FROM THE PRINT EDITION: Restaurant owner Stephen Beckta’s new kitchen combines a whimsical colour scheme with some serious appliances

Restaurant owner Stephen Beckta and his wife, Maureen Cunningham, combine a whimsical colour scheme with some serious appliances. Photography by Christian Lalonde - Photolux Studio

This kitchen is one of four innovative kitchens featured in the February 2012 Interiors edition.

Quick, what’s the first thing that grabs your eye? For those captivated by design, it’s the cabinetry. So bright, so cheery, so green! The committed home cooks, meanwhile, will be stopped in their tracks by the wood-fired oven.

When you’re Stephen Beckta, owner of local restaurants Beckta and Play, the kitchen is serious business. But though there is care taken in the appliances chosen, it’s the joy factor that his wife, Maureen Cunningham, wants to speak about first. “It’s so happy. It’s who we are,” explains the training and organizational change consultant as she details how it took three months of back and forth with Deslaurier Custom Cabinets to come up with cabinetry in the exact shade and shininess the couple envisioned.

It took another few months of carting a cabinet door around in the trunk of the car on their shopping expeditions before they found the perfect backsplash to match. “We loved the texture,” says Beckta simply. “The tiles just have so much life to them.”

And then the conversation turns to the wood-fired oven. “Now that was the real saga,” says Beckta, shaking his head. The couple were inspired by a Maine vacation a few years ago, when their rental cabin was equipped with a wood-fired oven. After cooking in it every night, they knew that any future kitchen renovation would include just such an oven as a central element. “Humans are hard-wired to love stuff cooked over wood,” Beckta explains. “When you taste food cooked using this method, you remember it.”

What they didn’t realize was how much of a hassle the decision would turn out to be. When the first oven, imported from the United States, arrived, they discovered it was not approved for use indoors in Canada. (The couple sold it on Kijiji to someone who plans to set it up in their backyard.) The second model was fine, but even after all the legal approvals were taken care of, it would take ingenuity — and  co-operation among a number of different tradespeople — to get it installed properly. But now that it’s finally in, they can’t wait to begin cooking and entertaining in their dream kitchen — the most important room of the house.

The couple were inspired to get a wood oven after going on a Maine vacation a few years ago. There, their rental cabin was equipped with a wood-fired oven. Photography by Christian Lalonde - Photolux Studio

THE TEAM: Robertson Martin Architects (design); Kirk Builders (contractor)

BACKSPLASH: Ottawa Tile Centre

CABINETRY: Deslaurier Custom Cabinets

COUNTERS: Silestone, Deslaurier Custom Cabinetry

FAUCETS: Hansgrohe and Delta, Preston Hardware

GAS COOKTOP: Gaggeneau, Universal Appliances

HOOD FAN: BlueStar, CA Paradis

LIGHTING: Marchand Lighting and Electrical

OYSTER SINK: Blassco Custom Stainless Steel Fabrication

REFRIGERATOR: GE Monogram, Universal Appliances

SINK: Oliveri, Preston Hardware

STOOLS: Urban Barn

TILE FLOORING: Astro Design Centre

WOOD FLOORING: River run birch hardwood, Logs End

WOOD OVEN: EarthStone