From Traditional to Modern – 3 Kitchen Renovations Defined

Article by Michelle Heslop. Photos by Joshua Lawrence and Vince Klassen.

Let’s face it, kitchens are experiencing a metamorphosis. Historically, a kitchen’s role in the home was strictly a utilitarian place to prepare and cook meals. It’s obvious by now that the kitchen has evolved into the crux of the home, a salient living space, where people not only gather to cook, but to eat, socialize, craft, and do homework. However, maturing beyond this interplay of daily activity, kitchens are experiencing a control centre moment. Blurred lines between work and life responsibilities are pushing the boundaries of kitchen designation and prompting open-plan kitchen designs to include work stations for both parents and children.

Many people are even going as far as eliminating distinct offices and dining rooms from their homes all together and building even smaller living areas to accommodate larger, multifunctional kitchens. Designers and realtors would agree that the most closely inspected and anticipated room of a house is the kitchen. Kitchens are often at the top of renovation wish lists and the number one request is to open them up to increase functionality, to accommodate more people, and create a natural flow to the rest of the house. It will be interesting to observe how kitchens continue to be redefined as our lifestyles evolve even further.

MHV spoke to one of our local kitchen specialists, Claire Reimann, Jason Good’s kitchen and bath designer, to dissect three of their kitchen designs. Reimann broke them into three distinct types of kitchen styles: traditional, contemporary, and modern.


1. Traditional Design

Relying on classic designs and motifs, traditional style kitchens are defined by their architectural details with luxury countertops, neutral colour palettes, and varying degrees of adornment, such as the oversized crown mouldings to the ceiling in this kitchen. Locally made, face frame, shaker style cabinets set the tone for this kitchen that encompasses carefully crafted details. Cloud white cabinets with black finish hardware include: cup pulls on the drawers, old-fashioned turn latches on the doors, and exposed hinges. Classic white subway tile backsplash offsets the traditional corbel supports beneath the upper cabinets.

Clear glass upper cabinets and open shelving for displaying dishes adds a sense of warmth and openness. V-groove detail on the seating side of the island and furniture kicks around the base add to the adornment for a traditional feel. Absolute black granite countertops with a honed finish adds contrast to the white cabinetry.Industrial-style chrome pendants over the island provide a contemporary splash that complements the stainless appliances. Charcoal-stained maple hardwood flooring and energy efficient appliances round off this traditional style kitchen. Often bucking trends, traditional kitchens are still au courant, often incorporating contemporary elements in countertops, lighting, and appliances. This traditional kitchen boasts a timeless, elegant appeal.


2. Contemporary Design

The combination of painted classic grey cabinetry, mixed with accents of FSC certified, Echo Wood veneer, in silver elm, creates a calming feel in this contemporary kitchen. Subject to debate, contemporary design often refers to a comprehensive style that is current and doesn’t directly reflect any one particular era or design style. This kitchen, for example, walks the line between sleek modern and traditional based on the degree of adornment, hardware, and some of the materials used.

Providing convenient storage access to the cook top zone, the three upper, lift-up cabinets, in Echo Wood veneer, are bordered by lacquered frames. Brushed nickel handles with soft edges are sleek and functional and add just the right touch of metal to accompany the stainless appliances. Horizontal lines in the tiled backsplash replicate rustic whitewashed wooden planks. Three teardrop shaped glass pendant lights hang softly over the peninsula. Quartz countertops are solid coloured in luna sand. For a small budget renovation this kitchen boasts many luxuries including: a double wall oven, a secondary sink for prep, a sliding metal spice cabinet, pull out pantry storage, and a magic corner disguised as drawers. Engineered Hickory Hardwood flooring provides grounding to this earth toned kitchen, enhancing the “Georgian Green” accent walls. The dining side of the peninsula modestly features hidden seasonal storage cabinets.


3. Modern Design

Bold colours, natural-light, clean lines, and natural materials lay the foundation for this multifunctional modern kitchen. Modern kitchens are generally defined by strong horizontal lines, frameless cabinets, minimal and sleek hardware, a lack of ornamentation, with an injection of natural materials. This kitchen boasts an ideal symmetry with a centre line that hosts the window, sink, range and hood fan. Acrylic cabinetry sets the stage for this highly reflective, bright space. In order to achieve such a high level of shine, the island was finished using automotive paint. As requested by the client, the blue colour on the island is the same formula used on Toyota cars.

Organic white Caesarstone quartz countertops offer a clean contrast to the blue and provides an immaculate finish. A large slab of Calacatta Marble flanks the backsplash for a natural feel; the grey veining adds contrasting organic movement. The efficient layout of this space allows for many designated zones in the kitchen, including a work space below the window. The island has a flush stainless steel kick that joins the engineered oak flooring. The industrial-style red pendant lights add a splash of colour to complement the blue island. Environmental considerations are LED lighting and energy efficient appliances.