Best of Design 2023: This Renovated Kitchen is West Coast Cool

With the help of McQueen Building Company, a Sewickley couple gave their outdated kitchen a California-style makeover. 

Mcqueen Collins Project Web 1

How do you infuse an outdated kitchen common to countless Pittsburgh homes with casual California vibes? By bringing the outside in, mixing materials and introducing an edgy yet effortless color story.

“We always dreamed of doing this, and to have it come to fruition was a really fun experience,” says homeowner Johann Collins, who lives in Sewickley with fiancée, Kaitlyn, and their two children.

The couple, who moved to the area from California in 2021 (a bit of a homecoming for Kaitlyn, who grew up in the South Hills), have always appreciated the state’s namesake style, which is known for its fusion of modern, natural and neutral elements.

Collins Before 2


The West-Coast-cool kitchen also impressed this year’s Best of Design judges, who named it their Best Renovated Kitchen for 2023.

The Collins family worked on the project with Upper St. Clair-based design-build firm McQueen Building Company, whose designers ultimately led the couple to the striking color choices.

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Johann and Kaitlyn share a love of green and — after seeing another kitchen by designer Bobby Berk in the earthy hue — knew they wanted something similar for their own space.

They considered other variations, but when McQueen presented the couple with the moody charcoal green, it was the unanimous winner. Johann and Kaitlyn say they appreciate the contrast the deep green provides against the gray and white of the Silestone countertops and the light wood of the 12-foot-long island.

“There’s something about the combination of colors that make the kitchen very comforting,” says Best of Design judge Crystal DeCastro Knapik, a project designer at Vocon, which has offices in New York City and Cleveland.

Other elegant combinations of materials that add to the kitchen’s calm aesthetic include the stark white stucco hood floating above the sleek BlueStar commercial range and hybrid material backsplash, as well as a pair of concrete pendant lamps that are suspended above the island.

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The luxurious coffee bar features filtered hot, cold and sparkling water on tap. Appliances are tucked out of sight in garage cabinets, and pop-up outlets are hidden throughout the space.

Designers at McQueen, which was founded by husband-and-wife-team Geoff and Christine McQueen in 2017, also suggested the 3-inch lip running above the range area, which is where the family keeps their salt and pepper shakers and “Star Wars”-themed pancake makers.

Best of Design judge Stephanie Schill Hayden, an architect at Schill Architecture in Cleveland, in particular praised the kitchen’s smart design choices and plethora of storage options.

“I love how they made a small kitchen feel large,” she says.

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Architectural Design: McQueen Building Company
Interior Design: Maria Cross (McQueen Building Company)
General Contractor: McQueen Building Company
Electric: Tatman Electric
Plumbing: Kowalski Heating Cooling & Plumbing
Cabinetry: Oak & Pillar by McQueen
Hardware: Rejuvenation / Larkin finger pulls and Larkin 6-inch pulls
Appliances: Don’s Appliances
Lighting: Shades of Light
Flooring: Lifeproof (8-inch wide white oak vinyl flooring)
Countertops: Silestone by Constantine / Fabrication by Collier Stone
Kitchen Table Set: Restoration Hardware

Categories: Best of Design