Western Living Magazine
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Designer Majida Boga Devani wanted to create a kitchen that would both honour the historic neighbourhood where its located, and celebrate modern design as well.
Clean, bright, open, natural, inviting and raw: that was the framework for architect and designer Majida Boga Devani as she planned the kitchen in her home, a new build that she and her husband, Alkarim Devani, created as a partnership with his company, Beyond Homes, and hers, Building Bloc Design. The home is set in Calgary’s Richmond-Knob Hill, one of the city’s older neighbourhoods. “We wanted to find a way to pay homage to the neighbourhood’s history, while still designing a home that sets a benchmark for what the inner city could be,” says Devani, “using recycled character materials inside and out while still maintaining a modern design.”The kitchen—and entire home—is indeed a timeless, modern design that manages to meld old and new. Reclaimed floors and elm-wrapped cabinets feel appropriately vintage, while the monochromatic backdrop of white walls paired with black maple cabinetry is strikingly modern. The geometric backsplash of Mutina tile feels both current in design and nostalgic in its muted colour palette. The space is also designed to be the family’s main entertaining area: a long island means many chefs can lend a hand at mealtimes. And the oak dining table is suspended from the island itself—a design that isn’t as simple as it appears. “The engineering was extensive,” says Devani. “A solid raw metal beam underneath runs the entire length of the island!”Of course, the practical elements are all there: plenty of storage, a hidden microwave and recycling drawers, and an oversized pot-filling faucet on the island. But it’s the one-of-a-kind details that make this space so inviting, such as the metal stair wall just opposite the kitchen that mimics the geometry of the backsplash. It’s a room that’s both raw and riveting. Tips1. Juxtapose disparate materials, but keep the colour palette simple. Here, reclaimed wood is paired with custom tile, metal with moulded plastic—but the yellow hue in the backsplash is repeated in the Togo chairs in the living room.2. Focus on quality, not quantity. The adage “less is more” is a go-to guideline when making a design statement, whether it’s a chunky floating wood dining table that needs no extraneous detail or a Caesarstone quartz waterfall island.3. Don’t forget the practical when planning your space. Here, Devani wanted functional pieces like a large sink, rollout drawers in the pantry and integrated garbage/recycling pullouts.4. Use unexpected materials in unusual places. Devani’s custom metalwork railing might be something typically found outdoors, but inside it becomes an eye-catching focal point.5. Don’t be afraid of the linear kitchen. “Linear kitchens are a great way to keep an area open and have great workflow,” says Devani.Custom counts. This kitchen is all about one-of-a-kind design, from cabinetry made out of reclaimed elm flooring to a concrete pendant light. Devani and her husband even drew and redrew the pattern for the backsplash again and again to get the look they wanted. “So I guess we can say the owners were hands-on!”, she jokes.