Gourmet Glitz + GlamPublished on April 6, 2010

  • A chocolate granite countertop on the long mahogany island adds to the warmth of the dark hardwood flooring and coffee-coloured walls.

  • The new kitchen flows into the renovated family room with the same cool and modern design.

  • Exotic Jatoba cabinetry and sleek surfaces combine to make the kitchen sizzle.

Kitchen renovations are sizzling hot. Homeowners are splurging on the latest designs which combine high efficiency with high style

Open-concept layouts, fabulous finishes, smart appliances, and the ability to customize the space to suit individual needs, all ensure that no-one complains about being stuck in the kitchen anymore!

Ottawa At Home takes a look at two impressive, large-scale kitchen renovations that are designed to please gourmet tastes while oozing with family personality.


Make no mistake, this very modern and award-winning kitchen reno is not just for show. With two young kids and a teenager in the Yelle household, Sylvain and Wendy quickly point out that it caters to a real family. Just don't expect to see any cute fridge magnets or kiddy clutter in their sleek new kitchen.

 After living in their Navan home for nearly a decade, the couple considered moving, but loved the neighbourhood. Any other homes they considered buying in the area also needed work, so they decided on a major overhaul of their living space. Under the direction of Friedemann Weinhardt of Design First Interiors, a new floor plan was drawn up for the late Ď80s style kitchen, and walls came down for a complete renovation that opened up the kitchen to the remodeled family room and dining area.

The open-concept floor plan has the effect of making the kitchen look much more spacious without building an addition or claiming space from adjoining rooms. It also allows unobstructed views to the family room and ongoing conversations with guests in the dining room.

Yet, less wall space translates into fewer cabinets and the minimalist design did not support overhead cabinetry. The answer was innovative storage solutions, clever organization and a double pull-out pantry.

Exotic cabinetry in cinnamon-coloured Jatoba hardwood, is contrasted with grey-toned quartz countertops and limestone flooring. The double-sink island features a high Jatoba wood counter for casual seating, which faces an expansive glass-tiled wall that surrounds a large Wolf gas range and a matching hood fan.

The high-tech glam continues on the adjoining wall with a built-in Miele microwave/convection speed oven that cooks everything from roast meat to muffins, and is partnered with a Miele Coffee System to serve up a variety of favourite brews. The strips of cool, ocean-coloured glass tiles wrap around the full wall for a dramatic effect that the Yelle's admit was an indulgent extravagance.

Opposite, a family-of-five-sized Sub-Zero fridge/freezer in stainless steel stands next to the pull-out pantry. Another reminder of youngsters in the home is a more traditional kitchen table, which is customized to match the cabinetry. It is sided by new banquette seating with built-in storage space beneath the window, and coupled with a free-standing china cabinet in the same dark hardwood.

A low bar counter defines the kitchen from the dining area and enables non-stop socialization between the two rooms which is important to a couple who love to entertain. Multiple lighting options with dimmers, invite a variety of moods in the kitchen, which is also fully wired for entertainment with a central control box that operates the TV, DVD and stereo system. With so many glitzy bells and whistle, it's no wonder that all the action is in the kitchen!


It took Diane McClintock 13 years of living in a tired, inefficient kitchen before she converted to a modern model of haute cuisine. For a woman who adores cooking for her family and friends, finally having the perfect kitchen in a 1970s home in Wesboro, was worth the long wait.

On the plus side, it also ensured that Diane knew exactly what she wanted. And with the expertise of Jackie Chambers, a kitchen designer with Ottawa Valley Kitchens, she created a dynamic space where husband Dave, 17 year-old Charles and Julia 15, are happy to share the family cooking and baking time.

The recipe to cooking heaven started by integrating the kitchen and family room into one big space to make more room and bring in natural light. Eckland Contracting took care of the structural changes, moving the dining room entrance to provide extra wall space and make the area more functional. They not only increased the kitchen size, but warmed it up by installing new heating ducts and increasing the insulation, in addition to re-wiring for a variety of lighting arrangements and ceiling speakers.

Creamy "snowflake" cabinetry is complemented by the rich mahogany tones on a long 13-foot island. Countertops in chocolate granite add to the warmth of the dark hardwood flooring and coffee-coloured walls. A sophisticated country-touch is introduced with an innovative oven hood which was custom-built in limestone to match the backsplash. It gives a more traditional feel to the steely shine of a six-burner, gas cook-top by Monogram.

 A KitchenAid double wall-oven and stainless steel fridge/freezer, plus a pantry that takes up a complete wall, combine to ensure that the McClintock family never goes hungry. Nor will the constant flow of teenagers who arrive with the kids every day for lunch and after-school snacks!

But the other new features that really get Diane excited are the practical ones that make for an easier time in the kitchen. Cabinet organizers, separate pull-out containers to recycle garbage, a cupboard to keep her central vac handy and one especially for an entertainment centre - all guarantee a place for everything and everything in its place.

Another favourite spot in the stylish kitchen is a cozy window-seat that was built into the bay area along with customized cabinetry and accent lighting. While Diane is definitely the boss in the kitchen, now she can relax here and watch as the rest of her family of capable cooks are inspired by the room's delicious design.  Maybe they'll even clean up too!


what's hot


More people are deciding to update kitchens for a high-end look rather than move. Many want luxurious finishes and good craftsmanship.

Kitchen designs that are customized to work for the homeowner as well as "sculpting" to create unique personal spaces.

Open-concept kitchens to facilitate flow of movement and conversation.

A Modern Traditional style is a popular choice because it stands the test of time and is a good investment in terms of resale value.

Wood cabinets are in high demand with Mahogany, Cherry, Walnut and Birch being used frequently. Exotic veneers are popular for contemporary designs, with creams and whites for a classical look.


(Compiled with information from Design First Interiors, Ottawa Valley Kitchens and Eckland Contractors.)

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