Chef Mario Batali once said: “The kitchen really is the castle itself. This is where we spend our happiest moments and where we find the joy of being a family.”
When the opportunity arose for architect Nicky Gurret to redesign her own family kitchen, she carefully considered how to connect the entire home through that central space.
“The kitchen I designed for my family is the centre of the house and opens up to the living room, dining room, entry, hallway, and outside dining area so in essence it is the heart of the house,” said Gurret. “To get to all other rooms in the house one has to pass through it. Therefore I designed a modern kitchen to be functional for cooking and baking yet be open and compliment the dining, living, entry and hallway and feel part of these areas.”
The importance of food in her family harkens back to her childhood when her father was the executive chef of the Princess hotels. “Our dinner conversation invariable everyday would turn to food,” she said. “The preparation of food and elements associated with it are indelibly imprinted on me especially since my father has passed away. My father, along with my mother, taught me how to cook.”
Removing a stud wall in the original space increased the size of the new kitchen and improved the flow between the adjacent rooms. “The kitchen in essence was no longer a room but an extension of the dining area, living area and entry and hallway. It had to take on the qualities of a bar, a buffet area, entertainment area, hallway and food preparation area, dining area and art display area.”
The architect designed the kitchen to be light, bright and calm with an extensive countertop to “spread out items for crafts, cooking, baking and entertaining yet be visually appealing and have continuity to all the spaces that surround it.”
Materials—like the porcelain tile resembling marble and the Macabus quartzite countertop—were carefully chosen to make the space functional and easy to clean. A full-height wall of white cabinets was designed to provide storage while blending in with the white walls to keep the kitchen feeling light and airy. Dark cherry cabinets were chosen to resemble furniture and hide appliances. And, as the architect says fondly, “there is always a vase with floral art in the middle depending on what is growing in the garden.”