NKBA 2003 Design competition: Best Overall Design

NKBA 2003 Design competition:
Best Overall Design


"The client wanted a kitchen that was an absolute showpiece but it had to work, because she cooks challah bread every Friday," explains McFadden, president of Past Basket Cabinetry, in Geneva, IL. "However, she also wanted high style. It had to be contemporary and yet feel warm an organic contemporary feeling."

Additionally, the kitchen had to include completely separate storage for two sets of dishes to accommodate the family's Kosher beliefs. "It does provide for a unique challenge, but the obstacle of having to duplicate didn't make one bit of difference in terms of the aesthetic value of the kitchen," insists McFadden.

In fact, it was McFadden's ability to meet a wide array of functional challenges without compromising the stunning aesthetics of the design that earned him top honors in the 2003 National Kitchen & Bath Association Design Competition, as well as first-place honors in the Design Competition's Category 4 Open Plan Kitchens.

The kitchen, which won the James H. Foster, Jr., CKD, Memorial Award for Best Overall Design, immediately draws the eye with a circular motif that is repeated throughout the room, culminating in a dramatic centerpiece a skylight with a spectacular halo lighting effect above the black honed granite island.

"[The circular island] was the original concept I had for the kitchen, the pivotal point," McFadden explains. "The island is the preparation area. The architect and interior designer collaborated in making that even more of a feature by designing a circular skylight that halos the island. Then they went one step further and designed a custom chrome circular lighting fixture."

While the stunning skylight and light fixture are among the first things one notices upon entering the room, the kitchen takes function as seriously as it takes fashion, not only making a great design statement, but also making good, common sense in terms of everyday use.

For instance, to address the homeowner's Kosher cooking needs, the designers selected cabinets with sliding glass doors by Quality Custom Cabinetry. "[The cabinetry] has a center divider that keeps the dishes completely separate from one another," McFadden explains. "That was a really nice solution that would work in a non-Kosher kitchen, too."

The Miele dishwasher also had to be raised up a foot off the floor to accommodate the homeowner's back problem. "That was another little challenge it interrupts the counter space directly adjacent to the sink," McFadden notes. "But, we made the dishwasher seem like its own component." The raised appliance is conveniently located directly across from the tall sliding glass door cabinet that houses the client's glassware, place settings and serving pieces. It was then cleverly concealed to appear as if it is a 45" high drawer base adorned with its own pilasters.

A five-foot-wide polished green granite baking center also added function to this busy kitchen. "It's lower than normal countertop height good for kneading dough," says McFadden.

Functional shelves were placed above the granite counter to hold the microwave and other small appliances. When not being used, a sleek, commercial- grade, stainless steel, rolling tambour conceals it all.

"Typically, 'tambour' is sort of a dirty word in upscale kitchen design because they're little wood slats and they look outdated," admits McFadden. "But, in this application, it's a [metal] product that fits the overall design."

The design also includes two Sub-Zero refrigerators that are opposing each other. "One refrigerator is on the wall with the clean-up sink," notes McFadden. "That wall has a plate rack above the sink and is sort of unfitted and wouldn't look as good if it didn't have a completely integrated refrigerator."

Rich, deep cherry, natural maple and stainless steel are intermixed throughout the space to provide contemporary sophistication.
The center section of the island is raised, and includes a custom-designed maple knife block whose shaped profile acts as a graceful transition between the upper and lower counter sections.

Hardwood flooring; a GE microwave; a DACOR cooktop, oven and warming drawer; custom-fabricated vent hood, combined with Universal Metals ventilation, and fixture and fittings by Barber Wilson & Franke complete this spectacular design, a collaboration between McFadden and Larson; architect, Mike Collman, Wexler/ Collman Architects; builders John and Rich Harty, John G. Harty Ltd., and interior designer, Tony Stavish, A.W. Stavish Designs.

McFadden concludes, "This was a very nice collaborative effort where each person who had a design influence really contributed to their area."