Award Winners Implement Latest Design Desires
By Anita Shaw
Natural light is a complementary request, as it often helps to open up a space. And, of course, oversized windows and skylights also bring the outside in, giving the home a more natural appeal.
Light colors and natural materials add to the overall look, bringing a relaxed ease to the overall design. Stones, granites, ceramics and woods are prevalent in both rooms, and are often complemented by metals and carved details.
However, looks are only part of the total package. While appliances and fixtures need to blend into and even enhance the overall look, they should also provide state-of-the-art technology. In today's stressful outside world, ease of use and high functionality are paramount in the home.
The added challenge of incorporating all of these requirements into the overall look of the existing home is intense for most designers and contractors, but it is something that they relish. Bringing the whole look together and satisfying the client is the ultimate reward but it is not the only reward.
Following are several kitchen and bath remodels that not only exhibit these design qualities and marry state-of-the-art functionality with high style, but that also garnered first-place honors in Qualified Remodeler magazine's Master Design Awards. Each one incorporates many of today's commonly client-requested amenities.
And, as these winning designs indicate, there are varied ways to
meet client requests, even when those requests are somewhat
similar. Open, airy designs and natural influences blend
beautifully in a variety of styles, all to the delight of
The best baths
Matching a newly added master suite to the existing 1928 Tudor Revival home was the challenge for designers Doug Walter Architects and kd Design Consultants, both located in Denver, CO. Coggeshall Construction, Inc., also of Denver, was the contractor on the project, which placed first in the bath category in the $50,000 and above range.
To make the 850-sq.-ft. master suite look like it was an original part of the 1920s home, the sun-filled room features detailed cabinetry and softly colored stone tiles. Pale colors and old-style lighting add to the overall soft effect of a bygone era. To add to the light, inviting aesthetic, the suite incorporates a large ceiling skylight shaft that takes advantage of the vast attic located above the room. Modern amenities include radiant heat under and behind the tub and shower.
An existing bathroom and screened-in porch were the foundation for the bath redesign that took first-place honors in the category of $30,000 to $50,000. Small Carpenters at Large, located in Atlanta, GA, took the 52 sq. ft. of bath space and combined it with the porch to create a large bath and laundry area that encompasses 125 sq. ft. Per a request for an open space, the existing bath and screen porch were gutted, and the floor and walls were rebuilt. To match the style of the 1930s Craftsman home, classic fixtures, tile and detailing were incorporated into the design. An open cabinet installed above the tub provides added storage.
An open bathroom and an interesting mix of materials to convey a Scandinavian style was the request of another homeowner, and the resulting remodel from McGuire, Hearn & Toms Inc., a contractor in Manakin-Sabot, VA, placed first in the category of baths below $30,000. The small, 66-sq.-ft. room features a combination of mosaic tile, glass and glass-look materials, plastic laminate and metals to give the room its appeal. Natural cork flooring, complemented by the copper tones of the soffit cladding, and other rich tones throughout the room enhance the bath by adding a warm effect.
In the kitchen remodel by CG&S Design-Build in Austin, TX, the homeowners wanted to create a large kitchen that would accommodate more than 100 guests at a time. This first-place award winner in the $75,000 and above category was given dramatic impact by raising the ceiling height from 9 ft. to 21 ft., and adding skylights from Velux and clerestory windows from Kolbe & Kolbe for even more natural light. An intricate lighting fixture that hangs over a large island with seating is a focal point of the room. The existing utility closet became the basis for a new butler's pantry, which was designed to accommodate caterers for events. The room includes fixtures from Kohler, and appliances from Sub-Zero, Thermador and KitchenAid, which blend subtly with the soft color combinations featured throughout the kitchen.
For kitchens ranging from $40,000 to $75,000 for a remodel, Excel Interior Concepts in Lemoyne, PA, placed first for this design in Dillsburg, PA. The room, which was expanded from 913 sq. ft. to 1,086 sq. ft., went from a dark and cramped room to a modern gourmet design that was created for cooking and entertaining. Richly colored woods contrast with stainless steel appliances for an overall warm aesthetic. Dark, gleaming countertops and a diamond-patterned backsplash add to the overall effect.
Excel Interior Concepts removed the interior walls separating the kitchen, living room and dining room, immediately altering the look to make it more open and inviting. Columns and new flush beams were added to replace bearing walls.
Dramatic changes were not possible for the kitchen in the condominium that placed first in the kitchens below $40,000 category, so the kitchen was simply redesigned to maximize the existing space. The Bainbridge Crew in Charlotte, NC, still managed to make a dramatic transformation, according to the award judges, "with a nice use of materials." Lastly, rich, warm colors applied to the cabinets, countertops and walls contrast with a soft, pale-colored stone backsplash to create a dramatic, yet cohesive effect throughout the room.