On a quiet cul-de-sac in North Oak Bay, Brad Schaffer of Turnbull Development Group had a modern vision for the small dilapidated home perched on a rock outcropping just steps from Oak Bay village. With a site slope of over three metres from front to back, Schaffer’s intent was to create a simple architectural silhouette with three stories on the street side and two on the back with a Scandinavian-inspired sensibility in the space between.
Schaffer collaborated with Tim Philipchalk at Habour City Kitchens to delineate both the design details and the overall layout for the 3500 square-foot home. A working relationship that spans several new builds, Schaffer gave Philipchalk creative liberty to design and build the kitchen, bathroom cabinetry, bar hutch, office cabinetry, closet organizers and storage in the basement. The home’s orientation the driving force behind the design, the result is a west coast interpretation of the form follows function modernism of European design.
White oak floors and gallery-white walls paired with white quartz countertops create a tranquil atmosphere and allow the couple’s vibrant art to take centre stage. “The kitchen’s clean aesthetic was strongly influenced by the European design we have seen during our travels to Italy. The tradition in Italy is to take your cabinets with you when you sell your home. Thus, the cabinets need to have a less built-in traditional look,” says Schaffer.
To blend seamlessly with the cabinets, the fridge and dishwasher were integrated into the wall with a cabinet overlay. With a clean, monochromatic backdrop, Philipchalk created a focal point in the kitchen with the walnut island. The horizontal, book-matched grain in the walnut creates a sense of movement and, coupled with the metro white high-gloss thermofoil cabinets, creates a modern combination. The hardworking waterfall-edge island seats four guests comfortably and boasts a beverage fridge, sink, microwave and ample storage space. In addition to pot lights, frosted glass pendant lights hang delicately over the island to keep sight lines unobstructed.
Concealed touch-latch hardware on the plywood cabinets keeps the cabinet wall smooth and clutter free. Practically invisible, the back-painted glass panel backsplash in white preserves the sleek look with a touch of shine. Kachet faucet by Kahlia on the island sink combines two jets and an ultra-flexible black hose for easy use. Large windows on the south, east and west side of the home respect the dwellings orientation and creates a visual connection to the outdoors while illuminating the home as the sun moves through the day.
When asked about his approach to designing kitchens, Philipchalk reports that “I always start with the client’s vision. Most clients have their own ideas and often begin with online images for general design concepts. Once I get a sense of their style, we look at plans and dimensions to determine how we can apply their concepts to the space. In the kitchen, I often start with the client’s appliance wish list and work the layout around that. From there we can get started on the concept drawings.”
Clearly, today’s clients are much more design-savvy because of online accessibility. Philipchalk notes that “an obvious benefit is the ability to immediately get a sense of what style you identify with and what direction you want to take your design. However, design idea overload can overwhelm clients and their ideas can be difficult to narrow down. Plus, most of what you see online is a showcase of high-end products which is not always realistic for budgets. The result is a disconnect between expectations and reality which often leads us to navigate through the client’s wants versus needs. I can also often find budget-friendly products that still achieve the look and quality they want without having to choose only from top-tier pricing.”
To continue the home’s sense of flow and serenity, repeated materials in the bar area — thermofoil uppers in high-gloss white and horizontal-grained walnut on the floating hutch creates a sense of connection in the open plan layout. A climate controlled wine room, conveniently located next to the dining area and bar, awaits racks and elevates the home’s entertaining value.
“A current trend we are seeing in interiors is the repetition of elements carried through a home’s design. Whether it is the same style or product, it is common to see the millwork repeated throughout. Millwork consistency tends to create a sense of flow and cohesion throughout the home. For contrast and interest, clients tend to vary their countertop materials or flooring from room to room,” states Philipchalk.
Repetition of the horizontal grain walnut and white quartz counter on the dual sink vanity retains the home’s design rhythm and has a grounding effect in the monochromatic ensuite.
Clerestory windows bathe the ensuite in natural light while maintaining privacy. The free-standing soaker tub and walk-in shower provide a place to rejuvenate in the zen-like atmosphere.
The high-traffic family bathroom uses a durable wood product that is kid-friendly and more forgiving. Design wise, the bathroom provides ample storage and maintains the flat panel look with white quartz and Kalia faucet.