And the winner is … “Beauty in Blue Notte,” a fabulous kitchen designed by Laurysen’s Caroline Castrucci! This stunning contemporary design earned a GOHBA 2020 Housing Design Award.
Here we talk with Caroline about what went into her award-winning kitchen design.
What’s the story behind this project?
The project started when I got a call from a builder I work with. He was putting up townhomes and wanted to do something special in this one unit.
We had just returned from EuroCucina (the world’s largest kitchen design exposition, held in Milan), which we attend every few years.
The new trends in Europe were my inspiration for this design: deconstructed cabinetry and open shelving, which goes up 10 or 12 feet in the air, using the entire wall, and the movement away from white and grey to black, dark brown, or navy.
What were the client’s requirements in terms of space, style, etc.?
The size and layout imposed limitations — the kitchen is small, and we couldn’t move things like the rail for the basement steps. I wanted to incorporate lots of storage and transform the space from a regular kitchen to a statement piece. It’s harder to be creative in smaller kitchens, but this one works.
Since the home is very modern and the clients are a couple in their 20s, a fresh, young style was ideal. Design and furnishings for the rest of the house were coming after the kitchen, so I was working with a clean slate.
Describe your choices of colour, texture, and materials
Just a few weeks before, I had received sample doors of a brand new product that I felt would be perfect for this kitchen. The navy was such a pretty colour — warm and rich, a real showstopper. And it’s in line with the current European palette, moving away from white and grey.
The material is sustainable melamine, an MDF frame wrapped with polyester film. It won’t peel or chip like paint, so it has a lot more durability. The finish texture is also new, similar to what we saw in Europe — it’s matte. Because it absorbs the light, the cabinet colour looks so much richer than if it were shiny. When the kitchen lighting was installed, that really brought it out.
We chose gold hardware as the perfect accent, like a pair of diamond earrings. We used gold appliances as well for a greater feeling of warmth than you get from stainless steel; they’re a new colour, called champagne bronze. Notice the gold microwave stove hood — it’s only about 9 inches high, very different from the massive 80s-style microwave fans.
The material over the hood and the refrigerator is melamine as well, but it looks so natural, exactly like slate. The only giveaway is that it’s not cold to the touch.
Something that really grabs your attention is the metal framing on the island. This was predominant at EuroCucina — almost every kitchen featured metal framing. It creates a connection with the open shelving above and below the cabinetry.
Another absolutely amazing element is the quartz countertop, with its rivers of gold specks, plus a little amethyst purple.
What factors make this an award-winning design?
It’s open, it’s airy, it’s fun. There’s such a wow factor. At the same time, it’s a very comfortable, functional kitchen.
That’s the test when I’m designing a kitchen — you have to be able to work in it.
How is Laurysen uniquely equipped to tackle projects like this one?
We’re not afraid to try something new. We are ready to use unique materials and go further than our competitors might be able to. In fact, when suppliers present us with new products, we often already know how we can use them in a design. We are always looking for new trends, like those we find at EuroCucina.
Also, at Laurysen, our plant is right here, which adds flexibility to our decisions. Suppose something changes, or we realize that we can put a little more personality into a space. In that case, we can say, “Okay, I’ll just turn to our manufacturing facility to do those cuts for me, and we can make this happen.”