When Jane Patterson downsized from her long time residence, she relocated to a mid-1980’s townhouse in Cadboro Bay. With an affection for modern furnishings and design, Patterson found herself in Gabriel Ross shopping for dining tables when she met Trish Puckett, principal designer at Puckett Design and Construction and interior designer at Gabriel Ross. “I was at Jane’s home trying a Scandinavian style dining table in her space when our conversation about modern furnishings shifted to her kitchen.
It was pretty obvious the galley kitchen was dated and in need of a complete overhaul,” says Puckett. “Like most galley kitchens, it was confined and dark and if you can believe it, the style of the kitchen actually matched the materials used in the bathroom,” laughs Patterson. With a $50,000 budget for a complete kitchen gut and renovation, including appliances and flooring replacement on the main floor, Puckett drew up design plans for a clean, modern kitchen with a high dose of shine.
Hardly touched since the 1980’s, the galley kitchen was dark and claustrophobic. The awkward arrangement, with a sink shoved into one corner, made cooking and baking inefficient. Linoleum tile flooring and a rough top, faux-granite laminate countertop made baking almost impossible for this avid pastry maker. “As a baker, I needed a functional kitchen with ample counter space for rolling dough,” says Patterson. But it wasn’t strictly about designing a hardworking kitchen; Patterson loves to entertain and wanted to create an inviting feel with a clean, modern aesthetic. “Modern to me meant going white, with a flat panel style cabinet and avoiding hardware. Trends seem to dictate the style of hardware so I wanted to avoid choosing a particular style that would date quickly” Patterson adds.
A style-savvy client, Patterson was clear about what she wanted; she knows design and was very decisive. “An efficient layout and flow for baking was at the top of her list for this small space design,” says Puckett. Patterson needed the drawers for her tools to be accessible and efficient. She’s had bigger kitchens in the past, but this one is simpler and more streamlined, where everything has a place. Parallel counters in galley kitchens make all points of the work triangle accessible, and Patterson finds that the functional layout has her using both sides simultaneously when she’s baking.
Forget the grievance that galley kitchens leave you with very little storage. Using the vertical space efficiently, the rift-cut, white oak cabinetry wall at the end of the kitchen anchors the light space and provides Patterson with surplus space. Finding a lot of her inspiration in the Gabriel Ross showroom, Patterson knew she wanted a white-washed oak stain on the cabinet wall after seeing it in a NYC penthouse kitchen.
“We didn’t want to take down any walls, but we did steal a little space from the dining area to give the kitchen a bit more square footage,” says Puckett. With the only natural light source to the kitchen coming from a set of patio doors off the dining area, one of the most important elements of the design was to draw in as much natural light into the space as possible. “Using reflective surfaces like high-gloss white cabinets, white quartz countertops, tempered glass backsplash and pot lights, we were able to reflect light and create a shine and sparkle,” Puckett adds. The natural green of the glass adds a splash of colour to the predominantly white kitchen and mimics the colour of the neighbouring sea, just a stroll away.
“I think people should have more faith in small space design; there is just so much you can do with it,” states Puckett. She adds that, “scale and proportion make a significant impact on spatial functionality in a small space design.” Large kitchens often lengthen the work triangle beyond functional proportions which can work against efficiency. If you need another reason to love small-scale kitchens, “designing on this scale allows room in the budget for splurging on distinctive features or higher-end materials.” Some of Patterson’s splurge items include cabinet interiors in birch rather than melamine, higher grade appliances, larger sinks and her coveted two-drawer dishwasher.
“The entire look of my home has been elevated with this renovation; the whole process was a success and far surpassed my expectations,” says Patterson. Overall, and almost unheard of, the renovation seemed to come up challenge-free. Patterson credits the team at Puckett Design and Construction for doing an exemplary job of the demolition and carpentry. “Rick and Trish created a stylish space that is bright and the natural flow from the kitchen to the dining area offers an open and inviting space perfect for entertaining. I often use the dining table for a buffet style dinner because everyone just wants to hang out in the kitchen now anyway,” laughs Patterson.