Sub-Zero Winners Display Eye for Efficiency, Art

MADISON, WI— For Warner McConaughey, the third time is most certainly a charm. After submitting designs for the bi-annual Sub-Zero/Wolf Kitchen Design Contest on two previous occasions over the years, McConaughey’s third submission was named the first-place winner in the “Best Kitchen Utilizing a Full-Size Built-In or Integrated Unit and Wolf Cooking Instrument” category.

All of the design winners, including the winners of the other categories in the 2006/07 contest – such as “Best Use of Wine Storage in a Unique Location,” “Best Dealer Showroom Using Sub-Zero and Wolf” and “International Winners,” among others – were announced during the awards ceremony held recently at the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort and Spa at Gainey Ranch.

According to Paul Leuthe, corporate marketing manager of Sub-Zero and Wolf Appliance, all of the winners were recognized for innovative layouts featuring the integration of Sub-Zero and Wolf appliances, as well as the unique use of space and overall aesthetic elements.

Home made Design

The design that finally garnered McConaughey, CR and owner of HammerSmith in Decatur, GA, the coveted award was a remodel of the kitchen in his own home.

Working with his wife, Allison, an interior designer who is also part of the HammerSmith team, McConaughey worked to capture an industrial look.

“I’ve always been intrigued by kitchens that are stuffed down in a basement and kind of out of the way, but [still retain a modern look and feel],” he remarks.

To that end, the 13'x15', energy-efficient kitchen they created features a fashionable twist on antiquity, combined with cutting-edge technology. The room is highlighted by a Sub-Zero Pro 48 with glass door and a Wolf 48" dual-fuel range.

“We had to address function, and simple, clean lines are a must to accomplish this,” McConaughey states. That idea, coupled with the fact that the kitchen opened to a family room, gave the space a more current, trendy feel.

“So, the major thing that [challenged] us,” he remarks, “was how to make this modern kitchen feel old.”

Appliance Style

McConaughey notes that it required great diligence to create such a functional and durable space – particularly because he and his wife were the clients.

“This project was different because it is in my own house,” he comments. “It was a great experience to learn what it feels like to be the client and have all of the budgetary challenges and worry about cost overruns and delays.”

Specifically, McConaughey – who describes he and his wife as avid cooks who entertain often – notes that the industrial-style kitchen was “meant to be a real live-in, eat-in kitchen.

“It needed to be very functional for day-to-day cooking, but it also had to be large enough to handle cooking demonstrations that we sometimes have in our home,” he explains.

The McConaugheys started the design of the kitchen with the large Sub-Zero Pro 48 “because it doesn’t feel old or out of date. It has this real industrial quality,” he offers.

“When you think about it, how do you put a refrigerator of that size in a normal kitchen?” he muses. But, he insists, they had to have that refrigerator, as well as that particular 48" Wolf range.

The range includes a grill, so McConaughey can entertain guests for homemade pasta dinners or pancake breakfasts.

He stresses that the range was an ideal complement to other items selected for the design.

“Instead of it being a 48" range with a 48" hood above it, we selected an 8'-hood that runs all the way across, so there is nothing below part of the hood,” he explains. “In the meanwhile, the range is totally offset from the hood.”

Timeless Appeal

To add a timeless look and feel to the space, McConaughey chose cherry cabinetry from Wood-Mode finished in a dark rich tone. Italian soapstone countertops from Walker Zanger and overhead lighting from Urban Archaeology add to the authentic feel of the space. Dark oak flooring finishes the room.

A large, 38" center island provides a gathering space as well as seating on one side.

“With the metal windows and other elements featured throughout the room, [upon first glance] you think the kitchen is old,” he comments. “However, once you start to look around, you realize this is a really modern kitchen.

“It has a timeless feel,” he continues. “There are so many different items, and yet they all feel so similar when you are in the room,” he remarks.

Side Order

To the side of the main kitchen, McConaughey created a clean-up and prep half-kitchen, designed specifically to enhance workflow during catered parties and family gatherings.

Three people can fit comfortably in the space during meal preparation, according to McConaughey.

In addition, he notes that during a party, all of the dishes can be stored in the room after dinner, keeping them out of site.

“You can also have a person washing dishes in there during a catered event,” he says. “It allows the kitchen to function [as a] much larger [space] than it [initially appears as].”

The 15'x7' space features a walk-in pantry that provides ample storage opportunities. The pantry houses small appliances such as a toaster and mixer, providing convenient access.

“Multiple work zones, where you can have multiple people working within a kitchen space – even a smaller kitchen – is a definite trend,” says Leuthe. “It is a matter of putting appliances and equipment logically where they belong from a functional point of view.”

In addition to the half-kitchen/prep area, the space also includes a wine bar, which provides added convenience when entertaining. Incorporated into the wine bar area is an ice maker, a filtered-water faucet, a wine refrigerator and storage for glasses and bottles.

Leuthe concludes: “This entire kitchen layout is meant to be functional in the quintessential description of functionality, but it is not meant to be demonstrative or minimalistic or showy in any sort of way. It is meant to produce a lot of meals.”

Second in Command

Earning second-place honors in the competition was a sleek, white kitchen from Elaine Cecconi of Cecconi Simone in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

The kitchen offers a unique interpretation of minimalist design as well as the masterful integration of appliances, Leuthe notes.

“Cecconi didn’t want the space to look at all like a kitchen,” he explains. “While the 36" Wolf dual-fuel range Model DF366 serves as a focal point, it doesn’t take away from the beauty of the minimalist kitchen design.”

While the range is in full view, the 36" Sub-Zero Model 736 refrigerator is totally integrated.

For Leuthe, Cecconi’s design reflects design trends that are developing in the industry.

“I think there is a definite trend where people are trying to make their kitchen into more of a living space,” he comments. “As a result, the kitchen takes on that sort of Great-Room mentality. This design especially reflects that.”

Design of Choice

The third-place winner, Phyllis Taylor of Miami, FL-based The Taylor & Taylor Partnership, was also honored as the inaugural recipient of the Designer’s Choice Award. This honor was presented to the designer selected as the preferred choice among the regional winners, as determined by some 47,000 design professionals who cast their vote.
The first-, second- and third-place winners received $20,000, $10,000 and $5,000 respectively; a trip to Phoenix for the awards presentation and recognition among their peers. The Designer’s Choice Award winner also received a prize of $5,000.

This year’s judging panel included a diverse group of design professionals, including Mick De Giulio of Chicago-based de Giulio kitchen design, inc.; Barbara Houston of Houston & Associates in Vancouver, BC, Canada; Jamie Drake of New York, NY-based Drake Design Associates; Matthew Quinn of Atlanta, GA-based Design Galleria Ltd.; John C. Senhauser, FAIA, of Cincinnati, OH-based John Senhauser Architects; Kristen Totah, SID of Studio K Kitchens and Design in Aptos, CA, and Patti Weaver, CKD, of Creative Design Solutions in Niwot, CO.

More than 1,600 entries were received for the contest, setting a new record, Leuthe reports.

For more about this project, click here.