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barn lights kitchen

Rustic & Refined Kitchen Wins Considered Design Award

The votes are in and the people have spoken! The Rustic & Refined Kitchen, featuring our very own Original™ Warehouse Pendant, captured first place in the 2017 Remodelista Considered Design Awards. Readers loved this entry in the Best Kitchen Space — Amateur category, created by Zachary Leung in Toronto, Canada. Join us as we chat with Zachary about his 130-year-old home and why he chose barn lighting for his new kitchen.

barn pendant lighting

Q: Why did you decide to enter the Considered Design Awards contest?
A: Remodelista is a blog I follow often because I enjoy their approach to design. They value time honored, classic choices, which I feel is important for longevity (and less wasteful, compared to following fleeting trends). They also appreciate the mix of high and low, which I am also a firm proponent of — good design doesn’t have to be expensive. I felt the overall aesthetic of my kitchen renovation was in keeping with their philosophy, so I thought I’d try entering the contest!

barn pendant lighting

Q: What was your design direction as you worked in this room? What feel were you going for with colors, materials and fixtures? (before photo above)
A: The house is over a century old, but sadly, there weren’t really any original details left worthy of salvaging. Because of that I decided to take a more modern approach to give the kitchen a fresh new feel. However, given the more traditional styling of the exterior of the house itself, I still wanted to incorporate some more classic and traditional elements. Using a rustic black hutch served to counterbalance the more modern white high-gloss cabinets. Sticking with a black-and-white scheme ensured that the classic color combo would stand the test of time.

barn pendant lighting

Q: What was important as you looked for lighting your space?
A: Even though I had pot lights installed, I definitely knew I wanted to add in some more decorative and functional lighting as well. Customization options and color selection were very important to me, since I knew I was relying on the feature lighting to help tie in the black hutch to an otherwise all-white kitchen. Repeating hits of black throughout, both in the lighting, as well as cabinet hardware, helped to make the entire space feel cohesive.

barn pendant lighting

Q: Why did you choose barn-style lighting for your kitchen?
A: I chose barn-style lighting because it has a traditional history and is a style that will remain classic. It has a more casual feel which seemed suitable to the style of my home, and served as a nice juxtaposition against the more modern elements of the kitchen.

barn pendant lighting

Q: And why the Original™ Warehouse Pendant in particular?
A: The Original™ Warehouse Pendant, to me, was the most classic choice because it is based on an original vintage design. That gives it longevity and ensures that it will never really go out of style.

barn pendant lighting

Q: You customized this barn light with an 18″ shade and Textured Black finish. Why did you choose those particular options?
A: The 18″ shade was the right proportion and scale for the overall space, and the Textured Black finish was the perfect match to the matte black cabinet hardware I selected. It also tied in to the black farmhouse style hutch I had sourced. Because the underside of the shade was finished in a high-gloss white, it served as the perfect bridge from the all-white, modern side of my kitchen, to the more rustic black hutch on the other side.

barn pendant lighting

Q: What do you like best about your new kitchen?
A: I love that the lighting is a reflection of the space as a whole. It is decorative without being over the top. I love both modern and traditional styles, and the project as a whole reflects that about me. I’m happy that I managed to blend these opposite styles harmoniously, and I feel the lighting plays a huge part in really bringing everything together. In a sense, the traditional styling of the lamp, coupled with the updated, textured black-and-white finish, is a combination of classic and modern in itself which I love.

barn pendant lighting

Q: Was there a prize for winning your category? Or just fame and recognition?
A: The prize was a series of design books, but my main motivation for entering was to see if the final design I came up with resonated with the majority of people as well. It’s definitely a boost of confidence, knowing that many others enjoy the finishes and design that I picked, especially since I feel like I took a bit of a risk in mixing styles and finishes. I made some very personal choices in the renovation, so it’s really exciting to get validation from the general public through the contest!

Photos courtesy of Zachary Leung


  1. 60f454a53cddc44b9598f90573ca1aad?s=60&d=blank&r=g

    Wow I love this! I’m curious if Zachary is a designer by trade or an extreme enthusiast, because I don’t think amateur is accurate. I would imagine this space is perfect for Toronto. Summer time BBQs on the deck with cold drinks and in the winter nice hot coffee and soups inside. This looks and feels like it will be very nice and bright in the winter time. I love the openness and flow of the kitchen. Hutches never really appealed to me until I saw this! Now I want one! And the original warehouse pendant is indeed the perfect subtle and classic choice to connect the black and whites, clean modern with the timeless classic features. Great post!

  2. 8565155288266f8b1c948ca1892cdb4f?s=60&d=blank&r=g
    Betty Lynne

    Thanks so much Bruce for your comments! We think Zachary did a wonderful job pulling all the details in this kitchen together. When you see the “before” pic, you realize what vision he has. Thanks for checking out the blog!

  3. f563f5e7b59388e05155df718473f272?s=60&d=blank&r=g

    Bruce, thank you – What a compliment! I love the term you’ve come up with, and I’d definitely have to agree that I identify as an “extreme design enthusiast”, haha. It sounds like not only are you a fan of the remodel, but perhaps a fan of Toronto too? I am so happy to represent the city in this small competition, and I hope I did my fellow Torontonians proud.

    I’m so happy that the design choices are appealing to you and others, and not just my own personal tastes. If you’re interested, I elaborate on my renovation in a post on Remodelista as well:

    Thanks again!

    Instagram: @zl_dsgn

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