Millwork Stars in Artful Renovation

Words by Michelle Heslop. Photos by Jody Beck.

For this art-collecting couple, their renovated waterfront home has become a masterpiece in its own right. Sandy Nygaard of Nygaard Interior Design, Jason Good of Jason Good Custom Cabinets, and Bob Ingram and Chad Plater of Integral Design + Build combined forces to upgrade this visually tranquil kitchen without the starkness of minimalism.

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It comes as no surprise that these creative homeowners, the wife an artist and the husband a collector, would think outside the box in their approach to a kitchen that is decidedly un- kitcheny. With a less is more approach, the streamlined design left room for innovation and bold material choices.

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“With a tight two-month timeline, the construction work had to be done efficiently and with meticulous workmanship and I knew Integral Design + Build could pull it off,” states Good, who needed the framing and drywall to be absolutely perfect in order to install the mechanized cabinetry the owners wanted. Tearing the kitchen back to the studs, the team at Integral removed some walls and straightened others while redoing all the electrical and plumbing.

“The existing kitchen was very dark and masculine and didn’t create a sense of flow with the rest of the home,” says Ingram, who describes the intent of the reno was to modernize the space while incorporating feminine elements. Plater and Ingram decommissioned the original kitchen and repurposed cabinets and countertops into other areas of the home like the art studio, workshop, garage, and even custom- built outdoor planters.

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“Because the kitchen is exposed to the dining and living room area, the owners wanted to build a clean-lined, handleless kitchen,” says Good. Glass-front cabinets with an acid-etched, non-finger printing surface pair with elongated aluminum handles that look like part of the trim and were designed in collaboration with Nygaard and built by Good.

“The design was intended to be more of an art installation than a typical looking kitchen,” explains Good, who sought just the right size burled walnut and discovered the perfect 28″ wide burl that would integrate seamlessly and create a flawless book-match on the twenty-foot island.

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“The burled walnut veneering was the first job we ever ran entirely through our own shop. We recently bought all the machines so it was exciting to see it all happen in-house.”

“The kitchen was intended to be one-of-a-kind,” states Plater, who explains that the floral print backsplash was custom done by a painter from California and installed behind heat-resistant Starphire glass. Softening the visual weight of the wood, the artful backsplash takes centre stage amid handleless appliances concealed behind walnut, allowing them to completely disappear into the design.

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Good installed one-touch mechanized Servo-Drive hardware from Blum for the entire kitchen. This motion technology delivers opening ease with a single touch and closes again effortlessly with a soft-close. “Every single front has a transformer and an electronic actuator set within two millimetres of the perfect location,” says Good, who also incorporated glass-sided drawers that he likened to little jewelry boxes.

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The concealed coffee bar earns the modern kitchen some style points and is easily accessed behind electronic doors and hidden away when not in use. “Building a minimalistic design can be the most complicated because of all the engineering required to make it so clean and streamlined,” states Ingram, who adds that the homeowners hired them because of their cast of skilled sub-trades that they brought to the project.

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“We’ve been working with a lot of these tradespeople for 15-plus years and share the same direction in terms of attention to detail. Only high-level sub-trades can pull off a meticulous project like this in two months.” Showcasing a highly customized design, the dwelling marries form and function in a pared-down elegance that gives West Coast contemporary new meaning.