In the kitchen of the House Beautiful 2021 Whole Home, Nasvhille designer Stephanie Sabbe hasn’t just created a place to eat, but a place to share stories as well as suppers, and to make memories while making merry.
Much of the space’s potential comes from the intersection of the expected and the unexpected in Stephanie’s design. Alongside Chappell Green Shaker-style cabinets and black quartz surfaces sit fabric-covered wall lamps, wing-back armchairs and wallpaper, bringing all the trappings of a cozy sitting room to the celebratory heart of the home.
In this holiday edition of In Conversation With, we spoke with Stephanie about her vision for the space, why a communal kitchen table trumps an island, and what makes her setup perfect for Thanksgiving celebrations.
What was your vision for the space?
I wanted a kitchen that felt OK for a couple who read the paper and drink their coffee every morning, just the two of them. And then I also wanted a kitchen that felt like a beehive. Lots of people buzzing around, dogs underfoot, grandkids sitting two to a chair [insert the scene from Home Alone where they are heading out the door for the airport].
I wanted something that had personality and charm. I always like to think my spaces are timeless, but I guess time will be the real judge of that.
How did you go about choosing the colour palette?
I wanted to use a colour that I had never used in a kitchen. I originally selected Brinjal and the contractor said no – ha! (If anyone wants to hire me and use that colour, I'm ready). His comfort zone was more in the blue/green department.
I have an antique painting in my office that has a colour similar to Chappell Green. It also had shades of red and yellow and I just loved the combo. People have snubbed yellow and red for a while. I am always rooting for the underdogs.
You’ve chosen a big kitchen table rather than an island for the kitchen, what was your thinking behind this?
I always say: some people like standing desks, I would prefer a lay-down desk. I like to work out when I am working out, otherwise I would like life to be as relaxing as physically possible. Tables are more relaxing than islands. Chairs are more relaxing than stools. I could probably take a nap in one of the wing-back chairs we used. I just like cozy things.
It’s the perfect space for a Thanksgiving celebration! When designing a space, do you consider them being used for multiple purposes? Such as large family gatherings.
Yes, as I mentioned above, I felt like this kitchen works for both a couple and a crowd. I love hosting and I think one thing people forget to incorporate in kitchens is floor space. It's all about counter space. But when you have more than yourself in your kitchen there should be room to flow or stand and lay in the floor and color, whatever your phase of life calls for.
Do you have any tips for our readers on how to create a space that can be multifunctional?
I like kitchens that feel like dens or family rooms. I like art and pattern and low-level lighting. So, it's a kitchen because you cook things in it. But it's also a space to read a book or play a game of checkers.
Finally, how do you plan on celebrating thanksgiving this year?
We are going to my in-laws in Knoxville, TN. My husband and I both went to college there so it's a fun time to visit both family and friends. The fall foliage is really beautiful in East Tennessee.