Le Sueur, MN— Designers are always trying to top their best work – but the latest edition of the Cambria Lifestyles Contest asked them to be literal about it.
The supplier of natural quartz surfaces recently recognized 13 outstanding projects, including five residential kitchens and their designers, who topped the competition with attractive and innovative Cambria installations.
“Designers, installers and fabricators of Cambria use remarkable creativity and innovation, and this contest is our way of recognizing the exceptional work that they do,” says Tom Annexstad, Cambria’s senior v.p. of sales. “Each year, we are impressed by the variety of uses of Cambria and the skilled craftsmanship our partners demonstrate.”
The winners of the contest, which is open to Cambria certified installation and fabrication partners, designers, builders and retailers, are featured in the 2008 Cambria Lifestyles Contest Calendar.
Jim Smith, principal of La Porte, IN-based Custom Cabinets & Woodwork, said the decision to enter the contest was easy.
“It was a very nice kitchen,” Smith says simply.
With homespun charm and luxury touches, Smith’s winning kitchen was the result of an unusual peninsula shape, careful material choices and attention to detail. The Cambria fabricator on the project told Smith about the contest during the final installation. Part of a whole-house remodel, the kitchen was relocated to another part of the house, and built from the studs up.
Blending warmth with practicality, Smith chose cabinetry by Decorá and added sleek commercial touches, including a stainless steel farm sink, a 70/30 double bowl from Houzer’s Epicure series.
“The homeowner wanted commercial-style everything,” Smith reports. To address that, he chose a range and other appliances from Wolf, and refrigeration from Sub-Zero.
But perhaps the most interesting elements, Smith notes, were the various elevations that the clients requested and that the designer cites as the biggest challenge.
“Angles and elevations make the kitchen really stand out,” he says.
Among the various elevations, Smith included a work station area with a desk, flat-screen television and seating, perfect for someone set to organize their day.
The kitchen revolves around the homeowners’ own unusual freestanding butcher block, an antique procured on a trip to Michigan, which has a decorative waved face that can be flipped over for use as a practical cutting board.
Smith’s kitchen graces the March page of the Cambria Lifestyles’ Contest Calendar.
Designer Phil Sander describes this kitchen remodel, completed in early 2007, as “full of character.”
After expanding the footprint to approximately 250 sq. ft., Sander, of Littleton, CO-based Sander and Sons, Inc., set about creating signature details while fulfilling his clients’ requests.
“The ceilings are quite high, about 10 ft.,” says Sander. “In the old plan, there was a gap between the top of the cabinetry and the ceiling.”
Sander specified Woodharbor Cabinetry and placed 18" glass-front cabinets on 42" boxes to reach the high ceiling. To add further usable space, the designer removed an unused pantry to create space for additional open cabinetry in a darker shade for contrast. The color palette was a prime consideration; in addition to the competing Cambria colors and the dual-shade cabinetry, Sander took up the existing tile floor in favor of hardwood, and added a tile backsplash that highlights colors speckled in the countertops.
Other details include turned posts, raised-door panels and four-piece crown moldings. Sander added can lighting and pendants over the island. The undermount sinks in the countertops are from Blanco America with faucetry by Delta Faucet Co.
“The amount of detail takes center stage, such as the bump-outs for the sink and the base for the Viking cooktop,” says Sander. The clients kept their existing appliances, which include a Viking double oven and refrigeration from Sub-Zero.