CENTENNIAL, CO — Doug Walter, AIA and Sharon Thomas really worked all of the angles in this kitchen remodel – literally. The design duo took a cramped, outdated kitchen and turned the entire layout 45° to create an angular kitchen. The result is a more open, modern, multiple-cook kitchen that features a large triangular bay that frames a stunning mountain view and serves as the primary prep area.
In fact, the angular kitchen transformation garnered two awards for Walter – who owns Doug Walter Architects in Englewood, CO, and Thomas – who designs for Builders Kitchen Center LLC, also in Englewood. Champion Construction was the contractor on the job. Marn Heggen, a project intern for Doug Walter Architects, also worked on the remodel.
“We entered this project in several local and national contests because it is such a striking before and after,” recalls Walter. “We felt the unusual angled geometry and bold use of color would help it show well against the competition”
Indeed, the kitchen won for Best Kitchen over $75,000 in this year’s Chrysalis design competition, which has been honoring remodeling projects across the U.S. since 1993. The competition is open to remodeling contractors, architects, builders, developers, planners, kitchen and bath specialists and other remodeling professionals. This year’s contest drew 585 entries, which were judged by editors from Southern Living, Better Homes & Gardens, Womans’ Day Special Interest Publications, HGTV Pro and Sunset magazine.
“The projects are judged on design, use of materials, use of space and integration into the existing space,” according to Chrysalis organizers.
The design also took first place in the Luxury Kitchen category of the 2005 Colorado Awards for Remodeling Excellence (CARE), which is sponsored by the Remodelors Council of the Home Builders Association (HBA) of Metro Denver. This program annually recognizes excellence in design and construction of residential and light commercial remodeling and renovation projects. Fifty-five entries were judged by a panel that included a builder, interior designer and newspaper editor on “the strength of design ideas, aesthetic and market appeal, sensitivity to existing structure, appropriate use of existing building elements, compatibility with the neighborhood and functional value and cost effectiveness,” according to the HBA.
It was this kitchen’s sharp angles that looked pretty “sharp” to the judges of CARE, who touted its redesigned function, confident color choices and exterior impact of the new sink area. As one judge summed up the design: “It was a clear winner because of the very strong transformation [and] creative solution with quality execution and materials.”
Indeed, Walter and Thomas needed a creative solution to incorporate all that the owners wanted.
“The owners are avid cooks; in fact, they’re part of a gourmet club and take classes whenever possible,” describes Walter. “Thus, they wanted to update their entire kitchen so that they could cook and bake in it simultaneously without getting in each other’s way. They also wanted something really special in terms of style and layout.”
Walter was certainly challenged to rethink the current kitchen, but he soon found a solution by looking toward the other end of the couple’s home.
“My architectural firm had remodeled the rest of the home about eight years ago, taking a very rectilinear, boring ranch plan and introducing a 45° angle to it with three triangular additions. So, it was a natural choice to incorporate angles into the kitchen,” notes Walter. “In this case we turned the grid 45°. The kitchen grew in size from the small triangular addition, and by capturing part of the space from a redundant powder room. But the effect is of a far larger space than its 100 square feet, partly due to the light color palette and partly because of the soaring vaulted ceiling in the sink area that floods the kitchen with daylight.” The new floorplan also improved the traffic flow.