Best kitchen in a single-family detached custom or remodeled home—over 5,000 square feet

This kitchen was a dark, claustrophobic mess that had outlived its useful life. Architect John Senhauser, however, shed some light on it and added refined finishes for a modern kitchen that's ideal for family gatherings. The result garnered a grand award from our judges.

“The existing kitchen was a pretty compressed space,” Senhauser says. Its ceiling was less than 8 feet, and the space was separated from an adjacent breakfast area with folding partitions that added to its dungeon-like feel. “The clients asked, ‘What in the world can you do with this kitchen?'” the architect says.

What Senhauser did was strip away the ceiling and relocate the plumbing to gain valuable inches of headroom. He removed the upper cabinets on one wall and replaced the pass-through with an island, which created a better visual and physical connection to the breakfast room and increased the overall circulation of the kitchen.

A large part of the program involved bringing light into the dark space, so Senhauser used white paint on an existing brick wall and specified stainless steel base cabinets to pick up what little light there is. To reflect light even more, he used glass for the backsplash. Though the new kitchen is slick and modern, it features aniline-dyed maple upper cabinets that add texture, warmth, and color to what otherwise could have been a cold space.

For more product information, visit ebuild, Hanley Wood's interactive product catalog.
Cabinetry: Custom cabinets by Sachi Woodworking; Countertop: Custom granite; Faucets/fittings: Franke; Sinks: Franke;

Entrant/Architect: John Senhauser Architects, Cincinnati; Builder: Stewart and Weakes, Cincinnati

Tip Homeowners are once again cozying up to color. For those who are afraid of the commitment, paint is often the preferred method to achieve it. But Senhauser says there are less direct ways to get color. For example, the architect used white paint on the walls, but he also used dyed maple cabinets, granite, and glass to enliven the space and add warmth. “It's an opportunity to use wood and other surfaces to introduce color without adding paint,” he says.

Back to The 2004 Watermark Awards