Creating a Gourmet Kitchen For Entertaining

By J. Lynn Fraser
J. Lynn Fraser
J. Lynn Fraser
June 17, 2014 Updated: June 17, 2014

Cheryl Butters dreamed of a space big enough to bake to her heart’s content. After five years of rubbing elbows in her small kitchen, she sought the help of designer extraordinaire Jil Sonia McDonald to open up her kitchen and transform it into a baker’s dream!

Cheryl and her husband Gord are sports fans and love to entertain in their Maple Ridge, B.C., home. But as time passed and with two grown sons, they felt their kitchen was too tiny. So they asked designer Jil Sonia McDonald of Jil Sonia Interiors to help create a gracious, spacious kitchen that would bring their family and friends together.

“I have always loved the French farmhouse look for kitchens with an edgier element,” said Cheryl.

The kitchen’s fireplace, original to the home, brings authenticity to the country theme. Painted dove grey, the fireplace’s moulding is original and matches the cabinetry. McDonald found tile that looked like “old stacked bricks,” completing the fireplace’s cultured country look.

“To me, good design is functional,” said McDonald.

McDonald uses a checklist to determine a design’s function, feel, and finish.”I price out those finishes and have a back-up option in case the budget comes in too high,” she explains.

Being prepared for the unexpected is also important. “I also have 10 percent of the budget for ‘oopsies’!” Uneven floor joists meant additional funds were needed to even out the supporting joists for the Butters’ kitchen.

The island’s oak top was custom stained to match the budget-saving, dark laminate flooring. The island and counter both provide storage areas. “The butcher block is the icing on the cake. It turned out gorgeous,” Cheryl said.

Two-and-a-half walls were removed to provide the kitchen’s 1,000 square feet, allowing the family to cook while watching TV. Custom cabinets house the refrigerator while also providing storage space. “A trick of mine is to use a regular depth 30-inch fridge and to use custom cabinets built out to match the depth of the fridge,” said McDonald.

She advises that appliances be chosen before a counter plan is designed. Lighting should also be planned. Traditional beadboard used in the counters adds modern crispness to the kitchen. Metal pot lights, chandelier, and three-pendant lights all add to the forward-looking country aesthetic.

Every renovation’s budget has wishes and misses. “In a perfect world I would have preferred to have the oven wall mounted. To keep the cost down we went with the double oven,” Cheryl said. Savings were also gained by using oversized subway tiles for the backsplash.

Investing in the quartz counters and the cabinetry’s antiqued pewter hardware were key to ensuring the kitchen’s enduring elegance. As an avid baker and cook, Cheryl needed durable, low-maintenance counters. “I researched it. We chop and cut on it. You can lay hot pans on it without leaving any marks,” she said.

The handmade valances were also a splurge. The bird pattern combines contemporary and traditional sensibilities. “My husband still doesn’t know the cost of the valances. Had to have them!” Cheryl said.

“We love our new kitchen,” she adds. “The redesign functions perfectly in how we use the new area on a day-to-day basis and to entertain.”


• Space designed by Jil Sonia Mcdonald, Jil Sonia Interiors,
• Photography Tracey Ayton Photography,
• Painter, Warline Painting
• Flooring, Richmond Laminate,
• Counter top, Caesarstone, London Gray,
• Tiles on backsplash, Ames Tile,
• Fireplace tile, Gl Stone,
• Chandelier, Progress,
• Pendants, Restoration Hardware, www.
• Wall colour, Benjamin Moore, Nimbus, www.benjaminmoore. ca
• Cabinets, Century Cabinets,
• Custom draperies, Jb Custom Draperies, Robert Allen Fabric,
• Stools, Pier One,
• Hardware, Liberty, Antiqued Iron,
• Fridge, Samsung,
• Range, Kitchen Aid,
• Dishwasher, Maytag,
• Hood fan, Broan,
• Faucet, Delta, Leland,
• Large koi art, Susanna Li
• Small bird art over mantel, Tracey Ayton Photography,

Canadian Home Trends Magazine gives you a personal tour of the most stunning homes and condos. In each issue, you are given the tools to recreate designer spaces you’ve always dreamt of having at home, in-depth renovation and design advice, and the best places to shop. To subscribe, visit