It’s a little bit French, and totally fab.


It’s become a new standard in kitchen design: white upper cabinets paired with a contrasting dark wood island. But when designer Kelly Deck began planning for this European-inspired elegant kitchen, she wanted to give that convention a twist. “We made a list of classic colours—racing green, navy blue—and thought about how we could incorporate them into the design,” says Deck.

The result was a very fresh, and very French, space that anchors this West Vancouver home. The rich navy on the lower bank of cabinets gives that classic bold contrast, but in an inspired new shade, while a curvy support post on the island in grey-stained oak adds just a bit of solid formality and interest.

First and foremost though, it’s a room that’s meant to be lived in: the bar stools are oversize and comfy, the farmhouse-style kitchen table is rustic and ready for a casual lunch (the nearby dining room serves for more formal occasions), and a small desk nook is perfect for writing up the weekly grocery list. “It’s the kind of space that can be lived in without worries,” says Deck.

5 Tips for Creating a Beautiful, Functional Kitchen


1. Go custom for the bar stools. Finding a bar stool that’s both comfy and stylish can be a challenge. Deck had these custom made; a little larger than the typical stool, they’re comfy enough to relax in.

kitchen workspace western living

2. Design a workspace away from the island. The kids will naturally park themselves around the island for their homework, but for grown-ups, a clean, out-of-the-way space to write a note, plan a list or work on the laptop is ideal in the kitchen. Don’t forget to wire the space with electrical and ethernet.

kitchen sink western living

3. Take the sprayer out of the faucet. When the island is the centre of attention, a large faucet/sprayer combo can feel too imposing. To keep the design more traditional, Deck opted for a separate faucet, sprayer and soap pump around the sink, allowing for a more delicate design of all three. The polished nickel is a perfect match to the pulls on the cabinetry. 

4. Install a feature stone on the island. Caesarstone gets top marks for its stain resistance and durability, but there’s no denying marble’s showstopping beauty. So Deck split the difference: Calacatta Vagli marble for its whitest white and warm veining on the island, and white Caesarstone on the surrounding counters.


5. Mask the vent in custom millwork. The metallic accent of an overhead vent is better suited to a more modern design. Matching the profile on the cabinets, Deck had a millworker create an elegant cover to disguise the hood, creating an area of interest above the stove. Taking the millwork right up to the ceiling also prevents dead zones that gather dust.

 Originally published March 2013.