COTY Winners Showcase Contemporary Styling

COTY Winners Showcase Contemporary Styling

By Barbara Capella Loehr

Designed to honor outstanding remodel projects, the COTY awards sponsored by National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI), based here recognize regional, and national contractors in a variety of different categories, including high-end kitchens and baths.

According to NARI, a panel of impartial judges, who are considered experts within the industry and associated fields, select each winner based on a set of criteria that includes problem-solving, functionality, aesthetics, craftsmanship, innovation, degree of difficulty and entry presentation.

This year, a total of 24 award-winning designs met these criteria, demonstrating remodeling excellence and capturing first-place national honors in each of their respective categories. Following is a look at a few of this year's national winners.

Like the fusion of metal and glass seen in this sleek, contemporary kitchen, this award-winning project fused together the talents of more than 52 separate parties, including the design team, suppliers and subs, according to Matt Podesta of San Francisco, CA-based Podesta Construction Inc. It snagged first-place honors in category four, "Residential Kitchen, More Than $100,000."

"It was very much a collaborative effort," he notes.

Indeed, in the construction firm, he worked with Jerry Podesta on the sales end of the project and Jim Keen, who served as project manager. Outside the firm, Podesta worked with designer MaryLou D'Auray of MaryLou D'Auray Interior Design in Sausalito, CA; lighting designer Susan Fenske with San Francisco, CA-based SF Lighting Design and Consulting, and David Gast, principal of David Gast & Associates Architects in San Francisco, CA, along with project architect Dennis Budd, also with the same firm.

Together, the design team used a variety of custom elements such as a wavy Tsunami glass island countertop set on stainless steel brackets to create the cutting-edge look the client wanted. "The client does a lot of entertaining,
so he wanted to modernize the kitchen and create an open feeling between the kitchen and adjacent dining and family room," explains Matt Podesta.

Other unique elements included a custom-colored glass tile backsplash, Guatemala Green marble perimeter countertops, contemporary, low-voltage pendant lights above the island and flat-panel Anegre wood cabinetry featuring
a high-sheen finish to reflect and mesh with the metal and glass elements in the space. Beech floors in the same color and with the same border pattern tie the kitchen to the dining and family rooms.

In terms of function, Podesta points to the Sub-Zero refrigerator with matching cabinetry panels, Thermador cooktop with a remote ventilator, and the Miele dishwasher and oven as adding convenience.

A study in contrasts, this kitchen by Sid Levin, director of design with Authentic Construction in St. Paul, MN, features a warm, two-toned, Arts-and-Crafts design theme with a contemporary flair using natural materials.

"Our clients asked for warm, workable and natural [Our solution] was to use natural materials in different tones in their natural state, which would generate a feeling of warmth, and provide a timeless quality," explains Levin, who was the sole designer on this Excelsior, MN-based project. It placed first in category three, "Residential Kitchen, $60,001 to $100,000."

Two-toned, custom cabinetry supplied by Minneapolis, MN-based Kleinschmidt Custom Cabinetry continues the contrast between the deep red walls and light, maple hardwood floor that ties the open kitchen layout together with the dining and reading niche.

Levin also applied the two-toned theory to the countertops. The darker Verde Marinace granite top highlights the island and the lighter Juperana Golden Oak granite serves as perimeter countertops.

He added drama by fusing stainless steel and bent glass together to create the vent hood.

A stainless steel Sub-Zero refrigerator, Wolf range and Miele dishwasher and hood provide the owners a couple with four children the function they need. A Rohl apron sink adds a finishing touch.

Rising from the proverbial ashes of what was once a small kitchen marked by the dark side of late 1960s and early 1970s design, this remodel has emerged with a fresh, functional and more open design befitting the gourmet cook owner.
The stunning transformation won first place in category two, "Residential Kitchen, $30,000 to $60,000," for Robert Moisan of Moisan Remodeling, Inc. in Dallas, TX. He worked with independent architect Chase Corker of Corker Designs in Dallas, TX, and interior decorator Gina Kidd, also based in Dallas, on this project.

As Moisan explains: "She's a gourmet cook and loves to entertain, but the existing kitchen was horribly dark and in poor shape. So we naturally wanted to open it up and bring it up to date for her."

However, there were several challenges, Moisan says, such as relocating the existing water heater to the attic and removing a closet to open up the kitchen's footprint and allow a second set of French doors to be installed. Lighting was another challenge overcome by expanding the small existing skylight to fit the entire ceiling.

Next, Moisan, Corker and Kidd applied traditional elements that blended with the home's circa-1920s transitional architectural details. For example, the kitchen features painted poplar and maple, flat-panel custom cabinetry supplied Blue Bonnet Wood Products. "The style is in keeping with the style seen in many other homes in this area of Dallas," notes Moisan.

Granite countertops, distressed wood beams, a tumbled marble backsplash and a custom boxed arched hood add character, while hardwood flooring connects it to the rest of the home.

For function, Moisan and his team installed a stainless steel, dual-fuel, slide-in Frigidaire range highlighted by a stainless steel backsplash.

The microwave was placed in a sliding custom cabinet that hides it when not in use. "She didn't want to look at it all the time because she cooks a lot," explains Moisan.

The team also installed a remote blower, a side-by-side, cabinet-depth KitchenAid refrigerator and a Kohler sink and faucet.

Transforming this once outdated master bath into an oasis for its owners was no easy task, according to Allen Layson of Constructive Innovations, Inc. in Decatur, GA.

But the firm, with the help of architect Marc B. Mosley of Carlson & Mosley Architects in Atlanta, GA, and interior designer Laura Walker of Atlanta, GA-based Laura Walker Ltd., did just that and garnered first-place honors in category seven, "Residential Bath, More Than $60,000."

Busy professionals and parents, the owners needed a relaxing respite from their hectic schedules, and requested "a space that had a contemporary feel without feeling too modern," says Layson.

With that in mind, Layson and his team began their soothing, monochromatic and slightly Scandinavian bath design by reconfiguring the original master bath, which was located in an attic space just off the master bedroom, over the garage. It consisted of a maze of corridors and under-utilized spaces, relates Layson.

"The chopped-up layout of the original master bath was rethought to take advantage of the space available," he says. "Transition spaces, which were previously hallways, were expanded and transformed into functional areas."

For example, the vanity area featuring a Kohler Caxton undermounted sink and custom cabinetry in quarter-sawn maple from McCurry Cabinets became a transition space to the bathing area, which also leads to the adjacent dressing room.

"Plumbing locations were entirely reworked The tub was located on an axis with an existing dormer located on the opposite wall," says Layson of the placement of the fixtures. "The steam shower and toilet area are now hidden behind the tiled tub wall and are accessed through frameless, sandblasted glass doors with a limestone jamb and head details."
A hidden stacked washer/dryer and recessed storage add function, while a radiant heat system that extends from the floor to the shower bench adds a soothing touch.

Being sensitive to clients' needs is key to any project, but Tim Sweeney, CR and president of Madison, WI-based Sweeney Construction Corp., had to be keenly aware of his clients' chemical sensitivities in the case of this master bath remodel.

While his firm's heightened sensitivity and resulting design captured first-place honors in category six, "Residential Bath, $30,000 to $60,000, " Sweeney explains that "it was our first time running into this situation. The lady of the house had chemical sensitivities, so we had to come up with products that accommodated them."

To that end, "We installed a special, in-line ventilation system with HEPA filters, formaldehyde-free cabinets and a Kohler cast-iron whirlpool tub, used a lot of solid wood and no plywood, and applied formaldehyde-free paint products," relates Sweeney.

However, while the wife's sensitivities were accommodated, beauty was not sacrificed either, notes Sweeney, who collaborated with designer Deb Corning with Madison, WI-based Kitchen Ideas Center on this project.

For instance, he cites the painted cabinetry, marble vanity top and glazed tumbled limestone tiles as elements that recall the home's era of origin, the 1920s.

The next hurdle Sweeney and Corning had to overcome was working within the footprint of an existing, unused bedroom the upscale, empty-nester clients wanted to convert into this master bath.

The room had a front dormer window with a pitched roof line, which could have been a major problem. However, the duo solved it by positioning the whirlpool tub under it and using it to their advantage in the adjacent shower area.

"The roof line was challenging, but we were able to then place the shower seat under the roof line, so the husband, a tall gentleman, could sit down as he showered and avoid bumping his head," notes Sweeney.

A single, 4'-wide vanity with a cast-iron, undermounted sink with a porcelain finish, as well as a toilet, round out this bath.