creative space, especially for kids, and therefore needs special attention when designing and selecting materials.
Our client is a family of 4 with two toddlers, a dog and a baby on the way. So these parents know first-hand how creative (and messy) a kitchen can be. But just because a family kitchen needs to be practical, does not mean the kitchen should be all about the kids. Because daily life with kids inherently adds a lot of colour and life to the kitchen, it was important to our clients that alongside the overall functionally, that their kitchen does not add further visual noise and chaos. So we focused on designing a kitchen that is extremely streamlined and neutral.
Keeping it clean
For us, selecting the right materials are the single most important decisions you will make when designing a family kitchen. Because family life can be – let’s just say it – messy, you will do yourself a favour by selecting materials that are easy to clean and will withstand not only mess, but often more importantly, cleaning. Scrubbing countertop and kitchen fronts will wear down poor-quality materials overtime, especially if you or your children accidently use the wrong cleaning agents. By selecting long-living, quality materials you will not need to worry about sticky finger or chemical cleaners.
Pro Tip: Don’t just look at the price tag when looking at quality kitchen materials. Consider how these materials will enhance and better your family life. For example, not having to worry about what your kid’s paints or chemical cleaners will do to your countertop will also allow you to live with ease, not worrying that your beautiful kitchen will be ruined. We find this to be a huge benefit. When you make the decision to install a new kitchen (or even update an old one) you want your investment to last both physically and visually.
Our client’s home is a 1920s row home, meaning that it is narrow and long with windows only in the front and back. Because of this, we knew it was important to remove (nearly) all internal walls on the ground floor to flood the space with as much natural light as possible. But this was also helpful as it was important to our client that there be easy access to the dining/living area so mom could always have an eye on her kids when she was preparing breakfasts, lunches and dinners. So that was the starting point. We did, however, choose to leave one internal wall in order to tuck away the refrigerator and waist-high oven. This also served to separate the main entryway from the kitchen. Our clients wanted to have a neutral and streamlined kitchen where family life added the colour. So we went for nice, soft grey coloured kitchen cabinets and the Urban Argento countertop from SapienStone. Urban Argento was the perfect fit because of its subtle grey hue variations and its light and understated texture. We offset this calm, two-tone grey kitchen with a sense of luxury through a chevron marble floor.
Our clients also wanted something that could withstand young children. In their previous home they had a laminate countertop and over time, knife cuts, burns and milky spots from rough cleaning formed. We wanted to avoid this from happening again in the future so It was clear to us to use a SapienStone countertop. As a parent, you want to be able to run to your child if he/she needs you without thinking about, for example, the repercussions of quickly placing a hot pan on a countertop. The SapienStone countertop will give our clients ease-of-mind that their kitchen will remain beautiful even during unforeseen family moments.
We didn’t add any closed upper cabinets in order to help the narrow space feel larger. Instead we wanted to simply use a floating shelf to display some of their beautiful decorative objects, wine glasses and more. We chose not to bring the countertop up onto the wall, but instead decided on a latex paint in the same colour as the wall. Keeping the wall that extends into the dining area white will not only help connect the two spaces together, but will help reflect light throughout their narrow row home making the space feel brighter.
Pro tip: When only using paint as your black splash, make sure you use a latex paint. Latex paint is more durable and you can easily wipe away splatters that will inevitably occur.
We look forward to seeing this design fully implemented in our client’s home. We know that this kitchen will look nearly new and modern for a very long time. But more importantly, we are confident they will have a kitchen that doesn’t add more work to their life, but will actually help make it more care-free.
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