The Willow project was a renovation of a heritage site that converted a church site into 3 town homes, a garden suite and two coach houses.

It was a very rewarding project that won the Western Canada Design Excellent award for a “Living in Place Kitchen” and placed in the “Large Contemporary Kitchen “ and the “Large Bathroom” categories.

A very important part of this mini-multi was the appliances choices.

In the next 2 VESTA Blogs, I will walk you through how the appliances were specified for this project to show you my process.

Let’s start with the townhouses.

The Townhouses

This project was the conversion of an existing church structure into residential homes.

The main level of the church was designed to be 3 townhomes on two levels.

These homes were built “on-spec” so the developer’s investment figure needed to be top of mind when developing the layouts and specifying products.

The main level of each townhome consisted of an entry, a greatroom and a powder room.

Once the basic layout of the Kitchens was developed within the greatroom, it was time to specify the appliances.

My goal was to balance aesthetics and function with the appliance choices.

Working with an experienced appliance sales representative we were able to achieve this balance.

My first request was for on-trend black appliances instead of the standard stainless steel.

I had just returned from EuroCucina at the Salone Del Mobile show in Milan, Italy, and saw that moody color schemes with black appliances were all the rage.

I used this tradeshow as my inspiration to bring a modern feel to these Kitchens, but still stay true to the heritage status of the development.

I also knew that I would need to brighten up the “moodiness” trend to work with the grey skies of Vancouver.

Black framed windows were part of the requirements for these units so I felt black appliances would be appropriate.

The Range

After looking at a variety of options we settled on the Fisher & Paykel slide in 30″ classis gas range (OR30SCG4B1) in black for the townhomes.

What I liked about this unit was the pro feel of the range and the richness of the black finish.

This range would now be the focal point of the townhouse Kitchens.

The Ventilation Hood

To provide an up-to-date look for these Kitchens, I specified a simple wood hood in the same finish as the wall cabinetry to top the black range.

Since the range had high output BTU gas burners, we needed to specify a strong CFM (cubic feet per minute) insert.

For that, my appliance rep recommended a Broan power pack with a 500 CFM motor. (BC4130SS)

This unit would provide both the function and the aesthetics needed for these townhouse Kitchens.

I especially liked the great task lighting it provided for the cooking area.

The Refrigerator

I definitely wanted to provide a substantial amount of refrigeration in these medium sized Kitchens, so a 36″ wide model was specified.

A refrigerator that large in black or stainless steel can dominate a space, so the decision was made to go with a paneled model.

Fischer & Paykel was who we turned to, to get a truly integrated model with the ability to panel it to match the cabinetry.

To provide an on-trend installation we paneled the refrigerator to match the wall cabinetry in the lighter wood, contrasting with the dark grey base cabinetry.

The hardware chosen for the paneled refrigerators was a matte black appliance pull that was part of the hardware collection chosen for the rest of the Kitchen.

The hardware specified for appliances is very important. Don’t go with a standard cabinet pull.

You need to have something strong enough to avoid flexing when a well sealed refrigerator door needs to be opened.

The Dishwashers

To not compete with the black range, all the dishwashers in the townhomes were paneled and finished in the dark grey to match the base cabinetry.

Fisher & Paykel was the perfect choice, offering dishwasher drawers as a great solution.

The paneled dishwasher drawers perfectly integrated this appliance with the base cabinetry providing an unbroken line.

We were even able to run the kick plate material under this dishwasher to integrate it even more with the Kitchen base cabinets.

The two separate dish drawers provide flexibility for the future owners, allowing for a quick cleanup of breakfast dishes, or the ability to tackle clean-up of a dinner party.

The Microwaves

Finding an all black microwave with black trim kit proved a bit more challenging.

Budget did not allow for microwave drawers throughout the project, so black Panasonic microwaves (NNSD786S) with minimal stainless trim were specified.

The sleekness of the 24″ wide trim kits (NNTK714SS) provided an integrated look that works in this Kitchen design.

Tucking the microwave on the cooking side of the island was the perfect location for this appliance.

Wine Refrigerators

Each of the Kitchens in the townhouses were designed to accommodate a wine refrigerator.

These Danby Silhouette units (DWC031D1BSSPR) were positioned to provide an entertaining zone within the greatroom.

To provide a mini focal point, they were finished with a stainless steel frame over a dark black interior.

The overall appliance package for the townhomes provided great value, function and aesthetics for this project.

The black ranges provided the focal point needed to elevate the design of these Kitchens and the paneled refrigerators and dishwashers helped to visually expand the spaces.

Since appliances play such an important role in a spec home, we spent a lot of time deciding on the best choices for the project.

Since all three units sold just after placed on the market, I know these appliances were the right choice!

Be sure to check in next week to see what changes to the appliance package were made for the Willow’s Garden Suite and the two Coach Houses.

If you are interested in learning more about specifying appliances for your projects, be sure to register for my FREE Appliance workshop coming soon.

Founder Vestabul School of Design, Jan Rutgers

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 “Case Study: Appliances at the Willow Project

    • Thanks Jill!
      I appreciate the comment. I hope it inspires kitchen designers to really pay attention to the appliances chosen for their designs.

  1. Pingback: Case Study: Appliances at the Willow Project Part 2 – VESTABUL SCHOOL OF DESIGN

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