Minimalism, Elegance Mark Three Award-Winning Kitchens

The setting: The Breakers in Palm Beach, FL. The reason: selecting the national winners in the 2004/05 Sub-Zero/Wolf Kitchen Design Contest, the seventh since its inception in 1993. The result: Three kitchens awarded top honors in the category of best kitchen for their overall creativity and style, plus their use of appliances.

The kitchens ran the gamut from a Zen-like kitchen that blends with nature and a semi-pro kitchen fit for families and philanthropy, to a “peek-a-boo” kitchen concept that gives the owners a choice as to whether to conceal it or open it to the adjacent great room.

They were hand-picked from a group of 48 regional winners, which were narrowed down from a field of more than 1,000 entries from kitchen designers, architects, interior designers and builders around the world.

“It was a great contest, and our judges had a difficult time in the selection of these beautiful design-winning entries,” says Jim Bakke, president/CEO for Sub-Zero/Wolf, which is based here.

Each entry utilized a full-size Sub-Zero built-in 600 Series or integrated 700 Series unit and Wolf cooking instrument. And, along with innovative and brilliant kitchen design, each one was judged on the aesthetic and functional use of the space and the functional placement of the Sub-Zero/Wolf appliances, according to contest organizers.

They were carefully reviewed by a panel of seven independent judges in the industry: MaryJo Camp, CKD, CBD, CID and v.p./marketing of Standards of Excellence (formerly McPhails Appliance) in San Francisco, CA; Mick De Giulio of de Giulio kitchen design, inc. in Chicago, IL; Jamie Drake, ASID, of Drake Design Associates in New York, NY; Wendy Mendes, AIA, ASID, IIDA and v.p. of RTKL Associates in Coral Gables, FL; Matthew Quinn designer and partner of Design Galleria Kitchen and Bath Studio in Atlanta, GA; Robert Schwartz, principal of St. Charles of New York (NY); and Patti Weaver, CKD, of Creative Design Solutions in Longmont, CO.

Here and on the next two pages, KBDN spotlights the designs of the three national winners.

Cozy Kitchen
Walking the line between a professional kitchen and a warm, inviting family space, this oversized, yet still cozy kitchen took first place, garnering its creators the $20,000 grand prize.

Michael Neumann, AIA, of Michael Neumann Architecture LLC in New York, NY, was challenged with this project, designed for a philanthropic couple with children on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. The goal was to turn the small, existing kitchen and existing maid’s quarters in the apartment into a centerpiece semi-professional kitchen.

The new design accommodates 50 guests and staff, and provides a welcoming atmosphere in which the family and staff can eat and work. The space also includes a small office and a powder room featuring a Jado faucet and a Kohler Co. toilet.

To bring this dual kitchen concept in what he feels is a very “Gosford Park” vein to life, Neumann worked with Jairo Camelo, project manager, and Daniel Gillen, designer. Both are with his New York, NY-based architectural firm. Silver Lining Interiors, also based in New York, NY, served as the contractor.

The judges were impressed with the design, noting that Neumann’s design was decisive.

“The judges felt that there were no ‘ifs’ about it,” shares Neumann.

Given the frequency of their charitable entertaining, the clients not only needed “a welcoming place where family and staff could gather, work and eat, but also an efficient, durable, semi-professional kitchen to prepare food and store full table service for 50 dinner guests – plus an assistant’s office that could partition off for privacy,” he explains.

To meet the challenge, all walls were demolished to produce a single unified space centered on a 9' island with an adjacent stainless steel appliance wall.

Neumann and his team installed two 601R refrigerators and a 601F freezer from Sub-Zero and a 48" range, 30" wall oven, microwave and 54" exhaust hood from Wolf. The hood was concealed by stainless steel cabinets.

Two Miele Incognito dishwashers and a Franke sink and Grohe faucet at three different stations – wet bar/bartender, clean-up and food prep in the island – complete the function.

Peripheral zones were created for the multiple activities of the family and house staff, he adds. They feature white glass and cerused white oak cabinets custom-built with plenty of well-defined storage options and details by SFA Leinoff Fine Woodworking Inc. in Brooklyn, NY.

In addition, a dining area pulls double duty as a family area and guest area during events. It’s surrounded by inconspicuous storage for china and linens.

To create a unified appearance, appliance detailing complements the millwork design and the stainless counter edge profile matches the adjacent Wolf range. Lights are also mounted in the adjoining stainless soffit for consistency of style. The refrigerators with bottom grilles were chosen to maintain a seamless visual transition with the stainless cabinets above them. Cabinet pulls were chosen to harmonize with the minimalist look of the Sub-Zero/Wolf appliance handles.

A continuous stainless steel reveal and a stainless toe kick on the oak cabinets tie together the surfaces.

White on White
Elaine Cecconi, ARIDO, IDC and principal of Cecconi Simone Inc. in Toronto, Ontario, Canada took second place and was awarded the $10,000 prize.

Cecconi was charged with creating an elegant minimalist kitchen that would be separate and distinct from the adjoining living area – one that could be hidden at the whim of the owners, yet still be open to the adjacent great room.

“My goal was to create two individual spaces and give this kitchen more life and depth by incorporating intricate custom details,” says Cecconi. And because “the kitchen is a part of the overall living area, the ability to close it off was important.”

To that end, Cecconi installed two 5'x10' slatted wood sliding doors that could be opened to bring the two spaces together or closed to hide the island, with its Wolf dual-fuel range and exhaust hood suspended from the ceiling above it.

“The slatted wood screens can be rolled in place to cover the island – and any mess – while keeping the rest of the kitchen accessible,” notes Cecconi.

“This is the heart of the kitchen where everyone gathers,” continues Cecconi. “The client loves the look of the Wolf range with its commercial cooking aesthetic, but also wanted the other appliances to ‘disappear.’”

So she decided to clad the Sub-Zero 700 Series refrigerator, wine locker and freezer on one wall in the same white DuPont Corian that makes up the countertops. It also adorns the doors and drawers fronts of the solid ash wood cabinetry, which was custom-built with myriad storage details by RJW Enterprises, based just north of Toronto.

The flush-mounted and frameless Wolf microwave sits below the plasma TV.

“The client wanted an elegant, all-white kitchen, but was concerned that it would be too plain,” says Cecconi.

So, to finish off the design, she included some “details to create ‘shade and shadow’ and give depth.”

These include the beveled counter edge profile that wraps down the sides framing the millwork, and the slatted back wall that accommodates adjustable, cantilevered glass shelves.

Minimalist Design
For his “very minimalist, sculptural kitchen” design, David Jameson, AIA of David Jameson Architect in Alexandria, VA, took third place. He received $5,000 for his design efforts.

According to the judges, they “were especially impressed with Jameson’s adept use of the limitless integration possibilities” because Jameson created a kitchen that “is virtually unrecognizable as such because the appliances are incorporated so seamlessly.”

And that was the point of the design: to create a kitchen “that’s not a kitchen,” says Jameson.

“The concept for the house is a glass pavilion flanked on the north and south by two stone wings. Inside the glass pavilion,” describes Jameson, “is a habitable wooden object inserted to define the space for the kitchen. The distilled solid quality of the kitchen is a counterpoint to the porous glass walls that wrap and protect it from nature.”

Wood, stone and metal tectonic elements are used to seamlessly blend the products that provided the kitchen’s function into the design.

“Bridging the gap between these elements creates tension, intertwining the refined and the raw,” believes Jameson.

To remain anonymous, four Sub-Zero 700 Series units are discreetly placed in pragmatic areas and clad in the same vertical-grain Douglas fir that makes up the custom-built cabinetry by Gaithersburg, MD-based Hill Enterprises, Inc.

A Wolf 36" gas oven, 36" gas cooktop and microwave “act as minimalist sculpture inserted into the material fabric,” adds Jameson.

Asian Contemporary
In an effort to expand the competition and reach young designers, Sub-Zero/Wolf also created a new student design category. And Jamie Miller, formerly a student at Alexandria Technical College in Alexandria, MN, and currently working with Aladdin Remodelers in Massapequa Park, NY, took home the first-ever prize in this new category.

A scholarship of $10,000 was donated to Miller’s alma mater and Miller was personally awarded $2,500. Additionally, Miller’s design was featured as a fully built kitchen vignette in the Sub-Zero/Wolf booth at last month’s K/BIS in Chicago.

Sub-Zero/Wolf called upon Plain & Fancy Custom Cabinetry to help build the vignette, and together the companies created a completely built-out, professionally finished version of Miller’s design “in record time” for the trade show, notes Sub-Zero/Wolf officials.

Because Miller was a design student, her entry was based on a fictitious home and homeowner; she literally created her entry from scratch. Miller began by inventing a distinct client, “Seth Dawson,” a sushi chef with an affinity for Asian décor and a love for entertaining.

Based on this client’s wishes, Miller created a design she describes as “Asian Contemporary,” which incorporates glass, wood, metals and vibrant colors, as well as straight, clean lines, stainless steel and geometric shapes.

The center island features a glass countertop and wood-paneled, metal-faced cabinetry, adding a cohesive feel. Rich red walls, floor-to-ceiling cabinetry and Asian-inspired windows comprise the parameter of the space and add visual interest.

It also features a host of integrated Sub-Zero/Wolf products. They include a Wolf 48" rangetop, ventilation system, integrated warming drawers and a double-oven, and a Sub-Zero full-size unit, wine storage unit, integrated undercounter refrigerator/freezer drawers and an undercounter icemaker. She integrated all of the appliances using contemporary elements.

Furthermore, to complete her design, Miller expanded her design outdoors, including several alfresco cooking elements available from Wolf.