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Sesshu Design - Creating the WELL Designed Kitchen

For Tanya Shively, the principal behind Sesshu Design Associates, a well-designed home is about more than aesthetic beauty, with beautiful furnishings, lighting, accents and works of art. It involves a comprehensive plan that also considers the homeowner’s lifestyle and visions, as well as their physical health and well-being. Tanya and her expert team have been achieving these ideals with her trademarked WELL Designed approach for nearly 30 years.

“The WELL Designed home is a philosophy that includes enhancing wellness and well-being, as well as taking an eco-friendly approach to creating luxurious, livable environments, and that applies even more so to the kitchen. It should support your wellness, be eco-conscious, and embrace luxury,” she says. While these principles are applied to every inch of a residence, they are crucial in the kitchen and bath, where the entire structure is built to support the inhabitants’ needs.

Regarding the kitchen, “if you typically have more than one person working at the same time, separate the prep and cooking areas,” Shively says. “At the same time, you want to keep things close enough that you aren’t wasting steps with every move.”

With a clientele comprising a plethora of repeats and referrals, the Sesshu Design team have insight into what owners are currently looking to achieve in their homes. And it would seem the firm’s philosophy, based in customization, isn’t far off. “No two projects are ever the same, because no two clients are the same,” Shively says. “Typically, even when I work with the same client a second or third time, they want different things in their new home because they have changed.”

In this Paradise Valley, Arizona kitchen, the butcher block topped island with comfortable seating adds functionality, while custom light fixtures create a dramatic flair. Storage was a must, including features like corner pivot storage that allows for maximum usability. Bridging the space from the garage and pantry, a zinc topped desk blends functionality with a unique aspect that personalizes the space.

“Color personalizes your home more than anything else, and people are starting to use more color,” Shively says. “White and gray are still popular, but that all-white kitchen trend is fading. Grays are moving toward taupe as they warm up more, and white is being enlivened by bold accents. Mixing metals is also huge right now. The combination of brass with stainless steel or nickel builds interest and is easier to work around.”

The custom color combination on the La Cornue range and rotisserie is the focal point in this kitchen. A bright blue, with stainless and brass accents, this was the starting point for the other finish selections. The tile backsplash is a hand-painted tile crafted in Arizona and pairs beautifully with the clean marble countertops. The light fixtures bring the brass detail front and center in the space, and coordinate with the cabinet pulls and faucets.

A butler’s pantry around the corner provides plenty of prep space for entertaining large parties and keeping the main kitchen clear for gathering. Simplifying the tile design, but from the same manufacturer in the same finish ties the two spaces together visually. The large main pantry incorporates a library ladder to reach high shelves and fully maximize the storage.

Functionality is key in any kitchen, and this was no exception. Pull out pantry cabinets and spice racks tucked into narrow spaces are a great way to make use of every inch. A pop-up stand mixer shelf provides ease of use without lifting a heavy appliance- and when you are done, it goes back in just as effortlessly.

The fact that Sesshu Design bases every design on wellness does not mean that client’s homes lack sophistication or comfort. While healthy and good for you and the planet, the materials they use come without any compromise in quality or finish. The firm is dedicated to creating designs that support how their clients want to live, so their homes become a splendid sanctuary for resting, relaxing, entertaining, and enjoying life.


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