Best Kitchen $150,000-$225,000

by Autumn McGarr



Easy Living

Mike Brown and Aileen Salva Brown, Co-Designer, Paragon Kitchens
Guelph, Ontario, Canada


Bringing the design of this 1960s traditional colonial home into the present was a challenge for Mike Brown and co-designer Aileen Salva Brown of Paragon Kitchens, one that required flipping spaces, removing walls and redirecting the main staircase. Designed to be more conducive to the young family now living there, rooms were opened up, Universal Design elements were incorporated and smart features were added to provide both function and style. Moving the kitchen from its original location to the living/dining room yielded more space to create the right layout, while at the same time providing access to a back patio for barbecuing and outdoor entertaining.

The designers used family-friendly finishes throughout, including modern engineered cabinets from Miralis with Full Access Contemporary Slab doors and aluminum c-channel hardware for a handleless look and easy access. The Black Lace finish on the lowers and island are FENIX Nanotech, which is scratch- and stain-resistant and has thermal healing properties, ideal for a young family. Sonoma Oak uppers are an engineered material in a high-gloss finish, providing a striking contrast to the dark matte cabinets.

Cambria quartz Brittanicca in a matte finish is used throughout the space, including as a dramatic full-height backsplash along the wall. On the island, a 2″ mitered edge provides a solid look, while a ¾”-thin look on the perimeter highlights the c-channel of the cabinets.

The island includes a 4′-wide Galley Workstation with Graphite Wood accessories, teamed up with a Galley Tap and soap dispenser in brushed stainless steel and Gaggenau dishwasher. Drawer storage abounds here, providing easy access for all members of the household.

The back wall includes additional drawer storage, as well as open shelving under the top cabinetry, offering a place to display both functional and decorative items. A cooktop paired with a Gaggenau hood is featured here, as well as a Gaggenau wall oven, steam oven and warming drawer, placed at accessible height.

An adjacent window wall includes paneled refrigerator and freezer columns, also from Gagganau, along with a prep sink and faucet. Around the turn, a bar area includes a Gaggenau espresso/coffee machine, which provides fast and easy access for grabbing coffee on the go.




Natural Influences

Xiomara Munoz Greif, ODP Architecture & Design, Hollywood, FL


The design of this new home is all about minimalism and blurring the lines between outdoors and indoors. In fact, the floor plan of this ultra-modern house weaves around existing live oak trees, allowing all the interior rooms to open to courtyards and exterior spaces.

The minimalist aesthetic extends into the 600-sq.-ft. kitchen of this South Miami, FL home, designed by Xiomara Munoz Greif of ODP Architecture & Design. The family of four wanted a space with plenty of natural light and views to the other interior and exterior rooms, as well as a room that would act as the home’s nucleus for family bonding and large gatherings. High-end appliances and sleek cabinetry with clever storage were also among the clients’ must-haves.

Greif began with full-height SieMatic cabinetry in Matte Lotus White perpendicular to the island to hide appliances and storage. Only the Wolf steam oven/microwave drawer is visible. To the left, a set of touch-latch doors hide the working area that serves as the family’s command center, with cookbook storage and basic supplies. To the right, a full-height Sub-Zero refrigerator and separate full-height freezer disappear behind the white panels.

A warm frame of walnut wood allows the back counter and corresponding white upper cabinets to levitate, according to the designer, creating a central spine that anchors the 48″ Wolf range and hood. Flat-panel cabinet doors to the right create additional storage to hide appliances, and include pull-out drawers that house silverware and cooking gadgets.

The clients did not want a separate breakfast table, opting instead for dining at the island for less formal meals. Therefore, the island was extended to serve as an eating area and kitchen work space. The main portion of the island is topped with Istria engineered stone from Opustone, with a small eating area featuring a wooden insert. Included in the island is the Urban Edge sink from Julien, paired with a Blanco Culina faucet and Miele dishwasher.




Luxury Farmhouse

Bonnie Bagley Catlin, Signature Designs Kitchen & Bath, Carlsbad, CA


While this homeowner loved her new house, her dated kitchen left her longing for more. She presented Bonnie Bagley Catlin of Signature Designs Kitchen & Bath with a wish list that included providing more countertop space, adding functionality for cooking, incorporating seating at the island, delivering a better view into the living room area and creating an indoor/outdoor feeling between the kitchen and the pool area outside.

To accommodate the requests, the designer made some minor structural changes by expanding the wall between the kitchen and living room and changing out the French doors to the pool area with stacking glass doors from LaCantina to create a seamless pass-through from indoors to out. The 256-sq.-ft. kitchen now has two curved arches into the living room, providing a more open feeling between the rooms.

To add streamlined counter space, all of the tall elements were grouped to one side, including a 30″ Wolf wall oven and 30″ steam oven, and a paneled 30″ Sub-Zero refrigerator and 18″ freezer in Cerused Oak from Ovation Cabinetry. Also along this wall is a Wolf microwave drawer and wine storage column, both set into white cabinetry from Ovation Cabinetry.

Along the back wall, the white cabinetry continues, providing accessible storage and abundant prep space on the Arabascato Visio Matte book-matched porcelain countertops from MSI’s Stile Collection. A 48″ Wolf range is presented here with a richly toned Winter Park range hood from Raw Urth. Convex Subway tile in Cotton White from Ann Sacks adds just enough interest to the backsplash.

The super functional island sports the Cerused Oak cabinetry, and features an overhang with seating on one end. On the other, a Shaws white apron-front sink from ROHL is featured with a ROHL faucet and Asko dishwasher.

The original high ceilings were reworked into a stylish coffered ceiling with insets that matched the cerused oak of the cabinetry. Limestone flooring in Golden Beach finishes the space.




Ocean Inspired

Armina Kasprowicz, Armina Interiors, Rochester Hills, MI


With this project, Armina Kasprowicz of Armina Interiors got to turn a tragedy into a treasure. Located in beautiful Key Largo, FL, this home was ravaged by Hurricane Irma, resulting in severe fire and water damage to the entire structure. The home was essentially gutted and completely reimagined by Kasprowicz, going from traditional French Provincial and Tuscan influences to modern, bright and fun. The original closed-off and dark design gave way to open spaces for entertaining, with larger windows and access to the exterior that allowed the sun to shine in. The goal was to create indoor and outdoor spaces that were connected, open and inviting.

Time was of great importance, as this family wanted to move in as quickly as possible, notes Kasprowicz. For the kitchen, five tile crews worked around the clock to meet the timetable. Laminam porcelain slabs are used throughout the kitchen for countertops and backsplashes, while the floor tile is from Unicom Starker. Tile was used in the surfacing, as it is water and fire resistant, notes the designer, and it is also easy to maintain and provides the modern look desired.

Custom cabinetry in a lighter wood tone lines the perimeter, with a window seat, Wolf range and custom hood among the amenities. Clever and abundant storage help keep the area clutter free for a constant flow of guests.

The island, offering the same cabinetry and waterfall edge, provides seating on one side and sink prep area on the other, with a Kohler faucet featured. Globe pendants from Tech Lighting add to the airy atmosphere.


See the rest of the winning projects:

Best Kitchen Over $225,000

Best Kitchen $75,000-$150,000

Best Kitchen Under $75,000

Best Master Bath Over $100,000

Best Master Bath $50,000-$100,000

Best Master Bath Under $50,000

Best Powder Room

Best Showroom

Best Universal Design Kitchen or Bath

Best Specialty Project


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