These stunning kitchens from a trio of West Coast designers prove good things are possible in compact packages.

(Photo: Janis Nicolay)

The Look: Clean Slate

This industrial-chic kitchen designed by Denise Ashmore of Project 22 Design combines heritage elements with sleek, modern finishes.

Double up on cabinets  To take advantage of the condo’s 11-foot ceilings, Ashmore installed two styles of cabinets—one a weathered oak, the other a matte-grey painted lacquer—for a two-tiered look. “The space is quite narrow, so we wanted to create as much storage as possible.”

Mix and match backsplash material  Exposed brick works well behind the sink, but it wouldn’t have been able to withstand the mess from cooking; Ashmore opted for a durable, easy-to-clean matte concrete finish from Caesarstone for the counters and the wall behind the cooktop.

Leave room to breathe  An open peninsula keeps the space from feeling too cramped and allows  for extra seating.

(Photo: Tracey Ayton)

The Look: Not-So-Secret Garden

Colour and pattern are embraced in every room of this Chrissy Cottrell–designed condo—including the 90-square-foot kitchen.

Use visual tricks to elongate a short space  To make this compact kitchen appear larger than it is, Cottrell equipped the cabinets with extra-long handles: “A vertical line can accentuate the height of .”

Balance out a bold feature wall  The floral Mattiazzo Damson wallpaper is complemented by a trio of pink mohair-upholstered bar stools, a brushed-brass faucet and a custom, hand-painted metallic backsplash. “The trick of it not being overwhelming is to commit to it,” says Cottrell.

Lay down the (neutral) foundations  With so many colourful elements in one kitchen, all-white cabinets and grey wire-brushed oak flooring help to ground the space.

(Photo: Janis Nicolay)

The Look: Natural Wonder

Subtle concrete, wood and stone accents come together in this bright and airy kitchen built by Ritchie Construction and designed by Emerge Design principal Gwyntie van Tuyl Weswick.

Find the right angle  The marble backsplash may be neutral in colour, but a playful herringbone pattern keeps things interesting. “It livens it up a bit,” says van Tuyl Weswick.

Outline your cabinets  All-white floor-to-ceiling cabinets could have easily overwhelmed the space, but the natural wood border adds warmth and visual interest to the kitchen. “It looks elegant,” says van Tuyl Weswick, “like a framed piece of art.”

Maintain a clear line of sight  There’s no way the homeowners were going to hide that gorgeous island behind clunky high-backed chairs, so the designer brought in backless bar stools from Hay to open things up.