Our contest challenged designers to remodel the functional but dated kitchen of a 1960s split-level house. Entrants had the option of transforming the space within three categories: remaining within the existing footprint; borrowing space from an adjacent room; or incorporating an addition on the back of the house. Our three kitchen experts judged on the innovative use of space, the strength of the design ideas, appropriateness of materials, and smart use of budget.
Keith Hudson, partner, Montgomery Kamp;B, Gaithersburg, Md., www.mkitchen.com
Paul Maxim, kitchen and bathroom designer, Case Design/Remodeling, Bethesda, Md., www.casedesign.com
Mary Jo Peterson, president, Mary Jo Peterson Inc., Brookfield, Conn., www.mjpdesign.com
Category B: Using adjacent space
Category B: Using adjacent space
Brenda Bryan, CKD
Blackdog K&B, Salem, N.H.
Brenda Bryan created a more practical layout by incorporating the adjacent dining room, but she also added art and drama to the project with materials and details. The judges said she offered a complete package that addressed design, layout, color, materials, and products. Once she removed the wall between the kitchen and dining room, she treated the open room as a single space.
The judges especially liked how she balanced the kitchen cabinets with a wall of cabinets in the dining room. "It unified the room," one judge said. Bryan's design offers space for a dining table as well as seating at the island. Minimal cabinets give the room an open feel. She also used a combination of windows, a sliding glass door, and a lighting scheme to provide ambient, natural, and task lighting.
Bryan added a dramatic touch to the angled range and hood section using amber and red inlaid tiles that blend with the warm colors of the rest of the room. In the curved cabinet facing the dining room, she included universal design storage for dishes and glasses.
- To create a space that's contemporary but not cold, Bryan added curves and colors -- including this inlaid tile backsplash.
- Per the homeowner's wish list, Bryan provided seating at the island that does not block cooking pathways.
By closing off the original kitchen door, Bryan was able to move the sink under a window that faces the new deck. Click here to view a PDF of Bryan's entry.
Budget Foundation and site work $750 Framing $3,472 Roofing, siding, exterior finish $1,250 Windows, doors $3,300 Drywall, flooring, interior finish $9,715 Electrical, mechanical, plumbing $4,948 Cabinets, counters, hardware $32,449 Sinks, appliances $7,200 Total $63,084
Category A: Using existing space onlyGeleta Fenton
Independent designer Geleta Fenton worked within the existing footprint of the kitchen. The judges called her Japanese-theme design "creative" and "visually striking." Her design included shoji screen sliding pantry doors, bird's-eye maple cabinetry, and a mirrored backsplash.
Fenton also added an island to the existing L-shaped kitchen for additional counter space and to hold the range. She moved the sink into angled cabinets in the corner of the room and flanked it with pull-out spice drawers. Her lighting plan uses a combination of recessed fixtures, down lights over the sink and island, and high-intensity track lights. A curved, floating soffit holds additional down lights.
The designer works primarily with Dovetail Kitchen in Portsmouth.
Budget Framing $1,100 Roofing, siding, exterior finish $200 Windows, doors $1,200 Drywall, flooring, interior finish $7,400 Electrical, mechanical, plumbing $7,100 Cabinets, counters, hardware $22,200 Sinks, appliances $8,000 Total $47,200
- Roman shades on the window and door block sunlight as needed.
- The designer placed a double-bowl sink in the corner with dishwasher drawers on the left side.
- Fenton chose a mirrored backsplash to add interest and provide a contrast to the maple cabinetry.
- In keeping with the Japanese theme, Fenton used sliding shoji screens for the pantry doors.
- Fenton included 20-inch, user-friendly landings on both sides of the range.
Fenton also included two spice pull-out drawers within easy reach across the aisle, by the sink Click here to view a PDF of Fenton's entry.
Category C: Incorporating an Addition
Doug Walter Architects
By adding a small, 60-square-foot addition, architect Doug Walter created a space that really works. The judges said his bump-out added an abundance of natural light, with windows on three sides and a bank of skylights. The vaulted ceiling of the addition also received the judges' approval. "It added the missing architectural detail," one judge said.
The design gives the homeowners 10 additional feet of much needed counter space and a practical work triangle. The cozy breakfast booth in the corner adds seating without interrupting the working area. The design maintains a formal dining room. In fact, the judges said having a new, centered entry makes the space feel grand.
Budget Low High Addition framing $11,875 $13,750 Existing construction $14,749 $17,078 Cabinets $14,175 $18,900 Countertops $860 $4,300 Deck, courtyard $3,250 $4,550 Appliances $7,000 $12,000 Total $51,909 $70,578
Points for Presentation
Architect Doug Walter and his staff treat the kitchen as they would any potential project. They offer their clients a series of quick sketches that show all the options for the remodel. This allows the clients to make an educated choice for the option that best suits them.
One judge said a remodeling customer couldn't walk away from a presentation like this without hiring the firm. They agreed that the options also allow clients to pick and choose details from the different plans and create a more customized project. Here are the other entries Walter's company would have used to make an actual presentation.