What I love about Kitchen Design is the ability to fulfill my client’s dreams for their Kitchen spaces.

This project was for a couple who were building their Forever Home on a spectacular view lot.

The homeowners loved to entertain family and friends and had a vision for building a home as a welcoming space for all.

With the Kitchen being the true heart of their home, my brief was to design a space that showcased their love of Modern Tuscan Décor Style and make it functional for their lifestyle.

Read on to see how I accomplished this.

The Layout

The first step was to develop a functional layout.

Prior to the homeowners contracting me as their Designer they went the route of visiting suppliers on their own.

At a visit to a cabinet shop they were offered “free” kitchen design which resulted in a design that filled the space with cabinetry, but was not functional.

Before Plan

The Before layout lacked function and the décor style clients requested.

For such a large space, the before plan was not offering adequate countertop frontage and the plan chopped up counters into multiple confined spaces.

The angled island produced an awkward work space and offered no drawer space for prep tools.

The clients also wanted to infuse their home with Tuscan Décor and this was not coming through in this cabinet layout.

After Plan

Final Kitchen Design noting Food Flow Zones and Specialty Areas
Kitchen Elevations incorporating Modern Tuscan details

The new plan was developed after an in-depth survey interview of the client’s needs and wants.

Everything from food purchasing habits, cooking style, storage needs, appliances choices, entertaining frequency to décor style was recorded.

Since my design philosophy revolves around “Form Follows Function” the floorplan was reworked to produce good Food Flow within the space.

While plotting the 5 essential Food Flow Zones additional specialty areas were placed within the floorplan to meet the client’s personal needs.

During the development of each of these functional areas the design was infused with the Modern Tuscan décor style the clients loved.

Food Storage Zone

The Food Storage Zone was placed near the side entrance to the kitchen where groceries were brought into the home.

It consists of a paneled refrigerator & freezer and a pantry unit.

The refrigeration was paneled to complement the décor style of the room and diminish it’s large size.

The Pantry was designed to accommodate large packaged goods in the deep drawers below and smaller packaged goods above in an 18″ deep upper cabinet fitted with adjustable shelves and door shelves.

Prep Zone

The island is where most cooks will gravitate for prep activities but the Primary Prep Zone was placed between the range and the large prep sink.

This location allows a weekday evening meal to be prepared quickly and efficiently.

It includes an ample 4′ run of counter space along with storage for prep related items in an upper cabinet and base storage drawers.

Cooking Zone

The Cooking Zone has a 36″ pro-style range at its center.

A remote motor was specified for the custom ventilation hood to keep noise levels down when it was in use, ensuring the cook would turn it on in this open concept space.

Behind the range a custom niche was recessed into the wall for frequently used cooking oils and the upper cabinet to the left was fitted with a door mounted spice rack.

Ample countertop drop-off space was specified on both sides of the range for food coming off the range top and out of the oven.

Serving Zone

The Serving Zone was placed along the back wall close to the dining table.

A plate rack houses oversized pasta bowls and the double door upper cabinet to the right of it is where everyday dishes are stored.

The bank of drawers directly below are for additional tableware with the top drawer fitted with a wide cutlery tray insert.

This setup allows someone other than the cook to set the table without interfering with meal prep activities in the main work zones.

Clean-Up Zone

After a meal or at the end of a party, the kitchen’s center island can tackle any amount of clean-up.

At the center of this Clean-up Zone is a large single sink that can be used for scrubbing over-sized pots and pans.

The sink comes with accessories for draining, perfect for drip drying crystal wine glasses after washing them using one of the rectangular bowls.

On one end of the island is a small trash can for food scraps and on the other is a narrow pullout for tea towels and detergents.

The paneled dishwasher blends in with the millwork and the carved posts anchor the large island.

Specialized Centers

When designing a large kitchen the designer needs to incorporate specialized centers or areas to meet their clients specific needs.

Baking Center

The homeowner loves to bake with her grand children so a designated baking center was designed for the kitchen.

Beside the oven stack is base and upper cabinetry to house all of her baking ingredients and equipment.

Above the ovens are vertical dividers keeping cooking sheets and muffin tins close by.

For more ideas on designing a bake center check out my course Kitchen Design: Solutions for Home Bakers.

Beverage Area & Quick Snack Area

A designated beverage area at the end of the kitchen houses a built-in coffee maker and a full height wine refrigerator.

This set up allows the homeowner to offer both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks while entertaining.

A quick snack area was positioned at the end of the large island.

It features a microwave drawer, a utensil drawer and an outlet to plug in a blender or toaster.

Informal Dining

The finishing touch for this entertainer’s kitchen was the large radius dining bar.

Produced from wood it offers a warm counter surface to lean on and a nice contrast to the whites in the rest of the kitchen.

The Final Design

The final Kitchen Design definitely met the design brief of a Modern Tuscan styled space.

Details in the millwork such as carved corbels, pilasters, posts and mouldings were sprinkled throughout the millwork then distressed, painted and glazed.

Natural stone was specified for the floors, counters and walls for the authentic Italian feel.

Metal accents were introduced in the cabinet hardware, iron dining bar base and custom wood hood.

The clients loved the final result that combined both aesthetics and function into one fantastic space!

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Jan Rutgers B.Sc. H.Ec.

Jan Rutgers has been designing kitchens and products for over 25 years and is a recipient of Kitchen & Bath Design News’ Top Innovators in 2020 for the Kitchen & Bath Industry. She has designed more than 1000 kitchens learning valuable skills with each one! Her experience in Kitchen Design, Millwork Manufacturing and Product Development has led her to create VESTABUL SCHOOL OF DESIGN where she educates and mentors people passionate about the Kitchen Design Industry.

3 Comments on “Kitchen Case Study: Functional Modern Tuscan

  1. What a beauty.I could move right in..It was gorgeous.

  2. Pingback: Revisiting Kitchen Design Solutions of the Past: Appliance Placement – VESTABUL SCHOOL OF DESIGN

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