Decorating & Design

September 29, 2021

How To Bring Efficiency & Calm To A Busy Family Kitchen

From the outside, this newly built home on the east side of Vancouver references the neighborhood’s century-old Craftsman-style architecture. But inside, the aesthetic takes a distinctly modern turn, with a bright and airy open-concept scheme of pristine white, warm wood tones and grounding hits of black. “The two homeowners had different likes and dislikes,” says designer Melanie Finkleman of the design-build firm Hazel + Brown Design. “The husband wanted a more modern look, and the wife was more into adding character details. We strove to give them an interior that has clean lines, but still feels warm because of all the wood.”

Throughout the main level, classic herringbone floors in pale white oak were installed to lend a sense of timelessness. They were an early decision that helped set the course for the rest of the interior finishes, says Melanie. Wood was also selected for the lower cabinets, this time in the form of rift-cut oak slab doors stained a rich, medium tone reminiscent of teak and paired with subtle brass pull-tab hardware. “We needed a little shine because everything was matte,” says Melanie. “Brass adds warmth and, with the teak stain, adds to a mid-century feel.”

To maximize storage in the relatively compact work area, upper cabinets were taken up to the ceiling, but lacquered the same shade of white as the walls (Benjamin Moore’s Chantilly Lace) to keep the space feeling open and uncluttered. “It’s a pure white,” says Melanie of her go-to shade. “There’s no pigment in it, so it’s not too cool or too warm.”

The counters and backsplash were another area where aesthetics and practical needs were skillfully balanced. The perimeter counters and island are Caesarstone’s Pure White, an engineered quartz that can withstand heavy usage and the couple’s two young children, while the backsplash is a quietly patterned, polished Carrara marble that — like those herringbone floors — adds another classic detail.

In the dining area, the storage was left mostly open to display favorite items, downlit by a pair of shaded sconces from Cedar & Moss with a waxed black finish. Using slim custom-made built-ins here in place of freestanding furniture once again maximizes storage in the relatively compact 280-square-foot area and allows room for a long dining table with seating for eight.

“You have to consider whether you’re the kind of person who likes to display things and can always be neat and tidy,” says Melanie of the trend toward open shelving. “In the case of these clients, functional kitchen storage was a priority, especially since the kitchen is on full display from the living room. We had to make sure everything had a place.”

Scroll down to tour this stylish and efficient family kitchen!

Author: Rosemary Poole

Janis Nicolay


House & Home Kitchens + Baths 2021


Melanie Finkleman, Hazel + Brown Design