2011 Home of the Year Editor's Choice: Highland Park Kitchen Renovation

The kitchen is the heart of the home, and this kitchen, found in a Highland Park Victorian, is no exception. Although the owners purchased the home several years ago, the kitchen just wasn’t working for the busy family, explains designer Sarah Drake.



Stunning Volga Blue granite tops the kitchen island that stretches to the banquette seating area.

In a year when the down-turned economy has taken a toll on the architecture and design professions, we have found something to celebrate: the winners of Pittsburgh magazine´s second-annual Home of the Year contest.

Our friends at AIA Columbus, a chapter of the American Institute of Architects, graciously provided their expertise to judge our competition. The panel consisted of Jonathan Barnes, AIA, of Jonathan Barnes Architecture + Design; and Michael Bongiorno, AIA, of Design Group. Judging was coordinated by Gwen Berlekamp, executive director of AIA Columbus.
 

Editor's Choice

Winner: Highland Park Kitchen Renovation
Best Kitchen Design: Drake Studio, Sarah Drake
Architect: Drake Studio
Builder: Fisher Renovation
Interior Design: Drake Studio

The kitchen is the heart of the home, and this kitchen, found in a Highland Park Victorian, is no exception. Although the owners purchased the home several years ago, the kitchen just wasn’t working for the busy family, explains designer Sarah Drake.

In its former state, the space was a mix of kitchen “innovation” over the past century; that included the remnants of a butler’s pantry with too-tall, awkward cabinets and a 30-year-old “modernization” project that left behind plastic-laminate cabinets, skylights and too much equipment. It lacked adequate storage, organization and family space.

The family needed an updated workhorse of a kitchen where they could come together to cook, eat, get organized, do homework and more. They also wanted a space that could accommodate more than one cook at a time.

“The palate was very much the owner’s, so we kept it,” Drake explains of the vibrant red walls. Bright white cabinetry enhances the clean and open feel. Hanging glass pendant lights, found by the homeowner, bring a high-end look at a reasonable price.

An old butler’s pantry and back stairway were re-purposed to make way for more family space. The entryway now houses cubbies for coats and shoes, and a banquette with comfy pillows provides ample seating in the skylight area—perfect for homework as well as dining. The back maid’s staircase was eliminated to house double ovens and a pullout baking station. A ladder on a rail that can travel around the room makes even the tallest cabinets accessible.

A striking Volga Blue granite, blue-black counter spotted with fluorescent blue “wings” that resemble butterflies takes center stage atop the kitchen island, a place for gathering and for food preparation. The counters around the perimeter of the kitchen, where most of the equipment is housed, are made of Absolute Black granite.

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