Written by: Don Skypeck | Photos by Scot Zimmerman
From the moment designers Ashley Johnson and Gregory Abbott and builder Markay Johnson arrived on the site, they agreed: The Kayenta home they envisioned would be shaped like a pinwheel so that views from the main living areas would capture the surrounding vistas of stunning red rock and mountain plateaus. Ensuring big views from the kitchen-dining area was the starting point for the resulting geometric design. Architects Rob McQuay and Todd Benson joined the team and devised an approach to maximize the incomparable views using a series of connecting trapezoidal shapes in interior ceilings that were as high as possible, with corresponding angled overhangs on the exterior. “That way,” says Ashley, “none of the views is cut off upon entering the home.” The result in the kitchen is a space that is both intimate and expansive, as well as dynamic and inspiring.
1. Small Scale, Big Drama
The highly functional, small kitchen is designed in a U-shape that broadens from a narrow end, with countertops that parallel a recessed, angled trapezoidal coffer in the ceiling. The storefront window beneath the coffer provides a stunning view of Hell’s Canyon. Because the kitchen is compact, Ashley chose light colors and purposefully placed the cabinetry to make the best use of the space. “This also helps highlight the room’s unique architecture,” she says. Textured pearl-white cabinets below and high-gloss, Polylac Swiss elm upper cabinetry provide maximum storage and add to the kitchen’s modern feel.
2. Angles, Angles Everywhere
Trapezoidal shapes are repeated throughout the home. To echo the home’s dramatic desert setting, the designers fashioned an angular slab of Nacarado granite to serve as a one-of-a-kind backsplash behind the Bertazzoni gas cooktop and vent hood. The trapezoid-shaped kitchen island, constructed with copper Polylac cabinetry, features a 3-inch-thick, raised Nacarado granite bar that extends to the floor with a mitered waterfall design at one end.
3. High Style Appliances
In small-scaled kitchens, appliances play a strong visual role. Three sleekly styled Bertazzoni ovens and a warming drawer are placed horizontally in a row to make great use of the room’s limited space. Their arm-level height makes use easier and safer. “The horizontal positioning also lengthens the room visually,” Ashley explains. A Thermador refrigerator and separate freezer are faced with high gloss Polylac Swiss elm to integrate seamlessly into a wall of cabinetry.
4. Open Shelves
Shelves float above the ovens with a thickness the same as the room’s counter tops. “It’s a detail the discriminating eye sees and less discerning visitors feel,” Ashley says. The textured pearl-white shelves cantilever subtly over a window, extending beyond the wall to deftly lengthen the room even further.
5. Connected Spaces
The kitchen opens to the dining-room space, completing the trapezoidal footprint of the two adjoining rooms. A large, floor-to-ceiling sliding wall of stacking Fleetwood storefront doors opens to extend the trapezoidal room shape even further to an outdoor entertaining space. Beyond the kitchen and dining room, the spaces are similarly connected. For example, the dining room and great room are separated by a low, three-sided fireplace to “connect the spaces, yet also to separate them” Ashley says. Plank oak floors unite the interior spaces throughout.
See more inside our Fall 2017 Issue.