It was a chance Halloween night pit stop that introduced Toronto designer Sarah Hartill to her future client Rachel Turnpenney — and Rachel’s love of entertaining. “The kids and I were out trick-or-treating with a mutual friend and Rachel invited us into her home, where it looked like they were set up for a party,” says Sarah. “I joked, ‘So, the question is: do we go out trick-or-treating or do we stay here?’” They struck up a friendship and soon got to work on redesigning the 360-square-foot kitchen, which Rachel shares with her husband, Robert Di Minno, and their two kids. Inspired by the beachy ’80s vibe in the rest of the home, Sarah gave the kitchen a similar feel with an injection of breezy personality and a lounge-like vibe.
For the kitchen’s eat-in dining area, Sarah selected chairs from West Elm for their delicate pink hue and curvy shape, which offset all the hard surfaces in the kitchen. “They’re also a nice complement to the oval table,” says Sarah.
In order to make the white kitchen feel dynamic, Sarah mixed traditional and modern elements. For example, the classic Shaker-style cabinetry and bridge faucet contrast with the edgy light fixtures over the island and dining table. “I love creating tension in my designs,” says Sarah. “I also want a design to last, so I stay away from trends.” Sarah brought in luxurious yet understated elements to dovetail with the overall design of the house. Case in point: Rachel loved the graphic look of the darkly veined quartzite countertops, so Sarah wrapped them up the wall to create a sophisticated backsplash with dimension.
With its coastal vibe, this casual, lounge-like kitchen feels like a natural extension of the adjacent living room. “In an open space like this one, you have to be aware of how things layer visually,” says Sarah. To keep sight lines clear from one end of the kitchen to the other, she chose backless bistro stools that tuck neatly under the island when not in use.
To improve the kitchen’s overall efficiency, Sarah extended the new cabinetry from wall to wall and from floor to ceiling, maximizing storage. She also centered the range in the countertop to create ample workspace on either side. The walls and cabinetry were painted in Benjamin Moore’s Oxford White to reflect natural light for a bright, spacious feel.