An Artist's Guide to Renovating a Kitchen by Sarah Delaney

Today we invited Vancouver artist, Sarah Delaney to share a little sneak peek and insight into her newly renovated kitchen that she shares here in Vancouver with her husband, Andrew. You may recall we did a home tour here on Poppytalk a while back of their old apartment which was equally beautiful (link here). Now in their new apartment, Sarah (who actually went to school for Interior Design) was able to work her skills, making all the design choices, material selections and took on the role as project manager by hiring out and coordinating each trade (from countertop to plumbing), and also did a few projects herself for their new kitchen. The result is a well-thought out space, worthy of sharing how she landed the overall look. Let's take a look at this gorgeous new space!

Step 1: 
Pin all favourite kitchens. My Pinterest has become my file folder and safe for all things inspiration. I have a lot. 

Step 2: 
Create a shortlist of favourites. Identify of all the things that tie these kitchens together. ie. white and raw, natural wood, minimal hardware, beams, open shelving, plaster 

Step 3: 
Learn about your home — the age, the neighbourhood’s history, the city’s style. And try to incorporate these aspects. This will help the design remain timeless. 

I live in Vancouver — a coastal city, known for it’s rainforests and big cedar trees. Vancouver is a relatively young city, and didn’t develop a well known style until after WWII. This new aesthetic emerged into what we refer to today as “West Coast Style”. It’s a contemporary design that prioritizes its vistas and takes advantage of its natural resources, not surprising this includes local wood. 

Vancouver is often referred to as the “city of glass”, for its extensive use of glass and natural lighting. I live in a part of Vancouver called Fairview. My townhome was build in the mid 1980s when this neighbourhood was really taking off. A prominent design style of the time was Post Modernism. Many of the buildings in this area have nods to the Mediterranean or Southern California (lots of stucco, roof parallels, open common courtyards, arched windows). 

Step 4: 
Evaluate your choices with history and heart of the city in mind. Knowing these facts made it easier to make my own design choices. I tried to honour modernism, by selecting contemporary silhouettes and natural finishes that aligned with this ethos. ie. I couldn’t go making a country farmhouse style home or a Southwestern Adobe in the middle of Vancouver. 

Step 5:  
With all this in mind, make a list of what your “key materials” are. Try to stick to this list as a guide for a cohesive look. This can be hard with all the design trends out there! For examples, even though I love the look of veining in quartz and marble, I knew it wasn’t part of my plan. Also, I reminded myself that it is important to include materials and details that are personal and unique to you - - especially in decor and in ART ! 

My materials list includes: 
Natural maple (from back in Ontario) 
Riftcut oak Matte White Beige and cream (never grey) 
Black (accents) 
Ceramics in natural and terracotta tones 
Wicker and woven textures (from my travels) 
Emphasis on handmade details, art, objects, patterning

Thank you for sharing Sarah! Follow Sarah at the links below for more inspiration and her beautiful art.

Jan Halvarson

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