May 21, 2015

Room of the Week: Ken Best, Synthesis Design

Category: Kitchen/Dining Room
Design: Ken Best, Synthesis Design
Location: Vancouver

Goal: Ten years ago, Synthesis Design created the architecture and interiors for this house in Vancouver’s North Shore, furnishing it with the client’s inherited traditional décor. Although it was elegant and refined, the client enjoyed casual gatherings with family and friends, and never quite felt that the interiors represented “her.”

“Flash forward 10 years, and she was expecting a crowd for the holidays,” says interior design project manager Ken Best, of Synthesis Design. “Every member of her family would be gathering for Christmas for the first time in years. It was time for a change. She contacted us for a lively and colorful shake-up that would be an updated reflection of her current tastes.”

Inspiration: “A few years ago we refurbished a barn on the same property, turning it into pool cabana and personal spa,” says Best. “The rustic feel of the space resonated with our client, and she wanted to bring it to the main house as well, albeit in a much more elegant way.”

Breakdown: Starting with classic warm white cabinetry and contrasting charcoal Caesarstone countertop, Best and his team added white bead board to back a shelf made from a reclaimed board as a refined version of the rustic look the client desired. The cabinetry was designed by Synthesis and fabricated by HF Custom Cabinets. Synthesis also designed the 8-by-8-foot custom dining table, which was fabricated by Lauten Woodworking and made from reclaimed timbers that were formerly part of an old sawmill on Vancouver Island. Over the table hangs a glamorous Robert Abbey Bling Chandelier in deep bronze.

Surrounding the table is a variety of custom seating designed by Best and his team and made by Omega Custom Furniture. The 7-foot-long benches combine white leather seats with backs upholstered in “Conduit” from Robert Allen, adding a hit of blue to the space. “The benches shine, as they are supported by their quieter surroundings,” notes Best. “This light aqua color remains popular, and is a versatile choice. If you don’t feel adventurous enough to upholster a whole furniture piece, consider bringing in the hue as a throw, toss cushion, or in the form of accessories like vases, trays, or dishware.”

The client’s favorite piece, a custom buffet built to display her crystal pieces, was stained light, bringing another element of warmth to the space. Above it hangs a cherished piece of art handed down from family.

Get the Look: “Start with a neutral envelope of soft grays, whites, and wood floors,” Best advises. “This look is about balance, being simultaneously rustic and refined. For rustic elements, consider a gray-stained or reclaimed wood dining table, or even a reclaimed wood tray or bowl at the center of a more finished table. To add a dose of color and pattern, consider statement chairs at the ends of the dining table, and keep the chairs on the sides more neutral—or, alternately, you can add patterned and richly colored drapery panels. For light fixtures and metal accessories, choose dark, or oil rubbed bronze. To me, the pairing of the oil-rubbed bronze and crystal fixture is essential to the look.” 

Images Courtesy of Tracey Ayton.

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