Creative Culinary Canvas

659 0

Innovative design meets artistic flair in this unique Country Club Plaza kitchen design

Story by Ann Butenas    |    Photography by Matt Kocourek

Creating a unique and functional kitchen space can be an exciting yet challenging project, especially when it involves an unusual layout. Such was the case with a kitchen design for a new home build near the Country Club Plaza area in Kansas City, masterfully designed by Lisa Otterness, a Certified Kitchen Designer (CKD) with Classic Kitchens Design Studio. This kitchen is a testament to the innovation and thoughtful design that can transform a quirky space into a stylish and efficient area for culinary exploration and for overall entertaining purposes.

Otterness explained that the kitchen presented a distinctive challenge due to its irregular configuration, which required a creative approach to maximize the space without compromising on style. 

“I knew going in this would present a design challenge, but the homeowner understood that and was great to work with. I knew I could throw out ideas that she would be open to,” said Otterness.

With her extensive experience, Otterness recognized the artistic inclination of the homeowner, who had a profound appreciation for art and design. This mutual understanding of aesthetics and function paved the way for the conceptualization of a kitchen that is not only original but also highly personalized.

Part of the kitchen’s design is a series of cabinets near the windows, boasting an impressive depth of 18 inches. These are not your average cabinets; they are adorned with an Italian veneer known as Boardwalk, which has a captivating texture that adds depth and character to the space. This same laminate  is consistently applied throughout the kitchen, on the bar and the range area, creating a harmonious visual flow.

The kitchen island is a standout feature, showcasing a light Tosseni Elm material, which contrasts beautifully with the Boardwalk veneer. Above the island hangs an LED pendant light, cleverly designed as a double infinity symbol, which not only serves as a modern lighting fixture but also as an artistic statement piece. The island counter is notable for its robust 4-inch thickness, topped off with a sleek stainless-steel band that creates a sophisticated toe kick beneath.

Functionality blends with style in the form of linear cabinet pulls and flooring made of oak with a white light wash natural finish, reflecting a modern minimalist trend. Otterness has ingeniously created a telescoping effect with varying depths throughout the kitchen, including the sink area and cabinetry, enhancing the perception of space and reducing the crowded feel of the hallway.

The integration of technology and convenience is evident in the built-in, flush-with-the-wall microwave, situated above a space that doubles as a coffee bar, complete with a pull-out section for easy preparation and serving. Beneath, rollout trays and additional storage provide practical solutions for kitchen essentials.

In keeping with the contemporary theme, the sink faucet is fashioned from bronze with a matte black finish, complemented by strip LED lights around and above that add both illumination and ambiance. The backsplash, a painted glass with a metallic bronze effect, is not only visually striking but also boasts ease of cleaning — a practical consideration in any kitchen design. Further, the use of quartz countertops in a serene ‘morning frost’ white adds a touch of elegance and brightens the entire kitchen.

Storage solutions are also cleverly integrated within the island, which contains specialty drawers for organized storage, while behind the range area stands a closet and a pantry space, accessible via a hallway. 

A pop of unexpected color is playfully introduced in the pantry, painted a vibrant lime green on the inside, reflecting the fun and whimsical elements that resonate in various spaces throughout the home. This choice of color is a bold departure from the norm, embodying the homeowner’s adventurous spirit.

Otterness’s design prowess is further exemplified in the island’s unusual, asymmetrical layout, which includes doors that ingeniously appear as a panel on the side but reveal additional storage when pushed aside. These “hidden design secrets” as Otterness calls them, add an element of surprise and delight to the kitchen’s overall functionality.

Otterness’s kitchen design for this distinctive residence is a masterclass in overcoming design challenges with inventive solutions. Her ability to harmonize the homeowner’s artistic vision with the practicalities of kitchen use resulted in a space that is not only unique and individualized but also highly functional and aesthetically pleasing. The end result is a testament to the creativity and expertise that Otterness brings to the table, making this kitchen a shining example of modern design excellence.

Further, the homeowner is pleased with the outcome and the unique design of this space.

“The L design of my kitchen, with its sink and cleaning area tucked away, is brilliant,” expressed the homeowner. “It keeps the messy part of cooking hidden from view in my open-plan space, which is ideal for someone who frequently cooks and entertains.”

“This was a great project to work on, even with the challenges, and I am very happy with it,” reflected Otterness. “It is unlike any kitchen I have ever done, but it excelled in its finished product.”


  • Design: Classic Kitchens Design Studio
  • Lead Designer: Lisa Otterness, CKD
  • Cabinets: Wood-Mode
  • Appliances: Factory Direct / Sub-Zero Wolf
  • Custom Hood: Gieske Custom Metal Fabricators
  • Back-painted Glass Backsplash: Stew Langer Studio
  • Countertops: DalTile / One Quartz Morning Frost
  • Pulls: Locks & Pulls / Emtek Warwick Pull
  • Custom Surround: Bob Altenhofen

About The Author