SARASOTA – In the “good old days” of 1974, kitchens were cramped, even in an Essex House penthouse overlooking the bay.
David Asher’s EuroTech Cabinetry took up the challenge of transforming the kitchen and opening it to the main rooms. The resulting contemporary kitchen won both its category (small kitchens) and the overall “best Kitchen in North America” awards at the National Kitchen & Bath Association 2005 Design Competition this week in Las Vegas. Asher and lead designer Judy Adams Hunt were there to collect the same honor that EuroTech won in 2004 for an open kitchen design on Longboat Key by Tracey Salzo and Asher.
“It has never been done two years in a row. We were up against competition from across the country and Canada – about 460 entries,” Asher said. “It was a tremendous challenge because we had to move interior walls and deal with a structural column and duct work.”
The 30-year-old, Essex House condominium was broken up into small spaces with very little flow from one space to another. An architect friend of owners Marty and Lottie Varano suggested introducing an angled wall and tucking in a bath and small guest bedroom behind it.
The EuroTech team, including Rachel Wronowski, worked with this concept and did the space planning for the entire condominium, providing the best possible spacing for the kitchen.
The angle wall allowed for a larger common area, which includes the kitchen, dining and living area, while capturing the best bay and marina views.
The next challenge was dealing with a structural column that fell in the middle of the open plan.
“Our client’s request for a New York penthouse feel helped with the decision of what to do with the column,” designer Hunt said. “We clad it in stainless and made it a focal point to work off of instead of trying to hide it.”
An interlocking shorter column set at a tangent became the support for one side of the floating glass breakfast bar. The other side of the breakfast bar is tied to the island, which wraps the structural column. The sculptural feel and unity of the island became the center anchor for the entire space.
The HVAC ducts needed to run through the kitchen, which meant dropping the already low ceiling. The EuroTech team created a pattern with the area that needed to be dropped to make it look like an accent for the kitchen. At the entry that is adjacent to the kitchen, the ceiling is popped up and a small tray added with accent starlights that are repeated on the perimeter of the drop.
For colors, they selected warm brown tones to add richness to the woods and contrasting stainless accents. They anchored the sink wall with a tall stainless clement at each end to hold the design together and compliment the stainless column.
As few glass doors and the glass breakfast bar add sparkle. With the client’s complimentary accessories, the kitchen, dining and living area “are extremely contemporary, yet warm and inviting,” Hunt said. “It’s a wonderful place for lively entertainment as well as peaceful respite.”
Asher has brought home National Kitchen & Bath Association design awards in 11 of the past 12 years. EuroTech was runner-up for “best overall” in 2003 before taking the two straight top honors.
“The tremendous difficulty and the amount of creativity and space planning made the difference this time,” Asher said.