This peaceful neutral kitchen boasting an enduring esthetic proves understated is not to be underestimated.

When you’re cooking up a kitchen with lasting style, bold accents—like bold flavours—are best added in pinches, not by the pound. That’s the philosophy that guides Whitby, Ont.–based designer Orsi Panos to timeless results like this one, a remodel she completed for local homeowners Andy Toffelmire and Lauma Beti-Toffelmire last year.

Her recipe for success? Start with neutral tones, time-honoured profiles and classic finishes; here, a graceful greige palette is played out on oak flooring, Shaker-style cabinetry, marble-look quartz countertops and tailored traditional seating. “Then, I layered in contrast and interest; I mixed and matched dark bronze and antiqued brass hardware, for example,” says the designer, referencing accent pulls in the room’s coffee niche. And though the niche bears a brick-laid subway-tiled backsplash just like the range wall, it departs from the textured glossy white finish with a special watercolour-like surface in a greyish blue-green that’s, in turn, repeated on the island base. Lastly, Panos peppered in black accents, including the quirky faucet and the substantial pendant lights. “They bring in a dose of the unexpected,” she says.

With a final garnish of greenery (mostly, practical herbs), Panos served up the kitchen of Lauma and Andy’s dreams. And thanks to the designer’s time-tested picks, the space promises to please for decades to come. Now that’s style worth savouring!

Designer Orsi Panos doesn’t believe in interiors that come with a best-before date. Instead of devoting her attention to the latest trends, she turns to classic profiles and timeless finishes—and tunes in to her clients. “The vision was based on comfort and peace and my very favourite colours,” says homeowner Lauma Beti-Toffelmire. “Orsi’s listening skills were so awesome that her selections were dead-on.”

Professional-grade Sub-Zero and Wolf appliances make cooking—a passion of Lauma’s—all the more enjoyable. Hits of black in the conical pendant lights and the unique rubber-necked faucet provide a grounding force. “When I have something square or rectangular, I like to mix in a curve,” says Lauma.

Knocking down walls and rejigging the main floor effectively doubled the kitchen’s footprint and afforded it this stunning handcrafted leaded-glass bay window (previously part of the dining room). The new soothing scheme puts the feature centre stage: “I’ve had friends come in and say, ‘Oh, my gosh, you put a new window in, too!’ They’d never noticed it before,” says Lauma. An herb stand is both comely and convenient.

At first glace, the island’s greyish tone may seem flat, but it’s quite lively. “Lauma has a preference for watery hues, so we picked a neutral that can teeter toward mossy greens and soft aquas,” says Panos, adding that the hue changes depending on how the light hits it. “That’s what I love about colour. It has personality.”

The dedicated coffee niche doubles as a serving area during get-togethers. Back­splash tiles and hardware that differ from the rest of the kitchen softly accentuate this special spot, while accessories in natural and well-worn patinas lend warmth.


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