January 16, 2020
A young family looking to grow in a scenic area landed on a home in the Pacific Northwest. Perched on a hillside with sprawling views of the water, the home offered the location the homeowners wanted, but its strange combination of modern minimalism and outdated finishes was far from what they desired. Designer Tara Waits of Lakewood, Wash.-based Phase II Inc. worked with these clients to help this home reach its potential and to create a contemporary kitchen.
Starting from Scratch
“We began the project knowing that the home on the property needed to be completely re-done,” said Waits. “It was essentially torn down to the foundation and one exterior wall.”
During the kitchen demolition, the designer worked with the clients to establish the look they wanted. As the clients are well-traveled love to cook, the space needed to be highly organized and laid out the way she would use it.
“We went through every task that she regularly does and where everything would be stored and used,” said the designer. “The family was going to grow, so there were needs for versatility. We accomplished all of these things by carefully planning out the workspaces and storage.”
The contemporary kitchen was laid out in a two-story space with floor-to-ceiling windows facing the water. An island and a dining area were planned across from the main wall with the hood, and the majority of the storage is toward the back of the kitchen to keep views open. All the countertop appliances, cooking equipment and electrical was laid out for ease of use. Every work zone and sitting area was created with the water views in mind, which are framed by the strategically placed windows. The high ceilings and open shelving also put the views at center stage.
“The client can move freely in a beautiful space with a water view from every angle, and she has every tool at her fingertips,” said Waits. “The perfect dream kitchen has been achieved for her.”
Warming Up the Modern Look
With the high ceilings and overall industrial, contemporary appeal of the home, it was important to balance out the harshness of the overall design with wood tones and texture. This started with the high-gloss white cabinets around the perimeter, which are balanced with walnut shelving and furniture-like cabinetry.
The lighting was another issue in this spacious kitchen, which had the added problem of sloped ceilings. Waits’ solutions included 2-in. can lights in the ceiling for overall lighting, then cable lighting paired with LED undercabinet lighting illuminates the perimeter and prepping areas.
“The final challenge was to sufficiently light the island but not have it cover or detract from the design,” she said, explaining that she used a simple, linear pendant that could drop down from the ceiling and illuminate the island without impairing views of the kitchen. “All levels of light can be dimmed and controlled separately or together with the whole-house Control 4 automation system.”
Bespoke Touches for a Contemporary Kitchen
The focal point of the kitchen is the hood, which needed boldness to balance out the tall ceilings of the space, and it had to tie the different elements of the kitchen together. With the water views, modern elements and dark woods in the space, the kitchen hood needed to encompass a sense of locality and contemporary design.
To accomplish this, a metal artist was commissioned to create the piece. This black hood with a natural patina has a handcrafted look and a modern shape that helps tie it into the home. The metallic elements in the hood – which echo the home’s exposed steel – are then repeated on part of the kitchen backsplash and then under the island.
“One of my favorite elements of this design is the bespoke hood,” said Waits. “I love the layered look you see when you view the kitchen as whole, and it connects from floor to ceiling.”
Designer: Tara Waits, Phase II Inc.
Photographer: Roger Turk
Backsplash, Cabinet Finish & Hood: Honan Custom Metals Custom Patina Metal
Cabinet Hardware: Emtek
Cabinets: Bill Schultz Cabinet Co.
Countertop: Meta Marble Seattle
Island Pendant: Sonneman