By Lisa van de Geyn
Photography by Michael Mahovlich
There’s something magical about perfectly designing a minimalistic space. And it’s not just about leaving out the clutter — it’s about knowing how to maximize the space you have in a very effortless way. If you ask Russell Dearsley, a design consultant for Downsview Kitchens, he’ll tell you he tends to gravitate toward open concept spaces that are fresh and clean-looking. It’s one reason he decided his family’s kitchen had to look as pure and simple as possible.
This grand 6,000-square-foot abode is near the lake in southwest Oakville. It was a brand-new build for the Dearsleys, who wanted a very classic-looking house on the outside, but with a much more contemporary feel on the inside, complete with stunning limestone-like slab work throughout.
” It speaks to homeowners who love a streamlined, unique kitchen with design that takes a very easy, unpretentious approach.”
This kitchen is a master class in exceptionality — it’s not designed for those who crave a lot of frills and details in their spaces. Instead, it really speaks to homeowners who love a streamlined, unique kitchen with design that takes a very easy, unpretentious approach. “We wanted fresh and clean tones and a very minimalistic and uncluttered feel,” says Dearsley. “It was important for us to have a clean-looking space with unique features, like the hood design (which is actually drywall — it’s flush at the top and then slides out at the hood), all the drawers at the perfect height so my wife didn’t have to reach for anything, and we built a pantry and secondary kitchen off the main area.”
The spacious main kitchen is made up of a 12-foot island (which houses the dishwasher, recycling and garbage centre and the utensil and cutlery organizers), marble countertops and backsplash, and flooring done in fiveby- 10-foot porcelain slabs from Italy. There’s a series of drawers all the way across the cooktop wall and tall cabinets (perfect for storage) along the other side of the room. The cabinets and drawers are done in quarter-cut oak and painted in a custom silvery-taupe shade that works beautifully with the clean whites. Everything has its place in this kitchen, and almost everything is hidden in that place. For example, beside the wine fridge on the cabinet wall, there are two doors that open and slide outwards. Inside you’ll find a complete coffee station and toaster filled with everything the Dearsleys need for their breakfast and morning cup of java.
The eating area in the kitchen is done in a bespoke prefinished hardwood and it’s also ultra-minimalistic and done in darker shades to contrast the lighter tones in the rest of the room. Dearsley also opted out of going with the typical lighting for the kitchen — he didn’t select hanging pendants or obtrusive lights because simplicity was key. “We did pot lights and floor lights, as well as lighting that runs above and below the shelf over the cooktop,” he explains.
There are a few super impressive features encasing the main kitchen. The first is the pantry off to the side that acts as a secondary kitchen, complete with microwave, sink, countertop, a second dishwasher and freezer drawers. Directly opposite is where all the family’s dishes and cookware are stored. “It’s floor-to-ceiling dishware and it’s all behind glass that has a rubbed bronze finish. We did that to keep all of these elements out of the kitchen and out of the way,” he says.
The second feature Dearsley points to are the 10-foot-tall black doors that run all the way across the back of the kitchen and the rest of the back of the home. When these exquisite doors are open, they can be pinned back and there’s a big open space that connects the kitchen and family room with the patio and backyard. “It’s truly an indoor-outdoor space when those doors are open. And when the blinds are up, I ensured they’d go into a cavity, so you don’t see them at all — they’re hidden in the wall. Again, we wanted it to look seamless and simple and not detract from the beauty of the doors,” he says. “The house was built for entertaining — we love having friends and family over. And this kitchen gives us everything we need. We really wanted something that doesn’t appear in every other house — something that has a unique feel. And we certainly feel like we’ve achieved that.”