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  • Writer's pictureColin Stayton

6 Features of an Award-Winning Kitchen

What makes an award-winning kitchen? Bluebell Kitchens’ senior project designer Lori Kurnitsky has a pretty good idea, after her design above garnered 1st place in the regional round of the 2019-2021 Sub-Zero Wolf Kitchen Design Contest.

“The homeowners wanted to update the kitchen to match the feel of the rest of the recently renovated home, and to adjust the layout to fit how they used their kitchen,” says Lori. “The design worked beautifully in the existing space, the whole process ran smoothly, and best of all, they loved what we offered.”

With an exemplary kitchen to her credit, Lori names 6 features of an award-winning kitchen design:

1. Beauty & Utility

A practical kitchen works with the homeowner, but it can still be a stunning amalgam of special features, great appliances, gorgeous finishes. Neither form nor function should override the other.

2. Let it Flow

Designated activity zones make the most out of how you use your kitchen and create a good flow between tasks and human traffic. An unused butler’s pantry becomes the perfect coffee bar, away from busy work areas. Refrigerator, freezer drawers, sink, chopping block and cooktop are within two steps of the island’s assigned food prep zone.

3. One Terrific Feature

If you have an architectural feature that is spectacular, play it up. A tall, arched window reaches into the vaulted ceiling and makes a beautiful statement that astounds everyone who enters. Framed by two tall cabinets that hold dishware, it’s fronted by the clean-up zone’s sink and counter and turns a post-dinner chore into a reward.

4. Light & Karma

Natural light impacts how we feel about a room, which lighting technology can only aspire to do. With trends taking us away from traditional upper cabinets, we’re given space to install more windows in our kitchens. “The light through this amazing window gives the whole kitchen good karma,” Lori claims.

5. Point-of-use Appliances

Rather than the standard foursome of oven, cooktop, refrigeration and dishwasher, choose specialized components that are your workhorses and install them where it’s most convenient. All appliances for the awarded project came from Sub-Zero, Wolf and Cove: refrigerator drawers for the coffee bar, freezer drawers and microwave for the island, a full refrigerator next to the cooktop, the dishwasher in the clean-up area and oven, steam oven and warming drawer set away from the busier culinary zones.

6. Be Bold

Lori really loves the dramatic Bajkal Crystal Quartzite countertop. “It’s a light stone with black running through it, and it pulled all the finishes together, including the backsplash tile, black-painted cabinetry and oiled white oak cabinetry.”

The owners of this magnificent kitchen are longtime clients of Michele Plachter Design, a frequent Bluebell Fine Cabinetry & Design partner who brought us in to do our part of a full-house renovation. Michele’s choices influenced the room’s colors, finishes and accessories, including the spectacular tile wall behind the cooktop.

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