The Perfect Kitchen

H&H’s latest Kitchens & Baths special issue hits newsstands today in Canada and August 21st in the U.S. (Find it at major retailers across Canada and click here for a list of American retailers.) Inside is scads of brilliant info about these two key rooms, including a look at the stylish kitchens currently inspiring us editors. I was thrilled when I discovered my choice had made the cover, because it truly represents my dream kitchen. (Pick up a copy of this issue to see the other editors’ favourite kitchens.)

Here’s what tops my kitchen wish list:

Lots of fresh white, gorgeous patterned tile, pops of red (the most delicious accent colour for kitchens, in my opinion), a nice big sink with a pull-down faucet, tons of big windows with a doorway to a garden, awesome appliances, plenty of storage, and good lighting — not a big useless bulb in the centre of the room that casts a shadow on every counter.

Designer Jessica Helgerson managed to fit all of these features and more into the kitchen she remodeled for a family of four living in a 1920s Mediterranean-style house in Portland.

Most striking is the encaustic concrete tile floor. These floors are pricey but stunning, and I’m seeing them more and more as people get increasingly daring with patterned tile. (A trend I enthusiastically applaud.)

What are encaustic tiles? Cement or clay tiles where the pattern on the surface is created with different colours of clay. The pattern is inlaid or moulded into the body of the tile millimetres thick so that the design remains as the tile is worn down. They are left to dry for two to three weeks, which gives them their durability.

I found a roundup of more envy-inducing examples of these tiles on The Marion House Book blog, including sources where you can buy these tiles. I also found this company in Australia, which specializes in rare antique versions.

Here’s more of what you can see: Jessica put in that big wall of cabinets around the refrigerator (above) so she could forgo uppers above the sink and range.

Here’s what you can’t see: She also created this handy little mudroom (above) by reconfiguring a back entry. In the space between it and the kitchen, she designed a thick arched opening with shelves for cookbooks and a pull-out broom closet.

If you’re wondering where you can buy that sweet table in the breakfast nook, let me save you fruitless hours of searching. Jessica found the reclaimed iron bases at a local salvage yard and had a slab of marble cut to fit, so it could serve as a tall table and additional counter space — a good tip to remember the next time you’re scouring your local flea market.

Other thoughtful details: The counters are made of thick, solid walnut slabs from locally felled trees. The handmade ceramic pendant lights echo the purple-grey colour of the floor. And the white ceramic wall tiles are handmade locally.

What’s not to love?

See our White Kitchens gallery for more inspiration.

Photo credits:
1-4. Lincoln Barbour

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