Karolina and Julien, two nomads travelling the world in a van for the past few years, have undertaken the construction of a base camp, a small eco-friendly house in the Eastern Townships region. And their new kitchen? Synonymous with sustainability. Find out why!

Inspired by their life in a van, Karolina and Julien's goal was to build a minimalist but practical space. No need to overload a space when it's well thought out! By optimizing every design element and by choosing quality materials, they now find themselves with a result beyond their expectations, a truly sustainable kitchen.

Designed to Be Just Like Them

The two travel lovers absolutely wanted to add a touch of vanlife to their kitchen. After several years living full-time in a van, they discovered so many practical and well thought-out aspects in this environment that they insisted on applying some of these principles to their new living space.

"We had the chance to work with a kitchen designer who's in love with vanlife! It was important for us to talk with someone who understood our lifestyle and it  only took a few exchanges to realize she was spot-on when targeting our needs. In barely a few weeks, we thus received our kitchen design inspired by our nomadic lifestyle, but adapted to our new reality."
- Karolina and Julien

With help from the team at Cuisine Gagnon, they managed, for example, to integrate a spice rack in a drawer right next to the oven, like in their van. This storage space was always very practical and will continue to make their lives easier in their new space.

The couple also wanted to stay close to nature by adding windows in as many places as possible. Like in the van, Karolina and Julien wanted to place the sink directly underneath a window to see outside while doing the dishes, while the island, on the other hand, is facing the living room windows.

A Sustainable Kitchen

Since the goal of the base camp was to build a wholesome and eco-friendly house, it was a given that the materials and design of their kitchen would have to be long-lasting. For the couple, making informed choices would thus allow them to avoid repairs and renovations in the coming years and reduce their potential impact on the environment at the same time.

And that's actually one of the reasons why they fell under the spell of the Fenix absolute matte product from Miralis for their cabinets. This material, a product of nanotechnology, is highly resistant to scratches, fingerprints, and is easy to clean. Soft and silky to the touch, the finish is non-porous and the micro-scratches that can appear over time can be repaired with a simple heat treatment.

"We really fell for the Fenix product when Miralis introduced it to us. It's exactly what we needed: a more resistant surface that we wouldn't need to wash all the time, since we have a baby on the way. By taking good care of it, we'll make sure this living space remains in great condition for a long time."
- Karolina and Julien

Minimalist Lifestyle

If you know Go-Van, or if you've been following Karolina and Julien on social networks for some time now, you know just how much their motivations are based on a desire to strip their lives to its essentials. This same desire to keep their day-to-day lives as minimalist as possible followed them all the way to the construction of their house and their kitchen.

The guiding principle? Sticking to bare essentials. Without wanting to do more or lack for anything, Karolina and Julien wanted to create a space that would suit their needs, while being pared down and free of any excess. For example, unlike many kitchens, they chose not to have any top cabinets on the walls.

"Honestly, we're so used to having very, very limited storage space in the van that we became pros at sorting and classifying. Storage in our sustainable kitchen can only be found under the island and next to the fridge, in other words, what's strictly necessary for us. We use our 5 big drawers a lot!"
- Karolina and Julien

To dress up the space usually reserved for top cabinets, the couple chose to install a shelf made of wood they recovered from their land, a decorative touch that makes the space more unique and personal. 

They also chose not to have a dining room in the house. Since they love hosting, it was nonetheless important to have a place to welcome family and friends in a comfortable way. The island therefore became the focal point of the open area, which includes the kitchen and the living room. To complete the structure installed by Cuisine Gagnon, Karolina and Julien recycled a piece of former bowling alley that's big enough to welcome about ten people! Their island is therefore at once a surface for cooking, a dining table, and a work surface, thus eliminating the need for more space or materials. 

Daring to Go Black

Since the walls of the house are basically white, the couple wanted to integrate distinctive elements while maintaining the pared-down feel. Without needing to integrate big accents of color, the choice of black for their kitchen cabinets allowed them to add character and personality to their environment, without going overboard. 

"We're big fans of sober and monochromatic design. So when we found out we could choose black as the main color for our kitchen, we said yes right away!" 
- Karolina and Julien 

The black color of the cabinets also allowed them to conceal the oven and the refrigerator, without having to cover them. Since the cost of built-in appliances was beyond their budget, Karolina and Julien simply chose black appliances, which go unnoticed next to the cabinets.  

With the addition of wood a few recycled materials that give the surroundings a touch of warmth, we now also find a simple and functional room, as welcoming as it is unique.

To learn more about Campdebase