Before & After: A Calgary Kitchen Gets The Minimalist Treatment

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If  you were to ask me my opinion on clutter and “stuff” around the home, I would probably tell you that some clutter is A-Okay. Books, personal mementoes, souvenirs, objets d’art—all of these bits and bobs add to what makes a living space feel like a home. I am all for a little bit of organized chaos. There are, however, exceptions to my rule. If there is one place that I simply cannot abide by clutter (and please note, this is a personal preference—no offense meant to the clutter-bugs amongst us!), it is the kitchen. I’m pretty good at functioning like a normal human being when I’m surrounded by extraneous or distracting items in my space. When I begin cooking, however, my OCD ramps up to Howard Hughes levels and I go practically apoplectic when confronted with things that simply do not belong on a kitchen counter. This is why, when Calgary-based photographer Maria Lang’s kitchen dropped into my inbox, I went into full-on #YAAAAAAAASSSS mode. Worked on in the wee hours of the night by both Maria and her husband, this stunning space is a true labor of love—one that encapsulates all of the ways to do minimalism right. Brilliant white cabinetry keeps everything tucked away neatly, a beautiful concrete countertop adds texture and a touch of naturalism to the scene, and select objects of kitchen design punctuate the space almost like pieces of sculpture. The result is a space that is at once functional and refreshingly zen—one that I would not mind spending a whole evening (or day) in! Check out all of the before and after photos, plus Maria’s design notes, after the jump! —Max

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“Designing and constructing this kitchen space with my amazing husband Nathan has been truly rewarding,” Maria says. “He has gone above and beyond, making every vision I had into a reality. We have made a lot of memories along the way and still laugh about the night we made our countertops together. We were working with counter-specific concrete that begins to set as soon as it’s mixed. Nathan was literally mixing bags of concrete as fast as he could and throwing it on top of our forms as I pressed it into place. Often, he would miss on his throws and by the end of it our kitchen walls and floors were also covered in concrete! It’s been a fun-filled journey with lots of smiles and a few tears. We are happy to be done and to have a space that gathers our family and friends together.”

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Materials List:

  • Cabinets: Ikea
  • Concrete countertops backsplash created with Buddy Rhodes Concrete
  • Range: Viking
  • Dishwasher: Asko
  • Refrigerator: Electrolux
  • Custom built in shelves made by Nathan
  • Hickory hardwood site finished by Nathan

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Meagan

What a beautiful kitchen! I really love that you feature Canadian homes on Design Sponge (I live in Vancouver). It’s so great, since in American publications I feel that we’re not included so much – keep up the good work, Grace!

Andree-Anne

It’s really gorgeous! I love all it cames together and happy to see that it’s a canadian homes too:) Can you please give me the source for your dining table and chairs please? And for your cabinet pulls? Thank you and again, good job!

Jessica

Gorgeous. I love it when such stylish kitchens showcase Ikea cabinets. Yay for affordability!

As well, I’m super psyched that this house is in Calgary, since that’s where I live. :) It’s always fun to get to see Canadian design homeruns too.

Annette

Oh gosh! Just gorgeous! I can feel my shoulders unclench just looking at these pictures! What a lovely space (and AMAZING countertop)!

Nicole

This is just so lovely. I can’t even narrow it down to a few favourite elements, they are all so good together. Well done!

Jill

Love the countertops!!! My husband and I are beginning a hands on kitchen reno this year. It’s good to hear that it can be done with kids. I can take the long nights if ours ends up half as good as yours!

PhillyLass

Absolutely stunning! Question– how do you care for concrete countertops? And do you need to worry about staining or too much heat? Thanks!

Ann Emmons

I must be one of Max’s clutter types because while I love everything about this kitchen I’m most drawn to the beautiful plates, on the beautiful countertops, in the last picture. Who makes them? And THANK YOU for the affirmation that reno done together late at night in the spirit of shared adventure can be fun!

sue

D*S,
I would love to see before and after floor plans on projects like these. Is that ever a possibility?

Brooke D

Calgary is my home city so it’s nice to see a Calgarian home on here. Nice job on pretty much everything :)

Tiffany Litchfield

Wow, it looks amazing wouldn’t expect anything less from such a classy family.
Good job guys see you next get together. -Tiff

ElizabethW

Those countertops are just beautiful! They actually look warm. The whole kitchen is just stunning in its simplicity, as though waiting for something exciting to happen there! Love the pictures of your little girl running through the spaces, too.

I’m with the others–would LOVE to see a house tour of the rest of your home.
Now I’m off to declutter my own kitchen…

Laura

Wow! I think that says it all. Absolutely stunning with those clean lines and colour choices.

Laura

Regarding concrete countertops- yes, they stain. We put ours in in 2010. We were warned about staining, and encouraged to embrace the “character” of an imperfect surface. Maintenance is supposed to include application of wax/sealer every year or two. We did not do this until year 3, and I used a product by DuPont called Stone Tech Bulletproof stone sealer, which is food safe. I prepped for that sealer using DuPont’s Stone Tech Klenz All cleaner. Concrete is heavy, hard, and durable, but don’t use it if you can’t handle an imperfect surface.

MARIA LANG

Thank you very much for all of the kind comments. To answer everyone’s questions… our dining set was a Mother’s Day gift from my husband which he traveled to another city to buy off of it’s original owner circa 1960’s and made in Denmark. The cabinet pulls are from a local hardware store Banbury Lane. The brass plates are are by Tom Dixon. For our concrete counter tops we used a product that is more specific to counter wear. We applied a sealer that makes the counters both heat and stain resistant and finally we finished with a food grade bees wax. Thanks again!!

Nicole Lee

thanks Nathan and Maria just what I am wanting to create. this may be a dumb question but I’m guessing the splash back behind the stove is the same counter top material?
thanks

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