Student Designers Render Three Award-Winning Kitchens

HACKETTSTOWN, NJ — In 2005 the National Kitchen & Bath Association decided to take a gamble on new rules for its 2004/2005 Student Design Competition. The Hackettstown, NJ-based association updated the challenge by allowing entrants to not only develop the design concept they received, but also the client profile.

The NKBA’s bet paid off. The new spin on the competition – which was sponsored by Winchester, VA-based American Woodmark Corp. and open to all NKBA Student Members – drew many takers.

All had to play by the new rules, which included designing a kitchen using the existing floorplan and limitations provided by the NKBA and the NKBA Kitchen Survey Form. Construction guidelines precluded the new design from stepping outside the original footprint. Doors and windows were allowed to be moved within the original walls and added to exterior walls. Last, but not least, each student designer was allowed to determine the ceiling height up to 12'.

All entries had to include the client profile and design statement, floorplan, construction plan, mechanical plan, and elevations of significant walls according to NKBA Graphics and Presentation Standards.

But only three lucky student designers won top honors, with two more garnering honorable mentions. All five were recognized at last year’s K/BIS – held for the first time ever in Las Vegas – during the NKBA Board of Directors’ Gala event.

Each of the winning designs, as well as all of the entries, were judged by a panel of certified, practicing kitchen professionals on visual appeal, the development and presentation of the concept, the elements and principles of design, and the NKBA’s Planning Guidelines and Presentation Standards.

The three student-designed kitchens that placed first, second and third place, as well as the two that received honorable mentions, met the criteria, and demonstrated innovative design ideas, according to competition organizers. Here, Kitchen & Bath Design News highlights each winning student kitchen design.

Sunshine State Update
Audrey J. Koehn, from Kansas State University in Manhattan, KS, took top honors for the kitchen she conceptualized for a couple – Jack and Alice Kempe – who had just purchased a new winter home in sunny Florida.

Koehn decided to update the home’s 1970s kitchen so as to take full advantage of the grandeur of the view while keeping intact the heart and gathering place of the home. Koehn took into consideration the wife’s penchant for entertaining and the husband’s need to have a space that had clean lines and demonstrated modern expressionism. She envisioned an open, dynamic space with contemporary, yet soothing aesthetics that incorporated an outdoor eating area.

Her plan called for several architectural and spatial changes, such as removing the soffits, relocating the air vents to the floor, incorporating the returns in display units above the built-in refrigerator and wet bar, and moving the existing entry hall doorway so the stainless steel range and hood could take center stage. She sealed one entrance to the den to make room for a full bank of cabinets and the refrigerator, and replaced the bay window with French doors.

Aesthetically speaking, Koehn specified white sand concrete countertops, a custom, burnt orange, concrete wall to support the green-edged glass bar top, and a mosaic glass tile backsplash. A host of appliances ranging from the refrigerator to wine storage and warming drawers round out the function.

Palatial Pacific Views
Sangeeta Lodha from West Valley College in Saratoga, CA, devised her second-place kitchen concept called “An Elegant Embrace” specifically for a homeowner – Marianne Glasgow – who is a gourmet cook and an art lover. The client enjoys entertaining just as much as preparing meals for herself and her husband in their Carmel, CA home overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

Her design had to open up the space to allow the clients to take advantage of the water view. At the same time, it had to accommodate entertaining, and allow the client to converse with her husband while he relaxed in the den or on the terrace as she cooked.

She envisioned a clean, minimalist space, and conceptualized a layout that blended openness, functionality and a medley of materials such as a light terracotta cast concrete wall, grey concrete countertops, stainless steel appliances, and light cherry and burgundy cabinetry.

At the heart of this design is the 10' island housing a cooktop, oven, wine cellar, bar seating and a striking hood, whose horizontal line stands out against the longitudinal line of displayed art. Lodha also replaced the west wall that blocked the ocean view with a Nana Glass Wall System, and incorporated a floor-to-ceiling bay window to complete the space.

Anchors Aweigh
Amanda Elayne Farmer from Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, NC placed third for her ability to design a dream kitchen for a single client – Timothy Howes – who was building his dream home.

The kitchen had to be an open, airy and warm space to accommodate a future family, with clean lines and efficient function for a bachelor who loves boating, fishing and all things nautical.

Using a mix of warm woods, white Shaker cabinetry and bold colors, Farmer developed a design with a nautical theme infused with plenty of function and versatility. A maple-plank floor mimicking a ship’s deck, along with fabrics and wallpaper in bold stripes, solids and a subtle floral, help anchor the kitchen’s nautical feel. Lit niches in the soffits house prized pieces of a maritime collection.

Cobalt blue countertops, modern appliances, plenty of island seating and a host of storage options provide function.

Noteworthy Notions
The competition’s panel also singled out two noteworthy concepts for honorable mentions.

Joseph Facer from Weber State University in Ogden, UT received a nod for his conceptual design for a young professional couple with two children, a love of entertaining and on-the-go lifestyle.

Dubbed “Bold Fusion,” Facer’s design called for a glass-top table and an island accommodating two bar stools at one end. A host of stainless steel appliances, such as a cooktop, gas range, dishwasher and ambient wine storage system, make cooking, snacking and entertaining easier for the whole family.

The addition of large windows and an exit to the patio provides extra space for entertaining and family dinners in natural surroundings.

Frameless natural maple cabinets and mosaic tile backsplash add a contemporary feel.

Dana Vaux from Washington State University in Pullman, WA, also received a nod for her effort that involved designing an Asian-inspired kitchen for an avid cook’s family living in Hawaii.

Vaux’s design included removing the wall separating the kitchen and dining room for easier access to the deck. Islands featuring varied counter heights placed along the walls, maximize traffic flow and accommodate multiple cooks.

Black, framed, open upper cabinets, wood-framed French doors and sliding Shoji doors add the Asian touch and round out the design.