Kitchens Honored in 14th Annual Chrysalis Awards

It’s said that the devil is in the details. But, for the winners of this year’s Chrysalis Awards, it seems that the design is in the details. From modernizing a 1980s snoozer, to restoring the detailed charm to a San Francisco Edwardian kitchen, the winning designs stood out from the pack through the designers’ choice of details in architectural elements, color pairings and other areas, to realize each homeowner’s vision for the kitchen.

Whether it was making a cramped kitchen suitable for more than one person, creating savvy storage or using the existing elements to stunning effect, each kitchen displays a host of creative design solutions.

The Chrysalis Awards for Remodeling Excellence, which honor the best and brightest in remodeling since 1993, are co-sponsored by Qualified Remodeler, a sister publication of Kitchen & Bath Design News. Judges this year included editors and writers from a range of consumer publications including Better Homes & Gardens and Southern Living. This month, KBDN highlights some of the national kitchen design winners of the Chrysalis Awards.

Best Kitchen $40,000-75,000

Since one is the loneliest number, a kitchen that can only accommodate a single person isn’t a well designed space. Nor is it conducive to entertaining, and that was a problem for one Oregon family.

Prior to its luxe remodel, this kitchen defined “small” and “dark.” The homeowners were looking for a layout that would better facilitate entertaining. The new space needed to create a place where the young family could spend time together. It was up to Bend, OR-based Case Handyman & Remodeling to free up some space.

The first task was rearranging the work areas into a better triangle. In the original layout, the appliances were lined up at the back of the kitchen, which meant the cook was separated from his guests while entertaining. According to the homeowner, when preparing a meal, he had to kick everyone else out – there simply wasn’t enough space.

The firm turned the major appliances and work areas 180 degrees and placed them into the island. Now anyone who prepares a meal will face the rest of the house instead of a wall – a set-up much more conducive to entertaining guests.

Old met new when a 100-year-old butcher block in the previous kitchen was included in the design alongside new cabinetry under a redesigned lighting scheme. The modern design incorporates a number of different textures: a bamboo floor, stainless steel countertop and cherry cabinets that contribute to the modern eclectic look.

What the firm referred to as a “cave” was opened up by removing pre-existing false soffits. The soffits, apparently meant to define the small space, actually ended up creating visual barriers and shrinking the perception of the room’s size.

The environmentally sensitive homeowners found new homes for all of the appliances they replaced, while Case donated the remaining cabinets and fixtures to Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore program. ReStores are retail outlets where used and surplus building materials are sold at a fraction of normal prices and the proceeds go to benefit the construction of local Habitat houses.

The owners opted to keep their existing refrigerator. It is coated with chalkboard paint and now serves as the memo board in a much more family friendly kitchen.

Best Kitchen $75,000-100,000

The roaring ’20s produced the structure of this beautiful home, but a trendy update in the 1980s led to an outdated kitchen that the homeowners were sick of by the time they called in Charlotte, NC-based David Tyson & Associates. David Tyson, in conjunction with Charlotte, NC-based designer Susan Dudley, worked to update the kitchen.

Pastel wallpapers and bare bulb vanities may have been appealing long ago, but the homeowners felt it was time for a change. After looking at their kitchen with fresh eyes, they realized they wanted the new design to match the classic, original look of their home.

To meet the clients’ space and storage wishes, it was necessary to build in details to the space. Tyson started by adding a timeless butler’s pantry with bi-hinge French doors. This is flanked by two sets of custom leaded glass cabinet doors and wall-to-ceiling pantry cabinets.

A built-in banquette was then constructed for additional seating, while the family opted to use the island as the main meal center.

Tyson specified Zimbabwe black granite countertops, which frame the oversized farm sink. The granite was torched to add a brushed appearance to the finish.

Other architectural details add character to the remodeled space, including around the newly installed rear entry doors and a new window over the farm sink.

To light up the redesigned space, Tyson specified a wealth of recessed lighting; 23 units total are arranged in grouped, concentrated combinations as the main source of light for the space. Tyson added other touches such as a traditional chandelier in the butler’s pantry for a distinctive look.

Best Kitchen Over $100,000

The winner of this category originally began as a dark, outdated kitchen whose most charming details were inexplicably hidden under layers of paint. Indeed, the room was completely out of step with the rest of the charming San Francisco Edwardian-style home.

That’s when Oakland, CA-based Winans Construction was called in to add some charm and style to the 1970s-era space.

The owners had high hopes for the restoration of the kitchen to its original look, which was part of their whole-house remodel.

The key to the dramatic design turned out to be in the details. Once the layers of paint were removed, the moulding, wainscoting and other architectural details stood out and brought together other newly added elements to create an authentic period room.

A mosaic encaustic tile floor and a hammered tin ceiling dramatically frame the space. To contrast against the detail work, the kitchen was painted in light, complementary tones to accentuate the period-style millwork and the flat panel cabinetry, common to the Edwardian era.

The fixtures selected were traditional to blend with that look, and they include a bridge faucet over the dual-bowl apron front sink.

An important consideration for the space was the improvement of lighting. A new leaded glass pocket door was installed in place of an existing interior door and window to bring in natural light from other rooms. Six beveled mirrors frame the breakfast nook to reflect and amplify the natural light coming into the kitchen.

Winans specified marble for the countertops and subway tile for the backsplash, completing the winning look with a variety of both color and texture.

Winans Construction also had the honor of being named the Chrysalis Remodeler of the Year. It is the firm’s second time receiving the award.