02 July 2010

Iconic Inspirations at Kitchens.com

Kitchens.com is a great resource for kitchen design and renovation information. The site's full of practical advice and great ideas. It's also run by some of my favorite people on the editorial side of the kitchen and bath industry.

Back in March, Kitchen.com's editor, Kim Sweet, asked me to participate in an editorial project they were working on. I was honored and said yes before I knew what exactly I was getting into.

The plan was to find well-known kitchens designers (who? me?) and pair us with an influential person outside of the industry. Based on a phone interview, we'd then design a fantasy kitchen for our iconic partners. The plans would never be build so we weren't constrained by such mundane things as budgets or production schedules.

I was paired with chef Ann Cooper. Ann's known as the Renegade Lunch lady and has made it her life's work to improve the quality and healthfulness of kids' school lunches.

Ann lives in the Rocky Mountains, entertains a lot and as a chef, is used to being around commercial equipment. She wanted something transitional, a room where she could cook and entertain at the same time and like everybody, she wanted a lot of room. There needed to be a fully functioning outdoor kitchen as well and it needed a charcoal grill and a wood-burning pizza oven.

I drew a plan in SketchUp and Kitchen.com's incredible renderer Kevin took my basic drawings and made absolute magic out of them.

The house was to be in the mountains and I wanted to honor the location and have the final room be rustic but not primitive. I used an inset, flat-panel cabinet in an off-white painted finish. The counters around the sink and part of the island's wall are in Carrera marble and the rest are in stainless steel. The island that I morphed into a table is an homage to the great Johnny Grey. He built an arced piece of marble into a kitchen and it's haunted me for the last ten years. I hope my version of it did some justice to the original.

The other designers who worked on this project were Cheryl Kees-Clendenon, Kelly Morrisseau and Ann Porter.

Here's Cheryl:

Here's Kelly:

Here's Ann

I know and admire all three of these women and it's a privilege to be included in any group that involves them. Now that it's finished and now that I see whose designs are part of this project as well, I'm struck by the same question. Why did you pick me? Those three are accomplished, award-winning designers and I'm some schmoe with a big mouth. Whatever the reason, this has been a real thrill so thanks go to Kim, mark and Kevin at Kitchens.com and of course to Ann Cooper for being such a good sport.

You an see the rest of this article and see Cheryl, Kelly and Ann's designs on Kitchen.com's Iconic Inspirations.


  1. What a cool project; the kitchens are beautiful! Congrats on being chosen.

  2. Thanks Julie, that was a lot of fun.

  3. But you're a funny schmoe, at least...
    Congrats on the profile. I went through the site yesterday when I saw your Facebook post. Nice job!

  4. Thanks! I'm waiting for the dough to start rolling in any second now.

  5. Just beautiful, Paul! The arc of marble is stunning.

  6. Absolutely amazing, all of you!

  7. Thanks Raina, that's even sited in your neck of the woods. Now all I need to do is find someone willing to pay for it...

  8. Paul,
    I think you have found the way to my heart. The marble island with the arc just about killed me. It's stunning. Absolutely stunning.
    Congrats on being chosen. You deserve it and did a great job.

  9. Steph: Here's the original arc that I based that entire kitchen on: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_hhaTg03kiU0/S3tgyMb7syI/AAAAAAAAJyg/ff8pT4DiMCY/s1600-h/vrona+lincs+fc+4.tif.jpg

    That's a Johnny Grey design and I'm lucky to have had the man himself describe it to me. In Johnny's kitchen, the arc is a single piece of marble. It's smaller than my fantasy version but all the same it's a several thousand pound hunk of marble. Can you imagine cutting and polishing a shape like that? They had to lift it onto place with a crane and then build the room around it. It's also on the second floor of a 400-year-old house and shoring up the floor joists had to have been an added nightmare. The end result speaks for itself and it's so heavy it didn't need to be attached to anything. That shape has haunted me for years.

  10. Thanks for the link! The original is amazing.
    I can not imagine the work that went into it. We did a hand carved boulder sink a couple of years ago that we had to have a crane put it in the house before the roof was on and then they finished the home around it. It took my fabricator 80+ hours to make the sink. It was absolutely beautiful and we charged a near fortune for it. Unfortunately I don't have pictures, the homeowner was extremly private and wouldn't allow pictures of their home or anything in it.

  11. Whoah. That mountain kitchen is making me drool. Especially the outdoor area. I was just telling someone a couple of days ago how I want an outdoor fireplace/grill/smoker/bread oven.
    Stunning work Paul.

  12. Wow, these are nice renderings. Is yours the same kitchen you showed us in the SketchUp class? Turned out quite beautiful.

  13. Steph: Isn't it always thus. It's the great work that belong to people who don't want it to be photographed.

    Mel: Thanks!

    Marilyn: Good eye! That's the exact thing I was working on that week and I did use it in my Friday morning presentation.

  14. Thanks for your comment Kevin, my archives are filled with many, many ideas for kitchen designs. If you'd like something a bit more personal, that's what I do for a living. I am available for consultations at an hourly rate for the service you're describing. Feel free to e-mail me directly by clicking on the e-mail me button.

  15. Paul, I was thinking how did I get in on that list with YOU! you da man! And I loved what you did there and how you honored Johnny. I have to say my love of kitchen spaces as living spaces, I owe to him as well! I think all of the designs were pretty darn cool and am tickled beyond tickled to be included in the group! And you are right, Kevin did a bang up job. ~Cheryl

  16. Oh please, you're resident superstar. How many magazine covers have you had by now? It was a thrill to see these things come together, wasn't it? The finished product makes the process seem like it would have been painless and easy. Hah!


Talk to me!