See how interior designer Alanna Dunn transformed an open-concept kitchen into a growing family’s central hub.

A new build in the centre of Calgary is a rare find, but the good luck didn’t stop there for the project’s interior designer Alanna Dunn.

“Storage wasn’t an issue,” explains the Corea Sotropa designer. “These clients were actually moving from a condo downtown into this home, so this was a big jump in square footage for them.”

With carte blanche and room to spare, Dunn and her team focused on creating a design that would suit the developing family’s needs over time (over the course of the build, two homeowners soon grew to four). The home’s lounging areas all converge in the kitchen, where a three-seat eat-up bar eases the open-concept space into kitchen territory—“so you can have the kids sitting at the island while mom and dad are cooking.”

Kitchen designed by Alanna Dunn (Photo: Phil Crozier)

Because little ones see the world (and all surfaces) as a blank canvas crying out to be coloured on, durable finishes were a must: to wit, Caesarstone countertops and minimal accessorizing. A cooktop right on the island also allows for easy entertaining while guests and family are over.

When it came to the colour palette for the kitchen, and the rest of the home, the homeowners’ main request was to keep things neutral because they didn’t want to be committed to any one colour long-term.

Kitchen designed by Alanna Dunn (Photo: Phil Crozier)

The team picked a sophisticated navy to complement the kitchen’s dominant landscape of cream drawers and shaker cabinets, but kept colour splashes to textiles: leather studded bar chairs are the most noticeable, with a grey-navy trellis print adding a playful punch to studio-shaped drapes. “Just switching out what was on the island stools could give a whole new colour to their kitchen if they grew tired of the navy,” explains Dunn.

Kitchen designed by Alanna Dunn (Photo: Phil Crozier)

A dark, charcoal-like stain on the island adds contrast, while a quartz subway tile in tones of grey and white supplied the beautiful backdrop. Taking the cabinets all the way up to the ceiling was another tactic to inject a modicum of drama—plus it highlighted how high and airy the space is. Polished nickel fixtures keep things understated and timeless, but Dunn said her team couldn’t help going a little glam on the pendants.

“Working with the clients’ very neutral colour palette, it wasn’t a big challenge, but that was probably our main obstacle of the project—to give them a unique space that wasn’t you know, bland,” explains Dunn. Mission accomplished.