Upper cabinetry is useful but can make a space feel dark and closed in—so, is it possible to design a functional kitchen for a family of four with no upper cabinetry at all? Nancy Surby, principal of Nako Design, proves that the answer is yes via this Edmonton kitchen.

“Having a sizeable pantry really helps,” explains the designer, who opted for walk-in storage to make up for the lack of uppers. The pill-shaped island is surprisingly spacious, as well: it houses a dishwasher, space for garbage and recycling and hidden shelving behind curvilinear doors. “There’s a comfortable flow of walking around the island; no harsh angles,” says Surby. The result is a space that is bright and calming but also practical: the perfect combo for a busy household.

Casson’s Babylon pendant planters
Surby chose Casson’s Babylon pendant planters to perform double duty: these high-gloss enamel lights can hold living plants, giving this modern space a wilder vibe.