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Kitchen: Party of 5

Photography by Stacey Brandford

Posted on Feb 19, 2019

Kitchen designed by Sarah Richardson and Tiffany Piotrowski

Behind every gorgeous interior image, there’s a talented photographer dialled into every tiny detail to ensure the room looks its very best. I’ve been working with photographer Stacey Brandford for 21 years now (that’s right….more than 2 decades!!). We first met on a shoot in 1998 and have spent hundreds of hours huddled behind the scenes to “get the shot” ever since. Stacey’s the detail-oriented eye behind the hundreds of images used in my books, on magazine covers, and website. With a busy work life serving his dynamic client base and a young family (3 kids under 12 at the time of this reno), somehow getting around to tackling the renovation of his banana yellow circa-70’s kitchen just never quite happened. And that’s where I came into the picture! No one loves a good “before” more than me, so I set to work reimagining the space. The design brief was pretty simple: Stacey and his wife Anne wanted monochromatic and minimal. No muss, no fuss - just clean lines and a modern sensibility for their busy hive of a household. Achieving maximum impact without breaking the bank was also top priority.

Here’s the design brief:

  • Combine 2 dysfunctional spaces into one sleek family-friendly kitchen for a couple who loves to cook
  • Change the single door to a large patio door for easy access to the garden and bbq + enlarge windows to create a brighter, contemporary envelope
  • Outfit it all with durable, kid-friendly materials
  • No upper cabinets on the perimeter walls flanking the stove and the sink
  • Roomy island with enough room for all 3 kids to sit for breakfast (that still allowed plenty of circulation space)
  • Space to display sentimental treasures and collected objects
  • Tucked away solution for messages, schedules, kids' artwork
  • Manage the budget without sacrificing style using in stock materials and cabinetry
  • And…make it all ready for a photo finish ;)
Stacey's Kitchen - Before

The dining space was moved out of the kitchen and the wall dividing the spaces was demolished. The window was raised to accommodate the new cabinets and sits above the sink area now.

Stacey's Kitchen - Before

Once the space was redefined as a wide open area by knocking out the awkward doors, the kitchen became the foundation for cooking and entertaining.

Stacey's Kitchen - Before

Goodbye little door, hello double patio doors! The door frame to the left was removed to combine the two spaces, and the small door, windows and counter seen here were cleared away to welcome the light with the installation of patio doors.

Stacey's Kitchen - Before

Out with the old, and in with floor-to-ceiling cabinetry built around the new fridge! The new pantry was extended and the depth was adjusted to hide the (big yellow) existing chimney stack.

Kitchen designed by Sarah Richardson and Tiffany Piotrowski

Materials matter - this house is a popular after school kids' zone so crowd friendly, hard-wearing materials were mandatory - a black stone floor, easy to wipe down glossy slab door cabinets and waterfall edge counters are tough enough to stand up to 3 kids….and all their friends.

Kitchen designed by Sarah Richardson and Tiffany Piotrowski
Kitchen designed by Sarah Richardson and Tiffany Piotrowski

Top 8 kitchen details & customizations:

Kitchen designed by Sarah Richardson and Tiffany Piotrowski

1. Go minimal

Are you up for a no clutter challenge? Or is a fuss-free life your raison d'être? Either way, let the form and function of your kitchen speak to your minimalist inclination with clean lines. Simple open shelves, streamlined hardware and a visibly seamless waterfall edge island keep the look clean and streamlined with minimal fuss.

2. Black & white is all right

You know how much we love colour at SRD! But sometimes a graphic tuxedo-inspired palette is just what the designer ordered! Adhering to a restrained palette acts as the calm current in a house that's filled with colourful personalities.

Kitchen designed by Sarah Richardson and Tiffany Piotrowski
Kitchen designed by Sarah Richardson and Tiffany Piotrowski

3. Cabinetry redux

The clients' request: no upper cabinets... so we tweaked the cabinetry layout to maximize storage while delivering minimalist appeal. When the mandate is 'less is more', opt for lower cabinets and drawers, open shelving above the counters to artfully display collections, and then install a full wall of floor to ceiling cabinetry. With space for pantries, the fridge, and even a coffee station, this single wall acts as storage central. Wipeable and durable gloss-white cabinets were installed to maximize vertical space - and the full wall of cabinetry allowed us to discreetly hide an existing structural challenge that couldn’t be moved (the chimney stack!)

4. Jazz up all white

When it comes to affordable white tiles, more is more! Give your backsplash major personality by taking the tiles from the counter all the way up to the ceiling - and then install them in an eye-catching herringbone pattern for added impact. The result is both visually striking and completely pratical. A win-win!

Kitchen designed by Sarah Richardson and Tiffany Piotrowski
Kitchen design by Sarah Richardson and Tiffany Piotrowski

5. Balancing act

A minimalist design brief doesn’t necessitate a lack of shapely silhouettes. To balance the crisp lines and boxy profile of the cabinetry we opted for a nod to softness with globe-shaped pendants and sconces in sleek black.

6. Add an accent

Don’t forget to inject some soul into your kitchen with tactile surfaces and warm hues. Sculptural solid walnut stools combined with functional wood accents like cutting boards, bowls and serving pieces add a touch of natural warmth amidst the restraint of all things black and white.

Kitchen designed by Sarah Richardson and Tiffany Piotrowski
Kitchen designed by Sarah Richardson and Tiffany Piotrowski

7. Artful backdrop

Amidst a sea of hard kitchen surfaces and durable materials, we’re always craving ways to lend a softer touch to the overall vibe. Treating the wall furthest from the sink, stove (and all the mess) to the graphic lines of our favourite ocean wave wallpaper gives the hardworking kitchen crew something dreamy to gaze at.

8. Command central

Conquer clutter and keep it out of sight! An oversized magnet board to collect kids' drawings, school memos, recipes, bills, and more keeps the fridge clutter free (and the family organized).

Kitchen designed by Sarah Richardson and Tiffany Piotrowski

The plan:

Stacey's Kitchen Floor Plan
Stacey Brandford and family

...and that’s a party of 5 happy with their awesome new kitchen!


Click here to read the original press feature from the May 2017 issue of Canadian House & Home.


Chicken meatballs

Craving something cozy and yummy?

Click here for my kid-friendly chicken meatballs recipe and my brother Ben’s basic tomato sauce.


Source Guide:

IKEA: cabinetry, countertop, faucet, appliances | Creekside Tile: floor tile, backsplash | Shelter Furniture: stools | Schoolhouse: sconces | Rejuvenation Lighting: pendants | Belt: shelving brackets with bluestone tile | Cole & Son: wallpaper | Uline: magnet board | Elte: bowl on island | Patrick Le Blond: pottery plate, bowl on shelf | Bluestone Shelves: shelf brackets (with custom black-stained wood shelves) | EQ3: marble utensil holder, oil & vinegar bottles | Ginger's: tea towel | Menu: salt & pepper bottle grinders | KitchenAid: stand mixer | vintage kettle