I agree that this layout might make the kitchen look too dark...however, I would consider small little lamps placed here and there to give ambience to light up the kitchen. A wall for art is wonderful and also open shelving. If I had a kitchen like the one pictured, I would also consider one of those round skylights that are not very large but let in a great deal of daylight.
Divide & Conquer
Just like the easiest way to skimp on calories at a restaurant is to halve the portion, the quickest way to trim “fat” from the kitchen is to intelligently proportion appliances and other elements in the room, says Atlanta-certified kitchen designer Matthew Rao. If your space is limited, choose a smaller refrigerator. Sub Zero’s 700TR All Refrigerator is a tall, slim, and compact upper cabinet refrigerator that can be paneled in the same wood as your cabinets for a cool, integrated look. Don’t discount supplementary refrigeration either. Under-counter refrigeration drawers aren’t just for icemakers, cold beverages, or wine; high-end models store fruits, vegetables, and cold cuts just as well as a standard refrigerator.
I agree that open shelving is a great option...not only can you adjust the shelves, but you can add as many thus giving you more room to stack your dishes or even add accessories to make the shelf interesting and give it a focal point. Intergrated appliances is a good idea...however, I am a traditionalist and I would want this done with my taste in mind.
Except I hate hoods. I prefer the ones that are incorporated into the cooking area or rise just behind the cooking area. I do agree to keeping the over the counter top cabinets to a minimum and keeping the counter tops free of visual eye-pull also helps.