‘Dream Design’ Winners Offer Beauty & Innovation

VAN NUYS, CA — While everyone’s “dream design” is different, most kitchen and bath designers agree that it’s not just the products that make a design special.

Rather, what elevates a kitchen or bath design to dream status is the application of those products in a beautiful and unique way, along with the designer’s creative vision in bringing the clients’ dreams to life.

This was the concept behind CaesarStone’s Dream Design Contest, which sought out the most innovative and beautiful kitchen and bath projects in the nation showcasing CaesarStone as part of a well-designed space.

The competition honored the best in creativity, innovation and beauty, as voted on by a panel of judges, which included KBDN editor Janice Costa.

A total of 30 winners were named, all of whom shared in the $45,000 in prize money.

This month, KBDN looks at several of the winning residential kitchens and baths, all of which are featured on the CaesarStone Web site at www.CaesarStoneUS.com/dreamdesign.

Water and Flow

The flowing waters of the Potomac River proved inspirational to designer Chris Donaghy, who was charged with revitalizing a dark and dreary kitchen located just outside of Washington, DC. Donaghy, who owns the Fairfax, VA-based Kitchen Brokers, certainly had his work cut out for him with the project, which garnered fourth-place honors in the competition. He explains, “Dark mouldings, closed off rooms, poor lighting and outdated products screamed for help.”

By contrast, the homeowners wanted something that was bright and open, with an eco-friendly focus and professional cooking capabilities. Donaghy chose a water theme, playing off the nearby river with a high-gloss color palette of sparkling blues and whites.

Initially, he sought to create a feeling of flow through the use of curved cabinetry, yet budget constraints made this a less than desirable solution. So he decided to “paint pictures” with the CaesarStone countertops in Pacific Blue and Blizzard, using a wave design to soften the linear aspect of the Hofemeier of Germany Euro- style cabinets.

The sense of flow was then carried over into the layout, which was designed to be easily navigated by two cooks.

Donaghy also addressed the clients’ desire for a greener space, incorporating a host of green products, such as the CaesarStone countertops, Moz Designs island backguard, Marmoleum by Forbo flooring, Sub-Zero refrigerator and Benjamin Moore Eco Spec paint.

To meet the clients’ cooking needs, he selected a Viking Range and GE Monogram Advantium second oven, along with a Sirius range hood and Bosch dishwasher for clean up. Hansgrohe faucetry and wall sconces by George Kovacs finish off the space.

Color Dynamics

The best designs not only cater to the clients’ needs, but also to their personalities. When the clients are lively, fun and colorful, it can make for a truly inspired design.

That was the case with Mike Stauffer, CGR, CGP of the Lemoyne, PA-based Excel Interior Concepts & Construction, who won fifth-place honors with his vibrant design.

He explains, “When I first met my clients, I could see that this was going to be a fun project! As soon as I stepped into their three-year-old townhouse, I noticed some interesting design details: Venetian plaster walls, tiled stair risers, a speakeasy front door and vibrant colors. I soon found out that their personalities matched the décor.”

But while he explains that the clients were colorful and full of life, their kitchen was surprisingly drab and dreary.

“It was a basic galley-style kitchen with off-white walls and oak cabinets – a small, boxed-in space with no imagination, separating the dining room from the living room and creating a narrow hallway between the two,” he notes. The separation between the three spaces made the kitchen seem even tinier, which made entertaining difficult.

“The challenge then,” he says, “was to open up the space, to make it feel more connected and to infuse some color and flair to fit both house and client.”

Two structural walls and HVAC lines created additional challenges, so Stauffer had to get creative, removing all of the walls except for a 2'-wide section, which would house some switches and the HVAC line. The space was also increased visually by constructing 6" soffits to bring the cabinets up to the ceiling, with the soffits painted white to blend in with the ceiling.

To add drama and excitement, Stauffer chose CaesarStone Ruby Reflections on the upper countertops, which contrast nicely with the Absolute Black granite lower countertops. The Murano hand-blown glass pendant lights provide added sparkle, while a sleek black Kohler apron front sink and Moen faucet complement the countertop and appliance finishes.

The Legacy Cherry split cabinets with glass doors provide another interesting design element, with glass shelves and low-voltage lights in the both upper and lower sections to showcase the clients’ colorful dinnerware and sparkling stemware.

Stauffer also wanted to create a feeling of movement, which he accomplished with the Original Style glass mosaic tile backsplash. He says, “It fades from dark to light, drawing your eye vertically and horizontally, illuminated by undercabinet lighting.”

While the curves of the space are visually interesting, they also have functional value, too. He explains, “The curved upper countertop teams with a curved transition on the travertine dining room floor to create an inviting flow between the spaces, and also provides an area for guests to mingle with those working in the kitchen.”

The kitchen’s functionality is also enhanced by a host of high-performance appliances, including a Viking range top, KitchenAid microwave/oven and dishwasher drawers, Jenn-Air refrigerator/freezer drawers, and GE Monogram wine cooler and warming drawer.

Gentle Bath Update

While some baths require a complete gut-and-replace, a well-designed bath often does better with a gentle update. This was the case in a master bath remodel by Sandy Hayes of Portland, OR-based Hayes Designs, whose elegant design garnered the project fourth-place honors in the CaesarStone Dream Design contest. A product of the late ’80s, the bath had the advantage of carefully designed tile work on the floors, tub deck and shower that Hayes says “was still in wonderful shape and timeless in style and color.”

She realized that it didn’t make sense “to waste perfectly good materials by arbitrarily ripping out the whole bath,” so she kept what worked and integrated new elements.

She explains, “The challenge came in integrating a new smooth vanity wall into the existing framework without having it look like an add-on.” She called on Portland Marbleworks to fabricate the Raven Polished CaesarStone countertop, which she says was “a perfect solution, dropping the sleek, thick edge down onto the existing tub deck, thereby hiding the old side splash marks of the previous countertop tile.”

A wall of glass continues the sleek look of the bath, while a Mozambique wood vanity with a horizontal grain from Pacific Design Cabinetry adds a modern feel. The Oceanside Tessera Series glass mosaic tile in Moroccan Desert, lit by Robern sconces, adds elegance and quiet drama, while the Kohler Ladena sink, Danze Sirius chrome faucetry and Emerling Studio faux painting finish off the space.

Hayes concludes: “The overall result was that of a quiet and serene space for the homeowners to enjoy. This was a successful marriage of old and new materials within the bath!”

For more about this project, click here.

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