Ventilation Contest Winners Showcase Style

According to recent studies, Americans spend 90% of their lives indoors. With that statistic in mind, it seems natural for clients, and by extension, the designers of the spaces within which those clients live, to be concerned about their indoor air quality (IAQ). This is especially true in spaces like the kitchen, where cooking fumes, smoke and humidity can rapidly create an unhealthy breathing environment. Ventilation is crucial to maintaining healthy air quality levels in the kitchen, and designing a ventilation system with style in mind was the key focus of Hartford, WI-based Broan-NuTone’s recent competition.

The fourth national Best Kitchen Design Competition, whose winners were announced in April, awarded prizes in categories for both professional and student kitchen designers. A total of $40,000 in cash, scholarships and travel was awarded to the winners, whose designs sought to incorporate proper kitchen ventilation by using products from the Best by Broan kitchen ventilation line.

The competition was promoted through Broan-NuTone’s local distributors and also through educational channels such as the National Kitchen & Bath Association’s student chapters, which presented instructors with the opportunity to encourage their students to participate.

“Because there were so many amazing competition entries, it was challenging to choose the best designs,” says David Pringle, president and CEO of Broan-NuTone, who notes that the competition’s judging panel of industry experts chose the winners based first on their use of the ventilation system, but also on the creativity of their overall designs.

Professional and student entrants competed in three categories: wall-mounted ventilation, island/peninsula ventilation and custom hood design, incorporating a Best by Broan kitchen ventilation product into their designs.

“Professional competitions always bring out the best in the field,” says Andie Day, AKBD, PSV Design Group LLC, professional category one, third place winner. “[This competition] challenged me to hone my skills and reach beyond existing solutions.”

Each of the first-place winners traveled to Las Vegas for the 2007 Kitchen/Bath Industry Show (K/BIS), where the grand prize professional and student winners were announced, and their designs unveiled during the show at the Broan-NuTone booth.

Grand Prize Winner

Of the professional entrants, Glenn Meader, director of residential design for Norwell, MA-based Kitchen Concepts, Inc., took home the grand prize. Meader’s wall-mounted ventilation design incorporated a Best by Broan chimney hood.
“I chose a Best by Broan chimney hood because the style was more traditional and complemented the other fixtures and elements in the kitchen,” notes the designer.

In his design statement, Meader writes: “Based on the layout, particular emphasis was placed on a wall-mounted hood that would not only need to provide the functional performance needed in gourmet cooking, but would also need to fit the style we were targeting in the design. The location of the hood and cooktop along the exterior wall provided great advantage in achieving this. First, the ability to keep the run of duct work to a minimum by venting out directly through the exterior wall ensured minimal loss of ventilation.

“Second, the central location of the hood allowed for the hood to not only ‘fit’ the style of the design, but to set the tone for the transitional style of the kitchen,” he concludes.

The homeowners are a couple with a traditional, Colonial-style home, who have a taste for the contemporary and sought to incorporate it into their kitchen. A large addition with a high ceiling was constructed at the back of the house, and a Great Room with space for entertaining and an open-plan kitchen was designed.

With that much open space, it was left to Meader to define the individual space, which he did in part through the shape of the granite-topped island, which wraps around the kitchen.

To give a further sense of the separation of the kitchen from the rest of the Great Room, the designer created a curved flooring transition, cabinet layout and ceiling soffits to separately define the living room, kitchen and octagonal breakfast room.

Efforts were also made to create stylistically common threads throughout the great room, as Meader says in his design statement: “[The common style] is apparent in the semi-circular pattern of slate tile floor that encompasses the kitchen, the peninsula that mirrors the hexagon shape of the breakfast room, and the ceiling soffit that lowers the vertical height of the kitchen and draws the eye with a trail of recessed lights into the breakfast room.”

Custom cabinetry in cherry with a recessed panel door style was specified as it seemed to be a marriage of the contemporary tastes of the clients with the overall traditional design of the home, according to Meader.

The clients are also homegrown gourmands with connections to the restaurant industry and had in their pre-renovation kitchen several restaurant-grade appliances including a Hobart refrigerator, an integrated dishwasher, 48" gas range top, double wall ovens, and 48" glass door refrigerator on the perimeter, along with an ice machine and high-speed glassware dishwasher on the island. They opted to keep their professional equipment and so the kitchen was designed around those elements. According to Meader, the overall project sought to marry contemporary, efficient design with traditional elements in the rest of the home, while being mindful of the potential future value of each facet of the renovation.

He said, “The clients did a lot of entertaining and wanted a new, contemporary kitchen to better meet their needs. In order for the clients to ensure an excellent resale value on their home, I was challenged to create a contemporary kitchen that blended with the home’s traditional New England design.”

For his efforts, Meader was awarded airfare and hotel accommodations for two to Rome, Italy near the Best by Broan manufacturing facility.

Student Winner

Notes student winner Crystal Hanson, “I entered the competition because it provided me with a goal to strive for while designing the kitchen.” Hanson, a student at Lakeland College in North Battleford, Saskatchewan, Canada, won the student designer grand prize scholarship of $10,000, but she notes that she earned more than monetary gains from her entry. “It was very challenging, but I acquired a great deal of knowledge and experience with kitchen layouts and ventilation,” she says.
Of her design, Hanson states, “I used the concept of simplicity to create a kitchen that accentuated the existing traditional elements of the house. The simple lines and clean look of the range hood fit well with the cabinets and the whole concept of simplicity.”

For more about this contest, click here.