For avid, entertaining-loving home cooks, having a space that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing is essential. Ottawa At Home spoke with three homeowners who are renowned for their stylish hosting, to find out what choices they made for their favourite workspace.
The main floor of this Westboro home is bright and spacious. A sizeable kitchen opens out to family room, living room and dining/bar areas, with only one wall separating the four zones. The kitchen has an understated elegance with loads of features to make it work effectively for a couple who enjoys having large, informal gatherings on a regular basis.
DESIGN & MATERIALS
Sofia, a graphic designer, wanted a kitchen that spoke to her artistic personality as well as that of her restaurateur husband, John Borsten. “To merge our distinct styles, we knew we wanted something that was industrial and indestructible, but with touches of beauty to soften the overall look,” notes Sofia.
They enlisted the services of C.A. Paradis’ Candace Sutcliffe to pull their ideas together into a workable design. The construction was done by Alex Diaz of Art House Developments, a local custom home builder, with Astro Design Centre participating in the kitchen work.
The kitchen includes a twelve foot island topped with Caesarstone Quartz, as well as a flexible eight-foot stainless steel counter that can be extended or pivoted depending upon the desired configuration. Diamond-shaped pendant lights over the island add contemporary flair. Nearby cupboards above the six-burner gas stove are faced with hammered steel, providing an appealing contrast to the sleek porcelain backsplash.
“John has built so many kitchens that he knows how the space should work,” says Sofia. Their chosen features include a high-tech garbage and recycling station, an advanced central vacuum system and an ultra-efficient dishwasher. More recently, they added a large, dedicated bar area with a second sink beside the dining table, to improve the flow when people come over.
Their parties are a good blend of the couple’s creative and functional personalities. “We usually have signature drinks—often Margaritas because they are our favourites—and we love to serve finger foods and appetizers that facilitate mixing and mingling,” says Sofia who often tries to bring her Guatemalan background into the food they serve. “It’s full of lots of fresh, bright flavours that are really in vogue right now.”
The moment you open the door of this New Edinburgh home, it’s obvious the owners really enjoy cooking and eating. Not only is the kitchen right at the front of the house, it’s also a true hub, with dining room, office nook, cooking and serving space all integrated into the same area. Lindsay, best known as the owner of nearby Sundae School ice cream shop and as The Modern Hostess radio presenter, and her husband Harley Finkelstein, COO of Shopify, are indeed are indeed food aficionados who love to entertain.
Lindsay wanted a relaxed space that would make guests feel as comfortable as they would in their own homes, while enjoying food prepared by Lindsay herself or the guest chefs and food experts that frequently work in her kitchen. “I didn’t want our entertaining area to be stuffy and formal. The open layout we’ve achieved also means multiple cooks can be working at the same time, and the large island gives us lots of room for plating.”
The home was built 5 years ago by Adam Zlepnig of Aloft Investments Inc., working with Maple Leaf Custom Homes. Lindsay had a chance to come in and select details and finishes in the kitchen while the home was under construction.
Lindsay knew exactly what she wanted for her kitchen, including an expansive island to serve as a focal point, plus a gas cooktop, tons of storage space and an extra-large, under-mount sink. A dining area that was large enough to add a second table for extra guests as needed was essential, and a little office nook off to the side was a bonus.
“Because I spend so much time in the kitchen, having this space nearby is great for looking up recipes online, watching cooking shows and having my favourite cookbooks close at hand,” says Lindsay. The thought that went into this kitchen is evident in the details, including the white and chrome kids’ high chair which is a perfect match for the adult-sized bar stools.
“We often host casual dinners to make people feel more relaxed and welcome,” explains Lindsay. “For dinner parties, I typically like to offer light appetizers as shared plates to be enjoyed while standing around the island. We’ll usually follow that up with three seated courses, often served family-style. Harley likes to grill so we’ll often have soup or salad, followed by a meat course with side dishes and then dessert and coffee.” Of course, Lindsay definitely enjoys serving sundaes at home—both her toddler and her husband love them.
A familiar face on the Ottawa food scene as a television presenter, recipe developer, food stylist and Ottawa At Home food contributor, Korey Kealey’s home kitchen has seen a lot of action over the years. She’s now working in real estate with her husband, Liam, and the two briefly considered finding a new home for their family, but decided to renovate their kitchen instead.
DESIGN & MATERIALS
Korey says their renovation was driven by necessity. “We realized we had a great footprint to work with here as the previous kitchen had served us so well, but things were falling apart, so it was time,” she explains. “With Liam having worked in real estate for so long, he enjoyed being an active part of the design process. I was really focused on how to make it super functional for our needs but he had his eye on making sure it would hold its value from a real estate perspective.”
With set goals of maximizing, modernizing and refreshing the space, the couple worked with designer Karen Chadwick. Her plans were taken to Andrea DeCaria, an interior designer at Deslaurier Custom Cabinets. “We’re glad they talked us into a few things like a wider peninsula and we’re so pleased with how Andrea successfully translated Karen’s design into the right materials,” notes Korey. These include countertops in matte-white HanStone Chantilly quartz, and a combination of white and rift-cut dark-stained oak cupboard doors.
Enhanced functionality abounds thanks to the wall-mounted Bosch speed oven and Wolf convection oven. A five-burner Wolf gas stove with new pot-filler tap above it sits beside an oversized Sub-Zero refrigerator with two large freezer drawers and an ice maker. Storage has been dramatically increased, with lower cabinets—containing highly functional drawers rather than shelves—plus an opaque cabinet hanging from the ceiling and loads of hidden cupboards under the island. A spacious recycling and garbage station is a favourite new feature, as are the many additional power outlets all around the island.
“Rarely do we plan a sit-down affair; we prefer informal events, where people can help themselves and grab a seat where they like,” says Korey. The wider peninsula makes a great serving area for buffet-style meals and the raised hanging cabinet helps to open up sightlines between the kitchen and family room. Easier access to extra glassware and serving pieces thanks to the additional storage underneath is another appreciated element that makes this kitchen party ready.