Minimalist Approach, Maximized Design

A contemporary modern kitchen serves up a double helping of art and design.

It was a marriage made in kitchen heaven: homeowners with a strong sense of personal style and a design expert equipped to deliver this inspired vision of function and form. The result? A classic contemporary kitchen whose minimalist beauty is wholly useful for both entertaining and everyday life.

A little over a year ago, the Wayzata homeowners approached Jolynn Johnson, owner and president of Crystal Kitchen + Bath, about designing the kitchen in their new-build home. While they were new clients for Johnson, they’d already immersed themselves in the design process. “We loved having a blank canvas when we started to design the kitchen,” say the homeowners. “It intrigued us and challenged us to create a piece of art that was expressive of who we are and what is important to us; an architectural self-portrait, if you will.” In addition to the Crystal team, the homeowners worked with general contractor Heritage Construction.

The family’s approach to the design process was focused on livability and flow (how they’d use the space), and on aesthetics. They chose neutral colors for most of the finishings and appliances, and added accents with favorite art pieces and accessories. Overall, though, the space is serene and uncluttered. “They were well-versed with what they wanted,” says Johnson, who notes that the family had already determined their preferences for cabinetry, appliances, paint and tile colors, and more.

The space dedicated to the kitchen was quite large, about 30 feet by 20 feet, according to Johnson. A room of that size might intimidate even an experienced designer, but the team saw a way for the space to serve dual purposes. For example, there are two workstations: a main area in the central part of the room, including an impressive island, and a second station that Johnson calls the “entertainment wall.” Here, there is a wine fridge, beverage center, second sink and dishwasher, and glassware storage. The consistent design blends the two so that it doesn’t feel like two distinct areas; both stations have sleek appliances and stunning white cabinetry. The thoughtful layout allows the family to move easily in the main section, without feeling overwhelmed by the large space, and it’s also a perfect setup for hosting dinner parties and other events.

Small touches were carefully considered and included. The homeowners chose specific pendant light fixtures, and then sent the pendants to be hand-painted by Cheryl Hanson, an artist based in Tucson, Arizona. “They are a treasured burst of color,” the homeowners say.

They also thoughtfully chose appliances—for example, the toaster and coffee bar—that match their daily lifestyle. “They knew what they wanted in every room,” says Johnson, who appreciated that the family was clear and intentional about their needs and wants. This allowed for a client/designer relationship that was particularly effective and open. And it all added up to a winning approach—Jolynn Johnson was awarded the 2016 Crystal Cabinet Works grand prize for this family’s kitchen project.

Now, a year after moving into their new home, the family continues to appreciate the modern, minimalist approach they took in designing their kitchen. “The kitchen becomes alive and colorful when our family and friends are in the space,” they say. “Our blank canvas explodes with color, adding emotion, drama and meaning each and every day.”