Industry Awards Cite North American Designers

Industry Awards Cite North American Designers

By John Filippelli

Organized by Bathrooms & Kitchens magazine a leading U.K.-based kitchen and bath publication and strategic partner of Kitchen & Bath Design News the Industry Awards are designed to honor world-class designs and their creators. This year, the winners were cited before hundreds of their peers at the gala awards dinner, held at NEC Hilton Metropole in Birmingham, England in January.

Among those honored this year were industry dealers who were recognized for their marketing, showroom and retailing efforts. In fact, with some 13 categories featured, the awards program reflects "the increasing importance of design as well as retailing excellence," according to Bathrooms + Kitchens' editor and chairman of the judges, Phillippa Turrell.
Said Turrell, "The standard of entries for the 2004 awards was extremely high, and the winners have made a huge achievement. The Bathrooms + Kitchens magazine Industry Awards presentation was an enormous success, both in honoring our industry's finest and in providing a successful social event for the sector's hard-working members."

Judging criteria
For the North American sector of the Anglo-American Design Awards, this year's judging panel featured a team of U.S. judges, including Kitchen & Bath Design News editor Janice Costa and designer Alan Asarnow, CKD, CBD, CR of Ridgewood, NJ-based Ulrich, Inc.

The American and Canadian winners for the bathroom and kitchen categories were then flown to the gala ceremony in Birmingham, where their projects were judged in the international finals against the winners for each of the other countries represented.

Judging for the U.K. and Irish winners took place at the end of last year in England, with the overall winner of the Anglo-American design awards named at the Birmingham awards ceremony.

Projects were judged based on a variety of criteria, including safety of use and efficiency of the working area, overall presentation of the project (including floor plans, elevations and photos) and the contribution added by the
designer's skill.

Kitchen classic
Faced with the challenge of a solid concrete ceiling in a condominium with strict building regulations, David Courtney, CKD and company director for Pickering, Ontario, Canada-based Kitchen Court, knew that he would not be allowed to move the doorways or walls; but, he could move mountains.

As a result, Courtney earned finalist honors in the International Kitchen Designer of the Year.

As Courtney notes, the kitchen had poor lighting and a floor that needed replacement. To meet these challenges, he decided to relocate the appliances and install a lighter wood floor and a sleek lighting system to create a suitable space for the clients both of whom are avid cooks.

He explains, "Due to the concrete ceiling, the overhead lighting was very limited. The existing floor was old, water-damaged wood badly in need of replacing. Additionally, the clients were adamant that we remove the table from the kitchen and replace it with a small place for the husband to enjoy a glass of wine while meals are being prepared."
As Courtney describes, it was this request that opened up the entire design.

"Removing the table gave me new-found space to relocate the appliances and make the design flow better," he offers.
In terms of lighting, Courtney states, "Having no windows in the kitchen made the lighting very important. A sleek European track light plus mirrored backs inside the glass door cabinets complete with low-voltage halogen lights help reflect the light out into the room."

He continues, "This kitchen is very unique in a lot of ways, as evidenced by the custom-made crack and sandblasted glass backsplash, pre-drilled to accept the European stainless steel utensils and accessories. This is accented by the 1-1/2"-thick aqua glass eating bar and custom 1/2" glass open shelves."

In terms of safety, Courtney connected a new fan to the ductwork, as well as installed ground fault circuit interrupters, which brought the kitchen up to electrical code. As he notes, the existing exhaust fan was not connected to the duct system, which allowed grease into the cabinet above and created a fire hazard.

"The installation of a bracket to hold a small fire extinguisher in the sink cabinet, as well as the smoke detector installed on the ceiling, gives my client peace of mind," he points out.

Courtney concludes, "With plenty of counter space on both sides of the sink and cooktop, this design exceeds NKBA standards. The work triangle, upper cabinet storage and base cabinets with drawers all comply with NKBA regulations."

Oh so suite
For Robin Siegerman, owner of Sieguzi Interior Designs, Inc. based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, becoming a finalist for International Bathroom Designer of the Year was just a matter of space management.

Faced with a small ensuite that was adjacent to an overly large bedroom, Siegerman created a new ensuite bathroom that allowed more room for the clients.

Siegerman notes that the closet and ensuite had three competing door swings and all three small rooms were poorly lit and missing natural daylight, creating a gloomy appearance.

"The solution was to reconfigure all of the spaces," she offers, noting that she merged the existing walk-in closet, toilet and shower room and sink area into one ensuite while also adding a skylight.

"I used 4.5 feet of the length of the bedroom across the entire width for a well-organized walk-in closet. Also, on the bedroom side of the closet wall, I designed classically styled, 18"-deep built-in cabinetry for additional storage to hold folded clothing and decorative items on the open shelves," she continues. In fact, she notes that by doing this, some 13 linear feet of bedroom storage space was created.

"The cabinetry is all hand-painted, lending credence to the suggestion of furniture rather than built-ins. Travertine with black accents on the ensuite floor and limestone for the countertop provides a calm elegance and sophistication," she explains.

But, the design also contained unforeseeable challenges, Siegerman points out.

"One of the biggest challenges was the gable roof in the bedroom, which continued into the ensuite area with a slope starting at 71" above the finished floor. This produced a dilemma when designing the double vanity and mirrors. Since the overriding style desired by the clients in the house was classical, it was difficult to reconcile with the resulting unfortunate angle of a sloping ceiling," she says.

Therefore, Siegerman settled on a classical pediment over the vanity mirrors, which incorporates the ceiling slope.
"Since the top left-hand corner of the left vanity mirror was cut off to accommodate the roof angle, the pediment helps the eye move upward and not dwell on the awkward corner," she describes.

Safety was also a main concern of the space, Siegerman notes.

For instance, she installed a pocket door between the ensuite and bedroom a technique that would ensure that the swing door to the water closet would not interfere with the door to the bedroom, or injure any of the small children in the home. "I wanted to minimize the possibility of little fingers getting caught between competing doors," she says.

The glass stem shower door swings in and out of the stall, as well, which also enhanced the safety of the design. "If someone should take ill in the shower and fall, a rescuer would still be able to open the door to administer aid," she explains.

Subtle elements, such as the tub wall panels and sculpted valance with matching crown, add a strong complement to the classical aesthetic of the vanity cabinets. For added convenience, a matching built-in bench with a hinged seat beside the tub conceals a laundry chute through the new mudroom to the main floor and into the laundry room.

Just beachy
As finalists in the International Bathroom Designer of the Year category, Cyndi Stever and Shelley Anderson of Seattle, WA-based Voute Design Group, Inc. wanted to help their clients "get away."

The designers were asked to create a beach retreat with an adequately sized bathroom, one that was also suitable in a more formal residence, with enough space for entertaining guests.

"We wanted to make the view the focal point, so we located the window toward the [Puget Sound]. We designed an oversized frameless shower and mirrored above the vanity, which brought the view into the entire bathroom," Stever notes.

"In this room, the view truly becomes an extension of the master bath. Therefore, we did not choose to add any window treatment to disrupt the feel," she offers.

Stever continues, "We kept the design very simple and tailored. Our design goal was to create a space that could accommodate any direction the client wished to go. Also, the client travels a lot, and did not want to spend time cleaning the house for guests or weekend stays. As a result, we selected natural materials that would withstand a lot of abuse."
Cabinetry was also essential, Stever notes, as it needed to allot enough storage for a possible permanent residence. Therefore, the pair selected rip sawn white oak because "it offered a very straight grain and is [easily manipulated] to stain the stain color."

Complementing the design is the flooring, which features a combination of maple, concrete, slate and commercial broadloom all with sub-floor heating.

The shower floor itself is covered with sliced stones, as is the accent wall border, adding warmth to the space. The pair also installed honed olive limestone countertops that mimic natural colors.

Stever concludes, "We like the idea of using natural materials in the bathroom. We think that especially in smaller bathrooms there's something very intimate about co-existing and bathing in an environment surrounded by nature."

On the road
The competition also awards two "travelling scholarships." Called the "Young Kitchen and Bathroom Designers Awards," these scholarships are presented to two designers under the age of 30, who receive an all-expense-paid trip to the U.S, where they have the opportunity to work with a renowned American kitchen and bath designer to further their skills and broaden their design perspectives.

Jonathon Woodcock, winner of the Young Designers Award for Kitchens, and Gary Clegg, winner of the Young Designers Award for Baths, were this year's recipients.

The judging panel for the travelling scholarships included representatives from the Conran Design Group, the Chartered Institute of Marketing, Independent Bathrooms Specialists' Association, Richard Rogers Partnership, Conran & Partners and Studio Levien.