Kitchen Garners Award for Its Ultra Mod Style

A strikingly modern kitchen that has all of the amenities a couple needs to entertain took the Gold award in the 2006 Luxury Living Awards.

The Awards honor New England’s “most beautiful living spaces and the talented home design and remodeling professionals who created them in a completely collaborative fashion,” notes the Luxury Living Awards Committee.

The 2006 Awards received support from a host of local firms and associations, including trade partners NKBA, NARI, Builders Association of Greater Boston, ASID, IFDA and Boston Society of Landscape Architects.

“[All of the winning team’s projects] exhibit a remarkable diversity of styles and approaches. Together, they demonstrate the vitality and quality of work being done by New England’s design professionals,” notes the Committee.

Minimalism Meets Luxury

While this “Minimalism Meets Luxury” kitchen was brought to life by Rosemary Porto, designer/independent representative with the Poggenpohl Boston showroom, she was part of a larger team that remodeled this more casual Boston home for a retired couple. The couple owns three other residences: one each in Naples, FL, Chicago, IL and Cape Cod, MA.

The team included Porto; architect Stephen E. Tise of Tise Design Associates in Newton, MA; contractor JMP Construction in Quincy, MA, and interior design firm Kreitinger Design in Chicago, IL.

The sleek, contemporary look of Porto’s design is set off by anodized aluminum cabinets by Poggenpohl, slate wall tiles, bamboo flooring and a retractable island table. Her design not only fulfilled the clients’ primary desire to simultaneously cook and converse with their guests, but it also spoke to the Awards’ emphasis on team work.

“This was a really good example of that. Together, we were able to do some really different things here, from the overall look of the aluminum to the engineering of the table, the custom light fixtures and the ventilation system,” says Porto, who also owns “I also thought the kitchen was interesting because it was so contemporary among so many traditional kitchens in New England.”

Indeed, because of its style and cleverly hidden function, the kitchen also stood out to the judging panel, which consisted of home design professionals, homeowners, media personalities and more.

From 130 entries submitted by more than 6,000 teams – consisting of New England designers, architects, remodelers, builders, landscape architects and other professionals – the judging panel chose winners in 11 categories.

They included Kitchen, Bathroom, Master Suite, Casual Living, Custom Home, Dining Room, Living Room, Media Room, Outdoor Living, Specialty Space and Whole-House Remodel – plus Design of the Year, which recognizes the year’s most exceptional space. Thomas Wirth Associates, Inc. received this award for an Outdoor Living space in Oak Bluffs, MA.

Joining the kitchen by Porto et al in the Kitchen category were the “Mod Colonial Kitchen,” submitted by Thomas Buckborough & Associates in Concord, MA on behalf of its team, and the “Fantasy Kitchen,” submitted by The Classic Group, Inc. in Boston, MA, on behalf of its team. “Mod Colonial” took the Platinum award, while “Fantasy” took the Silver.

Platinum, Gold and Silver winners in each category, plus the Design of the Year, were recognized at the Second Annual Luxury Living Awards Celebration in March at Westin Copley Place.

Here, Kitchen & Bath Design News takes a look at the Luxury Living Award-winning kitchens.

Winning Designs

There was no question as to what the owners of an upscale Boston condo wanted for their “Minimalism Meets Luxury” kitchen. They wanted a very modern, yet casual style, an island for cooking and an eating area open to the living space.

“They definitely wanted a contemporary kitchen with aluminum cabinets,” recalls Porto.

Porto et al was able to give the owners what they desired, including the Poggenpohl AL888 aluminum cabinets they requested, but it was not without some challenges.

For instance, the island design gave the design team pause. It features a modular Gaggenau gas cooktop and base cabinets with self-closing drawers that store pots, pans and cooking utensils on one side, and a custom-designed and -fabricated, stainless-steel-frame, retractable dining table on the opposing side that can be extended to seat two to five people.

The challenge was to completely conceal the table when retracted without messing with the gas lines for the cooktop. The solution involved “a stainless steel bridge hidden under the island,” explains Porto. It allowed the table to disappear into the island through a hinged opening, and to “magically” reappear to full extension when needed.

Another challenge Porto and the team overcame was how to ventilate the kitchen because the ceilings were 8' at the start, and then dropped to accommodate the recessed lighting.

Porto worked with the architect on a solution that resulted in strategically placing over the island a custom-designed and -fabricated stainless steel light fixture that included a state-of-the-art ventilation system.

“Its narrow 3" profile creates a subtle solution to the required need for high-powered ventilation. The frosted-glass underside panels control the levels of light required for cooking, and create a romantic ambience for intimate dining,” says Porto.

Due also to the low ceiling height, Porto had to install wall cabinets that wouldn’t make the space look “squatty.” To that end, she chose several cubes of frosted glass, and installed them over mirror, “making them appear to float from the paneled Sub-Zero TCI refrigerator to the opposite wall,” she says.

Two sinks, his and hers, provide the owners the chance to tidy up and load the fully integrated dishwasher intentionally placed between them.
The countertops and full-height, white solid surface backsplash underline the clean minimalism of this very modern kitchen.

The “Mod Colonial Kitchen” needed to reflect the age and feel of the 250-year-old colonial home. The owners also wanted a kitchen for gourmet cooking and entertaining and to reflect their flair for design and color.

Thomas Buckborough & Associates and Painting by Design, both in Concord, MA; Lissa Coolidge Woodworking in Acton, MA; Waterstone Studio in Belfast, ME; Noble Electric in Medway, MA; Long Leaf Lumber Cambridge, MA, and Stone Soup Concrete in Florence, MA, accomplished all of this by using materials with patina and character.

But first, the team needed to completely gut the space. What was left of the original timber frame remained and became a new aesthetic for the space. Old and new elements are combined to form a unique, New England kitchen, says the team.

The “Fantasy Kitchen” presented two challenges for The Classic Group, Inc., Meyer and Meyer Architects and Leslie Saul & Associates, all in Boston, MA; Kochman, Reidt + Haigh Cabinetmakers in Stoughton, MA; and Paramount Tiling in Ashland, MA.

The first one was to create a functional, eat-in kitchen with ties to the home’s architecture, and the second, to add supports for an 800-lb. pot rack to the existing structure.

The team installed three special supports for the pot rack and a hand-made tile backsplash that meshes with the home’s color scheme. It also used details from other areas of the home: custom fluted columns, capitals and elliptical molding.