Crafting Contrast in a Modern Mahtomedi Kitchen

Dramatic and bold, this black and white kitchen reflects a modern, yet eclectic style

Photos by Scott Amundson

Industrial touches and a high-contrast palette elevate and add visual interest to this modern Mahtomedi kitchen.

From the beginning, this Mahtomedi project was different. The custom abode, designed and crafted by Blue Pencil Collective and Hagstrom Builder, was made home by clients who held a clear vision of how they could make the space their own—namely, the kitchen. “They wanted a lot of natural light and an open floor plan that really emphasized the connection between all the main living spaces,” says Kasey Johnson, co-founder of Blue Pencil Collective.

It’s true—the kitchen is the heart of the home, and every design decision was centered on that notion. The challenge, however, came from the homeowners’ desired layout. “They wanted the kitchen really close to the patio area, which was actually at the front of the house, to maximize the best view,” Johnson explains. As frequent entertainers, the clients prioritized this indoor-outdoor connection to ensure seamless pathways between the kitchen and grilling area. With the unique floor plan in mind, the primary project objectives became clear: function, views, and connection.

The strategic incorporation of ceiling-high cabinets enhances storage efficiency.

With roughly 600 square feet to work within, there was ample opportunity for uninterrupted counterspace, large appliance garages, and an extra-large pantry. Natural light was emphasized through large open vaulted ceilings, which enhance the experience throughout the entire main level. To further customize their home, the clients incorporated personal touches through reclaimed items they retrieved from salvage yards, like the heavy metal sliding pantry doors that embody the industrial aesthetic they love. The vent hood shroud of similar material contributes effortless cohesion to the space while acting as the kitchen’s new captivating focal point. Kate Constant, selections coordinator at Hagstrom Builder, explains, “The space was not built to suit the items, and yet they well suited the space.”

Boasting a palette of blacks and whites, the kitchen is also a lesson in contrast. Johnson says, “It’s an eclectic feel with a very clean and modern look.” Regan Nix, co-founder of Blue Pencil Collective, continues, “[The homeowner] was really drawn to high-contrast palettes, which are very evident in this particular kitchen.”

Gracing the perimeter are floating shelves, a gray-tone marble tile backsplash, and striking black-frame windows to accompany the creamy white walls. Champagne bronze accents and natural wood elements bring warm touches to the cool-tone space and create a completely dynamic look. Between the range and vent hood, a niche with a marble inlay is “functional, but it [also] adds character and pops of color,” Constant explains.

Across the room, the dining space was intentionally integrated to encourage personal moments for the homeowners. “I can see them cooking delicious dinners on the Wolf range and having quaint meals at the dining table,” Constant says. However, many other elements of the kitchen cater to their love of entertaining. The large island, for instance, beckons guests to gather. She states, “All the features they have, [including] a little beverage center, are all in the right place so they can be together while entertaining.” No matter the element, space, or function, the continuous theme of contrast is exemplified—resulting in a home where both colors and conversations seamlessly coalesce.

Black-frame windows bathe the space in natural light.

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