09/12/2012 12:20 EDT | Updated 11/12/2012 05:12 EST

This Crowded Kitchen Was a Recipe for Disaster Until...

Flickr: NicoleAbalde

Harmeen is a fantastic cook who loves to create the elaborate dishes of her traditional Indian background. But with a busy career and a house full of teenagers, she was thrilled when her daughter Niki expressed an interest in the culinary arts and offered to take over some of the cooking duties.

The problem was the family's outdated kitchen, which was cramped, awkward and completely inefficient in its use of space. While it was barely functional enough for one chef, it was positively crowded with two. Add to that two teenaged boys always search of food and the kitchen congestion was barely tolerable.

By tempting me with offers of butter chicken and samosas, Harmeen and Niki asked if I would design a more functional and stylish kitchen for them. So, I called in my team of (hungry) experts and got set to whip up a kitchen where the whole family could cook together -- and have a little elbow room to spare.


I kicked things off with my own, not-so-secret recipe -- demolition! I knocked out a few walls to create one large, open-concept space. I then ripped out the appliances, cabinets, counters, fixtures and floor and started from scratch. I painted the walls a light colour, put down cream-coloured porcelain tile on the floor and chose creamy quartz for the countertops.

To balance out the light shades, I installed an entire wall full of dark cherry-stained wood cabinets with leaded glass inserts, and installed other dark wood details such as paneled bulkheads and crown molding.

Then I got busy on the real heart of this kitchen: beautiful new stainless steel appliances. On one wall I installed a huge fridge/freezer next to two double wall ovens and a warming drawer. These are flanked on either side by matching pantries.

I then installed multiple sinks, a cooktop with a grill, a microwave, a bar area and a dishwasher -- all strategically placed to ensure good traffic flow for the chefs. I also put up a stunning backsplash of a mixture of handmade translucent and opaque tiles in a herringbone pattern.

As a focal point, I put a large, square island in the middle of the kitchen which can be used for preparation or for eating. For seating, I put brown leather chairs around the island and created a comfy bench area that has room for cookbook storage below.

To lighten up the space, I replaced the old fluorescent lighting with nicer recessed lighting and put up a gorgeous polished chrome and crystal pendant fixture above the island. For a little privacy, I put up dark woven grass blinds on the windows.

After adding some final touches -- steel cabinetry hardware, sleek faucets, a family communication system and some handmade aprons and towels -- this kitchen was ready to cook!

The kitchen was bland and boring no more. By mixing rich cabinetry, state-of-the art appliances and a host of contemporary fixtures and finishes, I created a yummy mix of style and function, and cooked up a tasty space for multiple cooks -- and multiple appetites.


A Kitchen For Many Cooks