Sculptural Kitchen Islands
All my work is custom made, and the cabinetmakers, metalworkers and contractors I work with are hand picked for their positive attitude towards challenging projects, and their passion for precise work and attention to detail. Keep that in mind - an idea is only as good as its execution!
Utilizing the leftover space between a wall of appliances and a curved island that spreads wide into an odd-shaped great room, this multi-level prep island was created for serve a number of purposes. The angled bamboo base with its thick quartz counter houses an appliance lift for the Mixmaster, as well as the Prep Sink. A bamboo butcher block atop a blue stained open shelving unit repeats the shape of the main island, while its extension, the dropped stainless steel counter, was added to offer a carefree 'work' and eating space for the homes two toddlers. The island is also a collage that allowed me to unite many of the various products and finishes I used throughout the main floor.
This companion piece was designed as the 'little sibling' of the fireplace seen in the back. The controlls for the radiant heat are actually located in the bottom of its concrete base, while the actual copper clad cabinet houses bar supplies. The steel support of the wood top was a leftover piece from the exposed roof trusses, which you can make out at the very top of the photograph. Hardly visible at the left back is a spared out corner that was filled with stacked and backlit broken edge glass for a moodlight effect at night.
The bar island from the back shows off nicely the soft curved shape of the wood top, and the effect of the lit glass corner. The main island's theme was inspired by the infinity pool outside, and the curved shape of the custom made hood plays off on the shape of a copper canopy that protects the barbeque area on the pool deck. The main island also features exposed concrete, as do so many parts of this architect designed home. Dividing the drawer fronts into 2 layers of glass and wood strengthens its linear design orientation, and the choice of the glass countertop and backsplash (not shown) with its bubble texture is another subtle integration of the element of water.
Ever wanted to pole dance in your kitchen? That's was actually not the idea behind this stainless steel post, but it sure adds a suggestive element, and a sparkle, to this dark and sexy kitchen. The actual task was to get power into the island without disturbing the heatmat in the old tile floor, which was simply overlayed with the black Italian tile. The history behind this island is a story in itself - the design went through 7 transformations, starting out with a very traditional shape and design, and quickly moving towards this soft sinuous shape, that allowed for a much better flow through the space and out onto the deck. In this case the final shape of the island convinced the home owners to shift the overall design from their previous notion of a traditional Arts and Crafts style kitchen to a contemporary approach.
I am sure one can tell by all my examples that I am not shy to combine colours and textures. Not that I wouldn't love the challenge of a stark,single colour design one day (anyone, please!?!), but it seems that I attract clients who crave a sensual, layered environment. I have to assume that this request also roots in my location: the magnificent West Coast of Canada is stunning, vibrant, filled with glorious light, and my days are visual feasts of snowcapped mountains, the ocean, rainforest, lush English style gardens and a huge variety of wildlife. This modern interpretation of a traditional style kitchen allowed us to incorporate a 14' long island. The shape evolved after the client and I explored a series of other designs. The client chose a single long island over the combination of two islands. In order to make sure that she didn't end up cluttering up her counter top, and to avoid the 'hallway' effect such a long piece has, I broke the design up into a 9' long work island ( blue), a slightly lower 4' island that houses a microwave drawer ( black), and the brilliant red custom turned table with it's round wood top The piece of art in the back shows quite clearly where the col...
The lovely owners of this 25' long island were working me hard - again I had tried to convince them to divide the space into 2 main islands to allow for passage, but I gave in to their wish of a continuous design after my third spatial exploration. A rather difficult space to begin with, the island is divided into 2 workzones around a stainless steel custom made round prep sink. Materials were chosen according to the owners desire to create a truely organic West Coast Style space. The bar top in itself was a challenge, as we had to find 5 pieces of so called 'Life Edge' Wood ( which shows the shape of the treebark, see on the left side), and find a way to make butt them into each other in a fitting way. The brushed Black Matrix stone counters were doubled up in thickness to make sure the proportions of the room, and the sense of weight of the rest of the cabinetry was being matched. The pebble floor inlay picks up on the shape of the bar, creating yet another layer of undulations to the Great Room.
I found combining 3 different types of wood with each other quite unnerving. I had only one other project down my sleeve at that time that combined 3 different woods, and I was aware of how challenging this endeavour is. My choices of natural maple, fir and Hickory ended up to be very satisfactory. Essentialy I see my work with different types of veneer or hardwood as a form of large scale marquetry, and one has to make sure the different wood colours are harmonious, and that the grain patterns are not overpowering each other. To visually 'controll' the effect of all this wood I utilized raw steel accents in form of banding and clavos, as well as (again) the use of a textured glass counter - I am just so delighted with the green hues against the reddish wood...
Technically not an island, but a peninsula, this bar is made of plywood covered in stainless steel laminate. Using a meandering shape allowed us to precisely position the square pucklights in its top. The actual bartop is indeed backpainted blue glass for easy clean up. The theme of the 'Meander', which is a stylized form of a river from the Greek and Mesopotamian culture, was chosen because of the location of the house in a river valley, as well as its implication of fruitfulness and fecundity. The shape itself has been subtly repeated throughout the home.
This bar has been made from 3 pieces of preformed concrete. A kitchen for a fine art painter, materials were selected to match her sense of esthetic in her paintings ( see background) - stained quartersawn oak, soft green matte lacquer, bronze and copper all pick up on the setting atop a wooded cliff looking out over the ocean.
A rather simple way to give character to a peninsula is by means of surface application. Here the use of glass mosaic tile allowed for a quick and easy make-over of a bachelor pad in a 50's retro style icecream parlour look. The industrial chic stainless steel brackets support a heavy, odd shaped glass top. The slightly angled mirror base creates the perception of floating cabinetry. I hope I was able to spark ideas about a different approach to design in you with my examples! Allow yourself to think outside the box -the possibilities are endless...