Design | Kitchen Renovation

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  • Designer || Bellomo & Shea
  • Project Type ||Kitchen Reno
  • Year || 2016
  • Budget ||Witheld
  • Personal Role || Partner, Client Liaison, Design & Construction Drawings
  • Location || Hinton, Alberta, Canada
  • Area || 144 sq ft
  • Brief Description || A kitchen renovation by Bellomo & Shea, which includes a mirror to see the trees from the sink, because we couldn’t do a window, a lovely custom stainless steel sink & draining rack, and a lovely food-jar storage pulley-box over a custom pine table. There’s nothing quite like kitchens to design, in terms of cheerful-ness.


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A project by Bellomo & Shea: a complete kitchen renovation. Breakfast seating next to the handmade window from the mud-room/vestibule, for reading the paper, doing the bills, or enjoying the morning flowers. The window to the exterior faces East to the morning sun, and overlooks the side walking-path, which moves past the house out to the forest reserve and the Beaver Boardwalk; we designed a mirror angled from the sink, because we couldn’t add another window, so the person doing the dishes can still view the trees and passersby. It works perfectly, and adds a lot of light to the room. The sink & dishes area is a custom-made stainless steel all-in-one, so putting the dishes away isn’t any trouble: they simply drip-dry over the (beautiful) (giant) travertine marble slabs and stay there until next use. Pots and large utensils hang above the stove, as well as a custom fume-hood.

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The custom cupboard is a playful piece, designed by me, and handmade by a friend of the family’s (Ken Leonty), which is counterweighted with a basket of river stones, so it stays open as long as you need, so you can putter with your mason jars as long as required. A few people along the way were pretty dubious that it would actually work, which made me a bit nervous and self-doubting, but as you can see, it works very well, exactly as planned! Whew. I find it adds a lot to the space. Maybe because it is a large expanse of beautiful maple wood, or maybe it is the pulleys attached to it, which makes people curious about the mechanism, and guests tend to want to open and close repeatedly like kids tend to do. Kitchen playtime. 

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The pine counter top and legs, which is simply a free-standing table, is designed to be re-used if the kitchen is disassembled in the future. It might make a beautiful workbench, for example. It was made in the mountain style, according to my design by the lovely people at Mark Deagle Log Building (and overseen by the man, Mark Deagle in red suspenders, himself). Under the pine table is a two-drawer fridge, which saves a lot of space in the kitchen, and as the household only really eats fresh and simple foods, it is large enough to store their eggs, milk, butter and kale & carrots.

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The general contractor on this project was Brad Humphrey Architect Ltd., and as you can see, Brad and his workers did an excellent job putting the pieces of this project together, including building this pine window. This little window is where the old door to the kitchen was, pre-renovation. I wanted to preserve the existing sight-line, on entering the home, out through the kitchen and living room into the forest beyond. At the same time, I wanted to close off the kitchen a bit, making it less of a thoroughfare, and more of a little warm cozy space of its own. This little handmade window, built from my sketch, did its job. With a light hung over it, and a table with flowers below it, I can’t say that there are very many better breakfast nooks. Or any better places to have a quiet but cozy cup of tea late at night in a pool of light.

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This kitchen was designed using zero VOC and low-reactivity materials. There are no MDFs, no adhesives, no new-paint smells. When new-installed it smelled as if it had been there for years; it smelled gently & vaguely of pine but only that and nothing else. The materials selected are woods (fir, pine, maple), and steel. There is virtually nothing in this kitchen which doesn’t need to be there. It feels good under the hands, and is gentle on the planet. It was designed to be a simple kitchen for simple but elegant living. It has a lot of light, a warm feeling, and as few bad things in it as possible. Materials were pre-tested for chemical sensitivity by the client, and this kitchen provided a happy ending where a happy ending was needed.


* All photographs are by my sister Lara Shea, of Shea Studios. You can view more of Lara’s lovely work on the Shea Studios website, here: www.thesheastudios.com. Thanks also to Ken Bibby and Lara Shea for their excellent modelling work during the photo shoot, and to them as well as to Myra Chase for help with staging.

* For more of Mark Deagle, from Mark Deagle Log Building, see their facebook site here.

* For more of Brad Humphrey, from Brad Humphrey Architect Ltd., see his website: www.bradhumphreyarchitect.com.