The 2008 Remodeling Design Awards drew a record-setting 340 entries in its 24th annual competition. The program resulted in 21 awards across nice categories: 1 Best of the Year, 8 Grand, 11 Merit and 1 Honorable Mention.
Purchased in a foreclosure, this once-glorious stick-style Carpenter Gothic Victorian home presented more than the usual challenges, including its most recent use as a three-apartment tenement house. This phase of its renovation focused on the 225-square-foot kitchen, which was not the heart of the home but “the left elbow,” says designer Lisa Wilson-Wirth.
For instance, besides having three doorways and full-height windows on two walls, the kitchen was (and is) the sole access point to the floors above and below. The 7-foot 10-inch ceilings were problematic for the 6-foot tall owners, who love to cook and entertain. Complicating matters, the kitchen’s petite footprint could not change.
In this gut remodel, Wilson-Wirth and contractor Tom Nardini accomplished what the judges called a “skillful insertion of the unexpected.” Instead of a kitchen triangle, there are four work zones – wet work, storage, cooking, and dining – to accommodate multiple cooks. A 36-inch high peninsula table creates a second work counter, and sliding door pantries, a roll-up appliance garage, and a pull-out breakfast bar limit obstructions.
Judges also admired the “cool juxtaposition of materials” and “bold use of color,” including reflective products that enhance a sense of expansiveness.