Commanding the highest point in Victoria’s inner harbour, Esquimalt’s prestigious Swallow’s Landing condos capture views of the inner harbour and the Olympic Mountains across the Juan de Fuca Strait. A soft landing for a recently retired couple downsizing from a lakehouse up island, the condo’s views were breathtaking but the finishes were less than inspiring and in need of an update. The couple hired Carrie Mills at Urbana to transform the tiny galley kitchen and underwhelming living area into a bright and contemporary open plan to take the pair into their next chapter.
“More than a decade old, the kitchen’s original layout was awkward with dated materials and had a very challenging mechanical bump-out to work around,” says Mills. Topping the client’s wishlist was a complete redesign that would provide more counter space, storage and a functional work triangle. One of the main challenges for Mills was the kitchen’s limited footprint. “I really had to think outside the box to design a streamlined layout that would create a natural flow into the open plan space while creating that distinction between rooms that can be a challenge in condos.”
Mills built the peninsula as an extension of the bump-out with an angled sink which allowed them to have the clearance on the wall where the fridge is now. Adding the glass door cabinet just outside the kitchen gave an extra twelve inches for added counter space. With no windows in the kitchen, under-cabinet lighting was essential to keep the work areas well lit.
All natural and practically indestructible, Neolith was used on the peninsula countertop while Cambria Quartz adorns all remaining countertops. Highly reflective glass backsplash keeps the small space bright and adds contrast to the matte cabinetry. Ample storage boosts this kitchen’s functionality while the built-in wine rack and wine fridge are thoughtful additions.
Downsizing from a sizeable lakehouse, the couple needed more storage and a bright contemporary space that still felt homey. Coming from a house where everything has its place, the couple didn’t want to feel they were compromising on space but using it more efficiently. “We’re not limited to strictly kitchen design at Urbana, but also love designing built-ins for living areas. We seized square footage from the previous dining area to create a more relaxed living room with a multipurpose built-in entertainment centre as a focal point. The owners moved the dining area closer to the window to capitalize on the views.
For any condo owner, storage is a major priority so the couple wanted to create a built-in unit that would not only hold memorabilia but be home to electronic equipment and the owner’s coveted record player and extensive record collection. Mills outfitted the unit in mixed materials to provide a contemporary beach house feel. High-pressure laminate along the back mimics the hues of local driftwood while the painted white uppers maintain a cohesive feel with the kitchen. The lower cabinets in grey-stained maple ground the unit and keep it feeling like one constructed piece.