Irvine, CA — While designers are known for bringing passion and a personal touch to their creations, it doesn’t get much more personal than how they envision their own private kitchens. That was evident in the grand prize winners of Thermador’s annual Kitchen Design Challenge – which happened to be the personal kitchens of the winning designers.
The contest was conducted with the help of interior designer and HGTV personality Candice Olson, and all eight regional contest finalists were on hand when the luxury appliance brand made the announcement of the winners at its showroom in Irvine, CA in late September.
Tamie Glass and husband Ulrich Dangel, of Glass & Dangel, in Austin, TX, were awarded the grand prize in the contemporary/modern category. Their Ledge Mountain residence features full overlay cabinetry that provides a natural fit for the Thermador Masterpiece Series appliances while supporting the goal of incorporating a sleek and integrated appearance without sacrificing function and innovation.
Morgan Keister, of Morgan Kofron, in Paradise Valley, AZ, was awarded the grand prize in the traditional/transitional category. Her design achieved the goal of creating an energetic center of the home.
“These are some of the brightest kitchen design professionals in the business, and seeing the amazing results from utilizing Thermador luxury appliances is incredibly inspiring,” says Zach Elkin, director, brand marketing of Thermador. “These designers know what culinary enthusiasts need and have created stunning, yet functional hubs of the home that beautifully showcase Thermador’s capabilities in the American kitchen.”
Runner-up winners included Jennifer Rowe, Kitchens, Etc., Santa Rose Beach, FL, in the traditional/transitional category; and Derek Byler, Heart of the Home Kitchens, Hershey, PA, in the contemporary/modern category.
Other regional winners included: Jeff Brown, J.S. Brown & Co., Columbus, OH; Aimee Nemeckay, Susan Fredman Design Group, Chicago, IL; Jamie Nicholas, Jamie Florence Designs, Reading, MA, and Justin Parker, Prestige Mouldings & Construction, Inc., San Juan Capistrano, CA (distributor).
Function + Aesthetics
For grand prize winners Tamie Glass, Ulrich Dangel and Morgan Keister, design took on a unique twist when the competition turned to their own kitchens.
For Glass and Dangel, the modern/contemporary kitchen is part of their circa 1979 home in Austin. For the interior designer and architect, function and aesthetics were at the heart of the space’s transformation.
To enhance function, the duo focused on creating a space that could easily accommodate two cooks working side-by-side without bumping into each other in the compact footprint. To accomplish that goal, they created two distinct zones: one with a prep sink and a built-in Thermador bottom-freezer refrigerator and induction cooktop; the second with another sink and adequate countertop space for prep and/or cleanup at the sidebar. “We paid a lot of attention to the flow and process of cooking a meal and how two people could do that together,” says Glass.
They also wanted to capture the breakfast nook area, which in the previous layout was distinctly separate from the kitchen. “We realized before we did the renovation that we spent all of our time in the breakfast area, so we wanted to join it with the kitchen, together in one space,” she says.
Efficient storage played a role in functionality as well, so the couple carved out a niche area behind the refrigerator and oven, accessed on each side of the appliance “block.” The symmetrical spaces include a small countertop with drawer storage below and a tambour door above to conceal small appliances, drinks and other miscellaneous items.
The duo also included a vertical slide-out pantry between the refrigerator and ovens for dry goods and cooking supplies. “We were concerned initially that storage might be too restrictive,” she says. “But we only keep items we need. With the pullout, we can access everything and it feels pretty functional.”