MADISON, WI — For many kitchen designers, their best work represents equal parts imagination and instinct.
The 1,400 kitchen designs submitted for consideration for the 9th Bi-Annual Sub-Zero/Wolf Kitchen Design Contest reflected this concept. The designs, while showcasing their own style, also incorporated a variety of trends – such as integrated refrigeration, more pronounced use of reclaimed material, and a “less is more” approach.
For this year’s contest, two first-place national winners were selected – one for a contemporary kitchen and one for a traditional kitchen. Each first-place winner was awarded a cash prize of $15,000. The second-place national winner (any style kitchen) received $10,000, and the third-place winner (any style kitchen) received $5,000. The Designer’s Choice Award, a special award selected by the design community via an online voting system, was increased to $15,000.
Taking home honors for the First Place/Contemporary category was Jose Eduardo Calma of Lor Calma & Partners in Makati City, Philippines.
This ultra modern space incorporated straight, sleek lines and a mix of cool, modern materials. The two-tiered island is a focal point for the room, and includes a raised wood sitting and dining area above a stainless steel counter that features a Wolf cooktop. A sleek, stainless steel island hood in a contemporary design sits above the cooktop. Cabinets in a soft gray hue add warmth to the space.
The island affords the cook an open view of the great room beyond the space. Behind the island, a wall in a neutral tone conceals the remaining kitchen area.
An historic home built in 1915 was the setting for the kitchen that took First-Place honors for the Traditional category. The home’s kitchen was renovated and re-imagined by awardee Vasi Ypsilantis, CKD of Manhasset, NY-based The Breakfast Room, Ltd.
“The owners of the mansion requested that certain items original to the home not be disturbed, including the original sink, 12' hood, wall tiles and two pieces of furniture that were finished to match the original house trim,” explains Ypsilantis.
“It was important to respect the home’s design integrity, but I also wanted to design a traditional kitchen of today,” she continues.
To do so, she selected a range of high-end products, including cabinetry from Downsview Kitchens, a Wolf microwave drawer, a Franke prep sink and potfiller and a Sub-Zero wine cooler.
The designer’s favorite part of the kitchen is the center island – a re-imagined version of an ice box island brought up to date by using six Sub-Zero refrigerator and freezer drawer units.
Also incorporated into the space are Buttermilk quartz countertops from CaesarStone, floor and backsplash tile from Artistic Tile and stainless steel panels from Wilsonart.
“The original cabinetry was respected by adding new custom cabinetry in a similar yet warmer color,” Ypsilantis explains. She adds that the room colors were selected “because they eliminated the gloomy look of the original space.”
With regard to function, the kitchen had to be versatile, as it would be used by caterers, cooks and the homeowners.
“When we began, this was a simple, utilitarian space. To modify that, we added a curved ceiling design to integrate it with the other rooms in the mansion,” she remarks. “We incorporated the oversized hood into the new ceiling, with a curved stack.”
As a result, instead of being overpowering, the hood became the focal point of the room. The cooking area was rounded out with a 60" Wolf range.
A dynamic kitchen will surely foster connections, and for the design team of E.J. Meade, AIA, Ken Andrews and Claire Jordan, only a space that is integrated properly – inside and out – can achieve such heights.
“This new construction required an ergonomic design with four interconnected zones, each materially coded,” says Meade, who along with Andrews and Jordan, works for Arch 11 in Boulder, CO. The design team’s kitchen took not only Second Place in the contest, but also earned them the prestigious Designer’s Choice award.
The room’s zones included a prep area with wash sink, a refrigeration area and appliance garage, and a cooking area with adjoining storage and marble work surface that materially set itself apart from the rest of the counter surfaces.
The team was also asked to integrate the kitchen with the architectural intent of the house design. This translated into incorporating volumes of custom walnut and aluminum cabinets that appear to float in the room, as well as a thick island topped with Calacatta Extra marble that appears to float in space.
A connection to the outdoors was also desired, so the designers used cabinets and integrated refrigerator/freezer and refrigerator drawers from Sub-Zero detailed to a monolithic wood wall. The view from the Wolf 48" dual-fuel range captures the picturesque ridgetop sunsets in the backyard.
Additional appliances that add to the room’s functionality include Sub-Zero wine storage, a Miele coffee system, Master Chef speed oven, Optima Integrated dishwasher and La Perla integrated dishwasher.
Pietra de Cardosa countertops make a statement on the perimeter of the room. A Julien prep and kitchen sink, teamed with Dornbracht’s Tara Classic prep faucet and kitchen faucet, complete the space.
Home Sweet Home
Robin Pittman knows you can go home again. Pittman, of Design Galleria Kitchen & Bath Studio in Atlanta, GA, designed this kitchen in her client’s childhood home.
“This home holds tremendous sentimental value, as the homeowner returned to Atlanta and purchased his childhood home for his young family after having moved away,” she notes. Her design earned her Third Place honors in the contest.
This kitchen remodel posed several challenges for Pittman. The design needed to stay true to the architecture of the original home, offering a unified look, all while allowing the homeowners to express their own style. The client also wanted to incorporate the view of the outdoor space.
To achieve this, Pittman – who collaborated with architect Yong Pak of Pak Heydt & Associates in Atlanta, as well as interior designer Carolyn Hays Hones of Germantown, TN-based Carolyn Hays Jones Interiors – came up with some unique solutions for the space.
Painted boarding runs horizontally throughout both spaces, including the ceiling– a distinctive design feature for the room.
Cabinets from Quality Custom Cabinetry in a creamy shade are adorned with custom polished nickel hardware from Baldwin Hardware, and topped with Calcutta Gold marble. A custom marble sink blends with the countertops.
“Custom corbels with oversized dimensions on the mantle hood create a focal point for the space,” remarks Pittman.
The kitchen also features two Sub-Zero refrigerators, a Wolf rangetop and double ovens. A GE Monogram dishwasher and dishdrawers from Fisher & Paykel finish out the space.
“The beautiful arched window integrates seamlessly with the marble countertops, maximizing the view to the backyard,” she offers.
The Sub-Zero/Wolf Kitchen Design Contest was judged by a panel of kitchen designers who selected 50 regional finalists. Each regional finalist received a $500 cash prize and a trip to The Breakers Hotel and Resort in Palm Beach, FL, where national winners were chosen.
This year’s panel of judges included: Jamie Drake of Drake Design Associates in New York, NY; Jeffrey DeMure, AIA, of Jeffrey DeMure + Associates in El Dorado, CA; Cheryl Hamilton-Gray, CKD of Hamilton-Gray Design in Carlsbad, CA; Matthew Quinn of Design Galleria Ltd. in Atlanta, GA; Barbara Houston of Houston & Associates in Vancouver, BC, Canada; Dalia Tamari of Dalia Kitchen Design in Boston, and Doug Durbin of nuHaus, based in Highland Park, IL.