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Sarah's Mountain Escape: Chef's Kitchen

Designed by Sarah Richardson

Photography by Valerie Wilcox

Haus Heidi Whistler: Chef's Kitchen

Grey and white Chef

29 How-To Renovation Tips for a Stylish Kitchen!

Thinking about renovating your kitchen? Watch this episode first! We're taking you on a tour of the Haus Heidi Whistler kitchen as seen on HGTV Canada's Sarah's Mountain Escape and dishing 29 tips you can use to dramatically transform your kitchen into a smart and stylish hub for cooking, dining and entertaining.

Before & After

Haus Heidi Whistler kitchen, before renovation
Haus Heidi Whistler kitchen, after renovation

Renovate Your Kitchen With Confidence

Know Your Needs

Renovating is a fantastic way to transform your home and create the kitchen of your dreams. It’s always critical to lay out your objectives, goals, and needs at the earliest stages of a design process. Knowing how you live, and how you want to cook, will help guarantee the best end result. I am a huge fan of a big island. My style of entertaining is casual and engaging. I like to have people in my kitchen with me, and think making a gourmet meal is part of the fun of entertaining and gathering and being together so it’s always more is more in terms of size and space and functions with any island. 

Grey and white kitchen with large island and lots of windows

Location is Key

If you are doing an entire house renovation, the first step is to think about the plan for your main living spaces. Is your kitchen where it should be? This is a key consideration to ask yourself at the outset of the project. In the case of Haus Heidi Whistler, the subject of my latest TV series Sarah's Mountain Escape, the kitchen underwent an extreme makeover. Originally located at the front of the house in the turret, I flipped the kitchen from the front to the back in order to create a much more spacious plan. Since this home has six bedrooms and sleeps over a dozen people, the goal was to create a Chef's Kitchen designed for gathering and entertaining. That means lots of space to relax and hang out, with lots of countertops to create multiple prep zones.

Grey and white kitchen with large island and lots of windows

Favour Functionality

When designing a kitchen island, I like to make sure it works for casual dining and conversation so there is an L-shaped layout for the stools that wrap around the corner and creates a restaurant bar effect. Function and practicality are always at the top of my list so this island features two dishwashers. Ready to tackle all the mess that goes along with over a dozen guests and one of my signature Kitchen design moves is to install a stone carpet accent in between the cooking area and the sink/dishwashers. The rest of the kitchen features wide plank, European white oak floors, but a home and stone pad in between the sink in the oven ensures that the floors don’t get damaged with the mess generated by cooking and cleaning up.

Grey and white kitchen with large blue island and wraparound stools

Embrace the Unusual

The funny quirk about this home is that the back wall of the house is on an angle… Not every kitchen has an irregular shape, but this one does! So instead of trying to ignore it, I think it always is best to embrace the unique and unusual features in your home. I designed an irregularly shaped island to follow the angled wall of the back of the house. When designing, it’s also important to know your materials and their limitations. Quartz countertops only come so big and I wanted to create a kitchen island that was bigger than the slab size available, so I decided to link to slabs of courts with a racing stripe accent in a different color. To me this adds a graphic element to the island and unifies. The colour is used throughout the kitchen. 

Quartz countertop with racing stripe accent

Experiment With New Ideas

When I design, I love to experiment, and my own home is always the best place to try. New ideas. In this case, I reinterpreted a Schluter tile edge in satin brass as an accent strip running underneath the countertop. It’s a subtle ribbon of soft brass, the ties together the hardware, the accents on the pendant, lights, and Adds an extra contemporary touch to finished product. The best part about experimenting in my own home is that if it works… I’ll try it again in a client's home.

Blue kitchen island with refrigerator in the background

Style Meets Longevity

When designing an island or thinking about the overall concept for your kitchen renovation, you’ll obviously need to consider whether you want a traditional or contemporary look, but I also like to consider long term, durability and maintenance. Since this is a rental house designed in contemporary alpine style, I used a slab door from Kitch. A simple, flat panel door is easy to maintain, wipe clean, and will look better in the long-haul then a more decorative door style with a recessed panel. When you’re designing your kitchen, it’s important to think long-term. I like to make choices that I feel confident, I will still love in a decade or more.

Grey and white kitchen with large blue island and wraparound stools

Let There Be Light

Classic lighting, layout above an island is two or three pendant lights. But there’s no rule that says you need to follow convention! Instead of doing the usual, I opted to try something different, and installed a grouping or a trio of sculptural pendant lights at different heights that hang down And anchor the seating area at one end of the island. This house is located in the mountains in Whistler BC so at every turn, I tried to incorporate inspiration from the natural landscape that surrounds the house. These textured, frosted glass pendants reminded me of melting, ice or snow. For me, it’s not about themes, but subtle references to The natural surroundings

Blue  kitchen island with grouping of 3 pendant lights hung above it
Breakast nook with banquette seating
Baking counter below bay window
Black and white raku ceramics
Naked raku ceramics by Kathleen Tennock

Get The Look

Sico Paints  Inkling 6206-11
Sico Paints Inkling 6206-11 (walls)
Sico Paints Sketch Paper 6206-21
Sico Paints Sketch Paper 6206-21 (trim)
Sico Paints Otary 6209-52
Sico Paints Otary 6209-52 (powder room door)
Fuzion Flooring oak floors
Fuzion Flooring Realism European Oak BAOK260RL
Kitch  cabinetry  slab door profile
Kitch Slab Supermatte Doors in Warm Alpaca
Kitch  cabinetry  slab door profile
Kitch cabinetry Slab Supermatte Doors in Gaslit Alley
Caesarstone concrete counter slab
Caesarstone Rugged Concrete 4033 Counter Slabs
KitchenAid avocado green range
KitchenAid Range with Griddle in Avocado Cream
DELTA kitchen faucet
Lowe's DELTA Single Handle Kitchen Faucet
Lee Valley rustic brass cabinet pull
Lee Valley Rustic Bridge Handle in Antique Brass
Union Lighting  white glass pendant
Union Lighting Textured Glass Mini Pendant
Union Lighting cylindrical glass wall sconce
Union Lighting Ribbed Cylindrical Glass Wall Sconce
Tom Dixon set of 5 gold bowls
Tom Dixon Large Form Bowls, Set of 5
Kathleen Tennock raku clay smoke fired ceramics
Kathleen Tennock Naked Raku Clay Ceramics
Elte Mkt side chair
Elte Mkt Cappello Side Chair
Kravet accent pillow fabric
Kravet Mattone Duckegg Fabric (F1241/02.CAC.0)
Urban Barn glazed 16-Piece dinnerware set
Urban Barn Crofton Glazed 16-Piece Dinnerware Set
Our Place plates
Our Place Midi Plates, Steam

Kitchen sources: Kitch: Slab Supermatte Doors, Finish: Warm Alpaca (Kitchen Cabinetry), Slab Supermatte Doors, Finish: Gaslit Alley (Kitchen Island Cabinetry) | Fuzion Flooring: BEAUX ARTS, OAK, T&G, 10-1/4" x 3/4" x RL (sku: BAOK260RL) | Caesarstone: Rugged Concrete 4033 Counter Slabs | Saltillo Tiles: Silver Wooden Light Stone Tiles 12" x 24" | Martin Windows and Doors: Custom, Aluminum Clad Doors & Windows | Metrie: Hemlock Baseboards 9 ⁄16" x 5 1 ⁄2" x RL (sku: HVCVS1B2 /1684663), Casings 11 ⁄16" x 3 1 ⁄2" x RL (sku: HVCVS1C2 / 1684659) | Sarah Richardson Design: Lexi Counter Stools |  Kathleen Tennock Ceramic Studio: Naked Raku Clay, Primitive Smoke Fired | Perfect Leather Goods: Leather, Colour: 4193 (Stool Upholstery), Leather, Colour: 4193 (Bench Cushion Upholstry) | Lee Valley: Rustic Bridge Handles, in Antique Brass (sku: 01G1864) | Union Lighting: Ribbed cylindrical glass wall sconce (sku: 174608003), 11" textured glass mini pendant, aged brass gold finish (sku: 174135001) | Crystal Tile & Marble: Panda Marble Slab for Range Backsplash | DiNuovo Granite & Marble: Custom 48" Round Panda Marble Table Top | Elte Mkt: Cappello Side Chairs (sku: 1026722660000), Hadwin Vase, large (sku: 1198020642410) | Kravet: Clarke & Clarke Mattone Duckegg" Fabric for Velvet Lumbar Accent Pillow (sku: F1241/02.CAC.0) | Harris Tweed: Wool Accent Pillow Fabric (sku: 2Featherweight-1818-F6) | Tom Dixon: Brass Form Plates, Set of 5 (Wall Art Installation) | Urban Barn: Crofton Glazed Dinnerware Set, Light Grey (sku: 214873) | H&M Home: Light Khaki Green Patterned Cotton Cushion Cover (sku: 1037170003) | Sarah Richardson for Palliser: Boulevard Salon Table, Base (discontinued) | 122 West: Various Cutting Boards | Our Place: Midi Plates, Colour: Steam | HomeSense: Plant Vase, Large Bowl, Tea Towel | Nespresso: Vertuo Next Dark Grey, LUME Capsule Dispenser, VERTUO Large Coffee Cups | KitchenAid: 48'' Smart Commercial-Style Dual Fuel Range with Griddle Avocado Cream, 39 dBA Dishwasher in PrintShield™ Finish with Third Level Utensil Rack, Classic 4.5-Quart 10-Speed Stand Mixer | Lowe's: Broan 48" 600 CFM Undercabinet Range Hood Stainless Steel (sku: 30414309), 36" Studio Smart Wi-Fi Enabled 23.5-cu ft French Door Refrigerator w Ice Maker w/and Door within Door (PrintProof Stainless Steel) ENERGY STAR (sku: 1697393), Frigidaire 4.6-cu ft Stainless Steel Freestanding Beverage Center (sku: 821093), Bosch 800 Series 1.6-Cu Ft Built-in Speed Cook Convection Microwave (sku: 30414169), Cuisinart 8-Cup 350-Watt Silver 2-Blade Food Processor (sku: 608644), 4-Slice Toaster (sku: 608649), Delta Trask Single Handle Kitchen Faucet Stainless Steel (sku: 699519), Kohler Prolific Undermount Kitchen Sink (sku: 490915), Blanco Quatrus Steel 17-in x 17-in Bar Sink (sku: 330034549) | Sico Paints: Inkling 6206-11 (wall and ceiling paint), Sketch Paper 6206-21 (trim paint), Otary 6209-52 (door paint)