NEW YORK, N.Y. - A walnut-intensive kitchen project with custom four-seater island helped Heidi Piron, owner of Heidi Piron Design & Cabinetry in Summit, New Jersey, take the top prize in in the first-ever Kitchen Design Competition for appliance maker BlueStar.
Acclaimed designer Eric Cohler, lead judge for the contest, announced the news at the Architectural Digest Design Show in New York City last month.
The design captures a number of design trends, including the rising trend to cater kitchen planning to accommodate serious male cooks.
"The winning design reflects an industrial style which is trending now, with the classic blending of black and white," said Cohler.
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"Being a neutral, black is never not in style, but it is enjoying a rebirth, especially matte black in the kitchen. It is extremely versatile, so that it can be incredibly dramatic or serve as an accent against a white palette – another neutral that is in vogue now as well." In addition to Cohler, the judging panel included four industry professionals – Amanda Nisbet, Brett Beldock, Ken Kelly and Grace Kelly.
The husband in Piron's winning entry was a "master home chef," who unwinds by creating home cooked meals for his family and dinner parties for friends. He selected a BlueStar for its commercial qualities, with powerful and precise burners like a restaurant.
Piron's design features oversize white subway tile with gray grout, running up to the ceiling. Cabinetry puts everything is within close reach of the range—the adjacent spice drawer, the pullout drawers for the pots and pans, and the four-seater island to serve family and guests.
Built into the back of that island is another unique design element of the kitchen: a seven-inch thick butcher's block made of natural walnut, set on a walnut furniture base cabinet.
"This allows the chef of the house to face his audience as he chops without ever having to grab a cutting board," explained Piron. The countertop is a leathered quartzite in a light gray that is durable and low maintenance. The black matte recurs in the beverage area, which features a backsplash in a shimmery bronze tile that sets a festive mood.
"Because the wife's taste is more transitional, she gravitated toward matte black, which she found 'striking and handsome'— reflective of her husband," said Piron. The matte black recurs in the beverage area, which features a backsplash in a shimmery bronze tile. The custom range hood was powder coated matte black to match the range. BlueStar makes more than 750 other range colors, which meets the current trend to make the range blend into the cabinetry.
Designers say men into cooking can increase the appliance budget 30 percent. NKBA reports in its kitchen trends a drift toward cleaner looks, and darker and rougher finished surfaces, such as wire-brush cerused oak to raise the grain - styles seen as appealing to men. Another approach men favor is high performance sports car looks - e.g., Poggenpohl's Porsche style cabinets.