There’s just something about the space that draws people in. We partnered with Robert F. Henry Tile Company to spotlight this favorite room with a kitchen contest. Entries came in from across the city and beyond, and you—our readers—had the final vote. And while these kitchens may differ in design, they all serve as the all-important heart of the home.
Get ready to tour these winning spaces and find some inspiration for your own kitchen. From colorful to rustic to rancher, these rooms are full of substance and style.
Dark Knight – 1st Place
Designer Nicole Roby refashioned a kitchen for a client’s childhood home on Lake Guntersville to bright it up to date for the next generation.
You really can go home again. This client returned to her Nicole Roby. “And she asked for saturated colors but childhood home, a 1992 Georgian, with the caveat that still wanted the kitchen to feel light and airy. We took she would keep the memories but update the interiors for inspirations from the handsome tones in the original her family. “She wanted rich enhancements that coincided mahogany floors and cherry finishes throughout.” with the original structure of the home,” says designer Cabinets are painted Black Fox (Sherwin-Williams) to add drama and depth. For contrast, Nicole introduced Cristallo quartzite countertops on perimeter surfaces, as well as on the two islands. And to bring in some shine, she incorporated brass hardware from Brandino Brass and a pair of matching lanterns from Ferguson Bath, Kitchen, and Lighting Gallery above the center island. Color palette aside, perhaps the most dramatic introduction is the La Cornue range and hood. “The custom range with the brass finish looks like a piece of armor,” says Nicole. “It actually inspired the name of the kitchen, ‘Dark Knight.’”
TIP: Two islands allow room for everyone to enjoy the space. Devote one to the chef and use the second as a serving bar or casual dining spot.
“The goal for this project was to optimize the kitchen area for entertaining and, most importantly, make it a place where the family could congregate and spend special moments.”—DESIGNER NICOLE ROBY
It takes two. To create distinction between the two islands yet maintain
a consistent use of materials, Nicole created a waterfall effect with Cristallo quartzite on the inner island.
Twist on tradition. Subway tile
is a perennial favorite for a timeless look. Nicole broke up the traditional, horizontal installation with a chevron- patterned inset behind the range.
Color cues: The caramel veining on the countertops cues the warm wood hues on the home’s floors and trim, helping bridge the new design with existing architectural features.
RESOURCES: Interior designer: Nicole Roby Designs – https://www.nicolerobydesigns.com/ – IG: @nicolerobydesigns
Builder: Venable Custom Home Construction Hardware: Brandino Brass – https://www.brandinobrass.com/ – IG: @brandinobrass
Countertops: Cottage Supply Downtown – https://cottagesupplycompany.com/ – IG: @cottagesupplycompany
Fixtures: Ferguson Bath, Kitchen, and Lighting Gallery – https://www.build.com/showroom – IG: @buildwithferguson
Cabinets: Covenant Cabinets
Shady Lane – 2nd Place
A new kitchen adds another chapter to a historic barn-turned-home located at Shady Lane, an events venue in Bessemer, Alabama.
Retrofitting a new kitchen into a historic barn is no easy task, but it offers an inspiring jumping-off point for design. As the primary home for Linda and Michael Adler, owners of wedding and events venue The Barn at Shady Lane, the barn- turned-home is one of two structures located on a picturesque swath of farmland near Ross Bridge.
When establishing their new home and business, the Adlers focused on the event barn first—a glammed-up rustic structure that can accommodate parties of up to 300 people. Once that was complete, they turned to their own home. Of top importance—a new kitchen.
Working with Ivy Schuster of Hatcher Schuster Interiors, the couple saw their ideas and concepts begin to flow. “We all wanted the kitchen to have a collected feel to look like something that evolved over time,” says Ivy. “We also knew the room was dictated by the linear design of the space, so we had to carefully determine what felt right for the island and the area around it.”
With the perimeters set, Ivy and the Adlers focused their attention on function and style. “I felt like the kitchen could have a more modern design that would create a nice contrast with the rustic nature of the barn,” says Ivy. “I also wanted the space to be a reflection of Linda and Michael, who value handcrafted materials, time with family, and their own unique style.”
Standout appointments include the island’s handmade wood countertop from Evolutia and the handmade tile from Cle Tile on the wall. Custom cabinets by Kitchen Potential were painted in shades of gray to contrast the rustic wood of the barn while also adding dimension and interest. New cable lighting adds a contemporary vibe while the large pendants are more in keeping with the barn aesthetic—all part of the unique balance that seems to check every box on the Adlers’ wish list.
TIP: Tie in to existing finishes with complementary colors and a mix of materials. Countertops are stone, while the island features wood. Select cabinets are painted gray to reflect the hues in the concrete floors and the natural tones in the wood ceiling and beams.
“This kitchen embraces the historic envelope of the barn while providing a modern, clean aesthetic in the new elements that were layered in. It’s timeless, clean, and simple with an overall unique composition.”—DESIGNER IVY SCHUSTER
RESOURCES: Interior design: Ivy Schuster, Hatcher Schuster Interiors – https://www.hsinteriordesign.com/ –
IG: @hatcher_schuster_interiors Builder: David Peeks Cabinets: Kitchen Potential, Inc. – https://www.kitchenpotential.com/ –
IG: @kitchenpotential Paint colors: Sherwin-Williams (island: Iron Ore; glass cabinet: Agreeable Gray) Hardware: Top Knobs Hardware Appliances: Sub-Zero through AllSouth Appliance Group Stone countertops: Surface One Island countertop: Evolutia – https://evolutiamade.com/ – IG: @evolutiamade
Refined Rancher – 3rd Place
Designer Katrina Porter upped the style quotient in this ranch home, bringing modern midcentury style to the forefront, along with stylish appointments and conveniences.
Wood finishes on cabinets are making a comeback in a big way, but today’s look is fresh and modern, unlike the flimsy, orange-tinged, lacquered cabinets original to many 1960s ranch homes. For clients Jeannie and Mark Hoffman, designer Katrina Porter stepped in to transform a cramped, U-shaped kitchen into a streamlined, open, airy space that defies its dated finishes. “My projects begin with layout, space planning, conceptualizing how the space will be used, and figuring out the best location of appliances for both function and focal points,” Katrina says.
With plans in place to open up the space and realign task areas, as well as to add some much-needed storage, Katrina turned her focus to aesthetics. Jeannie was interested in a light-oak finish for the cabinets, so Katrina brought in Village Woodworks for the project. The resulting rift cut white oak cabinets offer clean lines that are complemented by the honed Porcini marble backsplash—something that Katrina calls nature’s art. “The marble slab has a greenish, blue/teal veining,” she says. “It adds color in a subtle way.” This defining detail stands as a focal point, neatly framed by the range surround. “It’s the first thing you see when you step into the kitchen,” says Katrina.
TIP: The ceiling-mount hood from Wolf can be mounted higher than a typical ventilation system. Tucked up and out of view, this necessary appliance takes a step back to let the Porcini slab shine.
In Good Order
This kitchen gets its clean, crisp look thanks to streamlined cabinets and cleverly concealed storage and appliances. Here are the features you don’t see:
Roll-out Pantry: No one likes to dig deep into the recesses of a pantry for dry goods or dishes. A roll-out system keeps everything at the forefront.
Task Stations: A charging station for phones and devices resides in a drawer beneath the coffee maker. Other drawers feature custom peg systems to keep plates and bowls in place. Another cabinet fits a vacuum. It opens to the floor and accommodates an outlet for quick cleanup.
Hidden Appliances: The refrigerator and freezer blend seamlessly with the rest of the kitchen thanks to custom cabinet fronts. Counter appliances such as the coffee maker and microwave are hidden behind a retractable cabinet door adjacent to the sink.
RESOURCES: Interior design: Katrina Porter, Katrina Porter Designs – https://www.katrinaporterdesigns.com/ –
IG: @katrinaporterdesigns Builder: BECA Residential – https://www.becaresidential.com/ Cabinets: Village Woodworks
Hardware: Schaub pulls in White Bronze from Brandino Brass – https://www.brandinobrass.com/ – IG: @brandinobrass
Appliances: AllSouth Appliance Group – https://myallsouth.com/ – IG: @allsouthapp Bianco Rhino Honed Marble countertops and Porcini marble backsplash: Triton Stone Group – https://tritonstone.com/ – IG: @tritonstonegroup and Alabama Stone Works –
FB: Alabama Stone Works,Inc. – IG: @alabamastoneworks Plumbing: Waterstone faucet purchased through Ferguson – https://www.build.com/showroom – IG: @buildwithferguson
Azure Kitchen – Editors’ Choice
A kitchen renovation combines a vibrant blue-and-white palette with classic appointments.
A traditional white kitchen is certainly a safe choice when To help the couple meet in the middle, Heather opted forit comes to design, but infuse it with a bit of blue and some cabinets with custom beaded inset recessed panels—a design whimsy, and it goes from ordinary to outstanding. When with just-enough trim and furniture detailing to give a nod to designer Heather Steen of Steenhaus stepped in to renovate this conventional style. Brittney then had her say with the punch of kitchen for homeowners Brittney and Richard Calhoun, she blue on the island and the dramatic tiled wall (Eastern Promise immediately knew there would be some give and take. from Ann Sacks). “I convinced the couple to not only tile the “The homeowners are the definition of ‘opposites attract,’ ” says Heather. “Richard tends towards safer choices, but Brittney loves color and is willing to take risks.”
To help the couple meet in the middle, Heather opted for cabinets with custom beaded inset recessed panels—a design whimsy, and it goes from ordinary to outstanding. When with just-enough trim and furniture detailing to give a nod to designer Heather Steen of Steenhaus stepped in to renovate this conventional style. Brittney then had her say with the punch of kitchen for homeowners Brittney and Richard Calhoun, she blue on the island and the dramatic tiled wall (Eastern Promise immediately knew there would be some give and take. from Ann Sacks). “I convinced the couple to not only tile the whole wall but also wrap it around the window to meet the cabinetry,” Heather says. “The space is a marriage of what both Richard and Brittney love.”
“The risk of placing a bold tile and color in the kitchen paid dividends. It’s a powerful yet elegant backdrop for creating family memories.”—HEATHER STEEN, DESIGNER
RESOURCES: Interior design: Heather Steen, Steenhaus – http://www.steenhaus.studio/ – IG: @steenhaus
Cabinets and hardware: Grace Fabrications – http://gracefabrications.com/ – IG: @gracefabricationsllc Appliances: Cohens – https://www.thinkcohens.com/index.html Countertops, tile, and lighting: Fixtures & Finishes – https://fixturesandfinishes.com/ –
See the rest of the Fresh Kitchen Contest 2022 participants here