Kitchen – Christie Residence – Lincoln, Ontario
General and Technical Report:
The project forms part of a house constructed on the Niagara escarpment in Lincoln Ontario Canada. The design of the house includes an existing 167 sq.m. glass artist’s studio, built in 2010 and an addition of 371 sq.m. The addition includes four bedrooms with on-suites bathrooms, an office for the architect and artist, a small den for guests and a new studio for the artist and their son who is an illustrator/artist.
In 2013 the artist decided to down size the scale of her work. She determined that she loved her studio so much that she wanted to effectively live in it. The space is high (4.4 m), light filled, with floor to ceiling windows on all sides. Lower volumes on the east and west sides create areas for support spaces. With the encouragement of the artist, this studio space was then reimagined as the centre of the house, serving the kitchen, living, dining and entertaining needs of the family.
The main kitchen occupies a complete wall of the volume and is supplemented with a utility island. These areas are created from the previous wet areas which served as the “cold work” zone in the glass finishing process. Conveniently they are built upon the mechanical/electrical services already in place. Previous furnace and kiln areas are now a fireplace, entertainment and art zone. The previous support and storage spaces are now the pantry.
Although the volume is quite high, the kitchen has been design and scaled for everyday access and convenience. The architect developed several concepts before arriving at the final design that marries function and a crisp modern aesthetic.
The existing studio finishes were kept as is, with the exception of the floor finish which was originally polished concrete, but is now a combination of maple and travertine. The structure of the studio is simple post and beam construction with glazed infill and solid walls. The beams are simple LVL’s and still have the manufacturing stamps, as well as hand marked assembly instructions. These were preserved as a legacy of the original purpose of the structure. A cedar roof deck with suspended lights fixtures are also maintained and continue to provide reflected general lighting.
To both complement and contrast with the original studio design, the kitchen and pantry are composed of three main finishes for the cabinets.
• High gloss lacquer finish on upper cabinets in Oxford white
• Natural finish on lower cabinets and recessed upper cabinets in “QTR cherry reconstituted oak” (manufacturer’s term)
• Caesar stone counter tops and back splash in white
This simple palette brings a degree of order to a volume that has an abundance of views to the exterior, a mixture of heirloom and modern furniture pieces, and numerous display spaces for work of the artist and their friends. Open shelves built into the sides of the cabinets were originally planned to accommodate cook books but are now art niches.
The concept of advancing the upper cabinets proud of the normal one foot depth was a result of the need for additional storage space for large serving platters used in entertaining and to increase capacity for storage. This approach was also used in the pantry.
The appliances include stainless steel on the double ovens, the cook top, the micro wave and drawer pulls. All major appliances such as the refrigerator, freezer, and dishwashers are built-in and have corresponding finishes. The refrigerator is located on the main kitchen wall, the two – single drawer dishwashers are located on each side of the main sinks. The freezer, microwave and beverage fridge are located in the pantry.
The pantry also includes a rolling / mobile counter cupboard arrangement that facilitates the baking centre relocation to the main kitchen for production purposes at special times of the year. This mobile unit also performs as a bar counter at the pantry entry, allowing the beverage manager to function in the pantry, with easy access to water and ice while creating special elixirs. During functions the pantry separates the food preparation from the beverage service.
The island serves multiple functions. An open counter area at one end allows for some entertaining during food preparation, small gatherings for wine and cheese, and morning coffee. The island wraps around a column forming a continuous surface on both sides of a half wall. This counter extension on the dining side functions as a servery / buffet on occasion with utensils and plates located below. The half wall, also covered with Caesar stone on all sides, acts as a screen from the dining area to the food production area and the dish washing functions.
The kitchen is planned to accommodate multiple people preparing food that is locally sourced. Canning and preserving and cooking from scratch with basic ingredients are essential.
The lighting in the kitchen and pantry are all LED including under cabinet, pot lights and suspended fixtures. The large circular fixtures over the main food production area provide up and down light which works with the under cabinet lights providing the necessary light levels for the appropriate tasks. The kitchen lighting creates a focussed and contained space within the larger volume, allowing other functions to coexist, such as reading and watching TV, without having the entire space lighted to the same levels.
The kitchen enjoys direct access to the pool deck, visual connection to guest seating and the outdoor cooking area. The house and pool overlook a vineyard ensuring that the wine is also local.
Kitchen – Christie Residence – Lincoln, Ontario
John Christie Architect
John is a former Director of Parkin Architects Limited Toronto, Canada, where he led the healthcare design portion of the firm for over 25 years.
During his career he was principal designer, planner and clinical lead on significant hospital projects such as the Brampton Civic Hospital in Brampton Ontario and the new Oakville Trafalgar Hospital in Oakville Ontario.
Since reducing his work load at Parkin, John is now working closely with his artist wife, Marcia, to adjust to smaller scale projects and to participate in additional community service. Together John and Marcia have been instrumental in several important initiatives to preserve the nature of the Niagara Escarpment, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
The redevelopment of their country home on the Niagara Escarpment in the Niagara’s wine region is John’s largest wood frame project to date and is the focus of this Kitchen Competition.