Trends in high-end cars, fashion, music, and art often start in Europe before making their way into North America. So, it’s not surprising that a cabinetry style fancied by those in the Old World has become increasingly popular on these shores.
Handleless cabinetry is trending says Tom Chambers, design sales representative for Chervin Kitchen & Bath in Muskoka. Without the handles, the visual flow of the cabinetry is smooth, straight and sleek. It’s a modern look that is particularly well-suited to contemporary cottage design.
“The doors and drawers are controlled using magnets or push-to-open mechanical hardware,” Tom explains. “Even appliances can be incorporated into the design using what’s referred to as kick-open technology. We’ve been seeing a lot more of it over the last few years.”
This design style was incorporated into the kitchen and pantry at a recently completed Muskoka cottage. It was appealing to the owner because it matched the overall feel and look of the building, both on the interior and exterior. This allowed the kitchen area to be a focal point while maintaining design continuity.
Hide in plain sight
While walking through the project, Tom pushes on a large panel and a fully stocked fridge is revealed. The dishwasher is hidden in the island cabinets, creating minimalist optics while maximizing use of space.
The appliance layout also features other creative approaches. The centre-mounted stovetop is separated from the oven and range for aesthetic and practical purposes. Utensils, pots, and pans are stored in drawers closest to the appropriate appliance for ease of use and to alleviate congestion in a busy kitchen area.
The cabinetry is crafted from rift-cut white oak finished primarily with black lacquer. “Rift cut means the tree or wood is cut perpendicular to the grain, so you get more straight lines,” Tom explains. “As opposed to the traditional swirly oak. The black matte finish helps bring out the solid pattern with more texture and depth.”
The black blends with the window frames and other contemporary tones, including the stovetop, oven and range. Small touches of natural wood finish provide a stunning contrast to the black while tying the cabinetry to the flooring. “Matching with the décor of the cottage gives the place a total package look.”
When Tom says, “total package,” he is also referring to a hidden pathway around to the pantry – which is built into the back of the kitchen cabinetry, creating one large unit in the open concept cottage.
“This makes the pantry an extension of the kitchen, providing even more storage space without adding another full unit,” explains Tom.
The whole project exemplifies the quality design and expert installation services that Chervin Kitchen & Bath is known for.
Tom says this project had a special appeal because it was being built for a repeat client.
“We’ve worked for this client before at another property and he was happy to call us for this project,” explains Tom. “Previously, we had designed and installed a traditional cabinetry style, so when this idea came through, we were excited by the prospect of impressing him with something new.”
Three decades and counting
Chervin Kitchen & Bath is celebrating 30 years in business in 2021, having been launched by Kevin Bauman near Kitchener in 1991. The company has seen steady growth throughout the years, and now produces custom cabinets to nearly every specification from a large variety of materials. They operate two manufacturing plants with a combined size of 150,000 square feet.
Tom himself has been a Chervin representative for close to 10 years and enjoys meeting with clients to discuss their needs, be it at the client’s property or at the Chervin showroom. Chervin has showrooms in Muskoka, Oakville and Waterloo to serve their clients’ needs.
“It’s great building strong relationships with our clients as we take them through the whole process,” he says. “From the early concepts and dream ideas, through the final touches after installation, it’s a rewarding feeling to be there from start to finish.”
Before the design process begins, Tom likes to work with his clients to understand both their functional and their aesthetic needs. The cabinetry needs to allow perfect workflow whether hosting a dinner party or cooking for one, with storage space to meet each client’s needs, and colour schemes and design elements that complement the rest of the décor.
Also, Tom says to be aware that ceiling height, windows and light fixtures all have a direct effect on cabinetry. And when discussing budgets, he always advises ensuring that the budget includes adequate allowances for plumbing, appliances, and electrical work as well as the cabinetry.
“Being armed with every possible detail ensures our expert team can deliver on your expectations.”
TEXT CHRIS OCCHIUZZI | PHOTOS ANDREW FEARMAN