Transitional Zone

How to perfectly balance modern and traditional into a cohesive dream kitchen.

Many of us feel at home in a space that’s neither too traditional nor too ultramodern. Transitional is the one that feels just right. Beverley Binns, creative director at her family’s eponymous kitchen design and contracting business, expertly nails this style in a bright, urban Toronto Beaches home. “It was planned with a contemporary mindset, with some historical references, by introducing the classic Shaker-style door with dark lacquer cabinetry,” she says. “It has a real urban aesthetic to it — a trend I’ve been seeing coming out of Europe for a while.”

The kitchen was part of a larger whole-home renovation for family friends of Binns’. She kept the old masonry wall where the original back window was to create a window into the living room. “I used that opportunity to create a trough to grow plants and herbs. It throws back to that traditional placement of the sink,” says Binns, who thought out each detail to this extent. By building meaningful and well-considered details into the design, the result is palpable. The same warm walnut from the flat-fronted pantry cabinet lines the curio cabinet and open shelves creating a friendly backdrop to “a curation of their lives,” as Binns puts it.

beautiful kitchen with back lit storage space and gray cabinets

With a bright, casual family room elsewhere, there was no longer a need for a living room in this part of home, thus giving Binns ample square footage for the kitchen itself. “The owners are big entertainers, big foodies, so I wanted the kitchen to be a huge highlight of the house, very open for guests to gather, with lots of space to cook for people with people,” she says. The placement of the appliances and cabinetry works intuitively. The owners requested no upper cabinets to impede their sightlines or work flow. So, with a light and airy vibe on the agenda, Binns opted for a crisp white backdrop in lieu of the more expected all-white kitchen. Instead, she grounded the space with high-contrast dark cabinets, which create a less sterile and functional aura to the kitchen.

build in storage space and wine shelves

A casual mix of finishes cultivates a relaxed, authentic look. “Nowadays, it’s okay to mix materials, colours. We have gold and black handles and a silver metal faucet that push that urban, transitional aesthetic,” says Binns. “Mixing and matching and bringing in other elements is great. Unlike other rooms in a home, the kitchen is one space where we tend to pick everything at the same time and not everything needs to match, or is meant to.” It’s exactly that feeling, and motivation, of authenticity that drives this design to the next level.

Photography by Valerie Wilcox