Keep the kids top of mind. That was the key thought as interior designer Orna Fathers, founder of Grace This Space Interiors, was redesigning a Northville client’s kitchen. With young daughters who like to participate in cooking with their parents, these homeowners made it a point to ask for space that would accommodate everyone. The couple also requested lots of storage space and smart style, to make life easier when cooking, entertaining, and cleaning up.
Some of the child-friendly appointments include in-island storage for arts-and-crafts materials, low access for the little ones’ cups and plates (beneath the microwave), and a large island to handle everything from dining to food prep, homework, and working on art projects.
Fathers, who’s based in Northville, is originally from Australia and studied interior design in Europe. She opened Grace This Space five years ago and explains that she likes to imbue her projects with touches of grace — and the natural light in this kitchen is the perfect start for a grace-filled ambiance.“Grace is a large element of how we work, how we relate to our clients, and how the spaces we design should feel. This area gets a lot of light, which makes it very functional. But light and white can also be cold, so we warmed it up with wood elements.”
Merillat’s Masterpiece collection offered the customization required and features Shaker-style cabinetry that’s good quality, Fathers says, adding: “The heavier doors will stand the test of time.
“The clients really like a streamlined look. I would call it Japandi — a mix of Japanese and Scandinavian,” Fathers continues. She says this style melds the fine craftsmanship and purpose of an object with the beauty of raw materials and natural elements. “Drawing inspiration from the family’s love of natural elements and their appreciation of the clutter-free lifestyle, we decided to use elements of the Scandinavian Lagom style (not too much, not too little, but just enough) and Japanese styles, celebrating the beauty in simplicity.”
Working with Drew Duhn of Briarstone Building Inc. in Northville, Fathers focused on learning how the family planned to use the spaces.
“These homeowners are professionals with young girls, and they love to spend a lot of time together as a family,” she says. “They love to make meals from scratch, so we’ve given them plenty of space to move around in and have easy access to all areas of the kitchen.
“We talked about what they used a lot and what they used the least, so we used the real estate properly. Because she uses the mixing bowl quite a bit, we decided it’s OK to leave that on the counter. The coffeemaker is an everyday item, so it stays out.” Two drawers on either side of the stove/oven hold everything one would use while using that area. The silverware drawers pull out from the island, as that’s where the family prepares and cuts food. A dedicated knife drawer is handy, as is a cutting board that pulls out from the island. The trash can is located in the island for easy access after food prep.
A designed broom cupboard is just two steps from the island. “The homeowner can clean up messes right there, right away,” Fathers says.
The designer’s greatest challenge was incorporating enough storage. “With a whole wall that had cabinetry on it coming down (to open the space to the living area), we needed to create storage elsewhere.” The big island was a huge part of the solution because it can store so many items.
“We were able to successfully deliver to our clients a beautiful kitchen that showcased the key features of the ‘Japandi’ style, maximizing functional, minimalist, and natural elements,” Fathers says.