2020 Kitchen of the Year Winners

From warm, handsome materials to meticulous metal detailing and lacquered surfaces, Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles award-winning kitchens are anything but ordinary. Read on for inspiring ideas from these character-filled spaces.

Character Building

Designer Karen Ferguson of Harrison Design refreshed a dated Sandy Springs kitchen with handsome hues  and distinctive metal details 

Written by Jeanne Lyons Davis
Photography by Emily Followill

What do you do when a dated kitchen has good bones? For a Sandy Springs couple, the answer was to resurrect its potential. To accomplish that, they enlisted designer Karen Ferguson of Harrison Design, and first on her list was to strip away unnecessary layers and heavy, outdated finishes—like a dominating stone-clad hood that instantly aged the space—and breathe new life with clean lines and handsome materials. “We made the kitchen feel more spacious with polish and shine without sacrificing its charms,” Ferguson says.

The repetition of distinct materials—like unlacquered brass, varying shades of walnut, detailed quartzite and pewter—was key in anchoring the kitchen. The bleached walnut island was topped with luminous Bianco Cristallo quartzite countertops which beautifully reflects light from the antique-inspired mirror-lined pendants that hang from above. 

The main apron-front sink is also crafted with quartzite, with a custom brass towel bar adding the perfect finishing touch to the original design. Adjoining the countertops is a bespoke walnut butcher block that rests on a custom cabinet crafted with pewter and unlacquered brass, materials that continue throughout the space on the plumbing and cabinetry hardware.

Expansive white perimeter cabinets with a subtle silver glaze create a luminous frame for the room, with leaded glass upper cabinets adding a special touch. But the custom hood reigns supreme in the space, bringing elements from the whole room together.

“It was tailor-made with a sophisticated mix of metals that are carried throughout the space,” Ferguson says. “The charm is in the details.”

INTERIOR DESIGNER Karen Ferguson, Harrison Design; (404) 365-7760; harrisondesign.com 
CONTRACTOR Thomas Alexander, David Holtzclaw, North Atlanta Properties, Inc.; (404) 569-8030; (404) 569-8032

CUSTOM CABINETS & ISLAND Block & Chisel PENDANTS The Urban Electric Co. CUSTOM HOOD Andrew Crawford APPLIANCES Sub-Zero Wolf Cove HARDWARE Waterworks COUNTERTOP, STONE SHELVES & SINK Marmi Natural Stone

Height of Elegance

Kitchen expert Matthew Quinn and interior designer Vaughn Connerty transform a tricky high-rise kitchen into a chic and sensible living space

Written by Jeanne Lyons Davis
Photography by Christina Wedge

Renovating a high-rise kitchen is no easy feat: Stubborn floor plans, cumbersome HVAC ducts and tricky drainage logistics aren’t for the faint of heart. Yet the only thing Matthew Quinn of Design Galleria Kitchen & Bath Studio could see was potential.

“The young homeowners wanted a more open flow between the kitchen and comfortable living room, all within a more traditional aesthetic,” Quinn says about the Park Avenue condominium. 

For that to be achieved, the kitchen needed to be reconfigured, with the sink moving to the kitchen island—a complex undertaking for a high-rise with neighbors that are literally underfoot. But the new central island was eventually realized, serving as the anchor for the room, its alder wood handsomely aligning with the paneled hood and new opening to the hallway.

“The goal was to create a kitchen and keeping room that were the center of the home for cooking, daily dining and relaxing,” interior designer Vaughn Connerty says. “The old floor plan was changed to create a symmetrical space aligning the range, island and TV area. The walls were paneled throughout to create a consistent space that blends both rooms.”

The eye-catching cabinets were painted Hale Navy by Benjamin Moore, a striking hue that Connerty says saturates the room with color and complements the alder wood and warm marble countertops.

Because the combined kitchen-living spaces features only cabinetry and a wall of floor-to-ceiling windows, Quinn shares that the stainless steel “towers” of the refrigerator and oven add visual relief to the dominant wood cabinets. While the kitchen cabinets appear to extend to the ceiling, the painted panels cleverly disguise rerouted HVAC ducts. 

Special details are sprinkled through the space, like sleek metal mesh inserts in the tall pantry cabinets, striking brass hardware and plush textiles. “Brass light fixtures, plumbing and hardware added more glamour while textured fabrics on the furniture and island banquette add warmth and comfort to this livable space, 250 feet up in the air,” Quinn says.

But more important than the materials that fill the room is the emotion that it evokes. “It’s a rich, cozy space that’s highly organized and functional,” Connerty says. “I love that our clients say it’s their favorite room in their home.”

KITCHEN DESIGNER Matthew Quinn, Design Galleria Kitchen and Bath Studio; (404) 261-0111; designgalleria.net
INTERIOR DESIGNER Vaughn Connerty, Vaughn Connerty Interiors; vaughnconnerty.com
CONTRACTOR Paul Timoney, Timoney Construction; timoneyconstruction.com

CABINET PAINT Benjamin Moore Hale Navy PENDANTS & ISLAND SEATING Parc Monceau MARBLE COUNTERTOPS Dolce Vita APPLIANCES Sub-Zero Wolf Cove HARDWARE Matthew Quinn Collection

Sleek and Sophisticated

Cardea Home’s Laurie Lehrich, architect D. Stanley Dixon and DENNIS SCHUHART fashion a bold and beautiful kitchen

Written by Jeanne Lyons Davis
Photography by David Christensen
Styled by Dennis Schuhart

As the children of a Buckhead family grew into college-age adults, the homeowners realized their 1929 family home needed to reflect this new chapter of life, especially the kitchen. Cue Laurie Lehrich of Cardea Home and architect D. Stanley Dixon, who served a fresh kitchen renovation that transitions from pancakes to parties with ease.

“This was a massive renovation well beyond the kitchen, and Stan Dixon and his team really shined by transforming the small, closed-off area into a larger, lighter room with more open space,” Lehrich says.

To adjust to their empty nest, the homeowners wanted to create a kitchen arrangement that would accommodate the grown members of their family, from festive gatherings to leisure time for just the couple. The island, for example, was designed with opposite bar seating in addition to side to side, so that husband and wife can face each other while sharing casual meals.

The aesthetic features strong traditional elements thanks to flush inset cabinetry and an iconic Lacanche range in matte black with a mixed metal trim, complementing the eye-catching custom hood. 

While the design leans toward classic characteristics, contemporary elements also shine through, like sleek transitional doors and, most notably, dramatic glossy coats of Sherwin-Williams Black Fox paint on the cabinets. The honed Italian marble countertop, backsplash and sculptural waterfall island juxtapose the distinctive cabinet color and finish.

Lehrich notes that the homeowners leaned in to the bold color choice. “One would think it would absorb light and make the room dark, but in a high-gloss mirrored finish, it did just the opposite. Light dances all over the room,” she says. “It’s well-balanced and thoughtful, but not without surprises and details that keep it interesting.”

KITCHEN DESIGNER Laurie Lehrich, Cardea Home; (404) 295-4453; cardeahome.com
ARCHITECT D. Stanley Dixon, D. Stanley Dixon Architect; (404) 574-1430; dsdixonarchitect.com

INTERIOR DESIGNER Dennis Schuhart, Travis & Company; (404) 237-5079; travisandcompany.com
CONTRACTOR Mike Helenbrook, Helenbrook Custom Contracting, LLC; (404) 391-7207

RANGE Lacanche from French Ranges HOOD Custom APPLIANCES Distinctive Appliances REFRIGERATOR Sub-Zero Wolf Cove MARBLE Mega Marble from Precision Stone & Tile

Classic, Redefined

Enlisted to create a kitchen unique to the Atlanta market, THE DESIGN ATELIER crafts a commanding, not cookie-cutter, custom design 

Written by Jeanne Lyons Davis
Photography by Emily Followill
Styled by Eleanor Roper

While it feels like kitchens and dining rooms resemble each other more often than not, especially in the age of constant pinning, posting and engaging, Melanie Millner of The Design Atelier created a distinctive, one-of-a-kind space that still harkens back to classic design principles.

“The homeowners wanted a kitchen that felt unique to the Atlanta market,” Millner shares about her clients’ Buckhead renovation. To make their custom dream a reality, a new open floor plan was imperative so the family could gather and entertain with ease.

Handsome walnut statements were incorporated throughout the kitchen, most notably on the custom island and hood, both handcrafted by Marcel Olariu of Kingdom Woodworks. Warm gray paint on the walls and perimeter cabinets give the room a fresh aesthetic without feeling too modern, while Cristallo quartzite countertops and an eye-catching, sculptural backsplash effortlessly frame the kitchen.

Easing the transition from the open kitchen to the elegant dining room is an antique mirror-clad cabinet, which was cleverly designed to resemble a piece of furniture. Used in lieu of a run-of-the-mill pantry, it provides stylish means of storage.

The renovation design culminates in the anchor of the project: an exquisite 7-foot walnut hood adorned with brass detailing. Its commanding presence dominates the space and aligns the mix of materials used throughout the room. The adjacent sculptural pendants complement the walnut hood, adding a lighter-in-scale silhouette to contrast the focal point.

Together with architecture firm Harrison Design and Kingdom Woodworks, the design dream team “was able to create a balance of architectural statements and functional detailing, giving the homeowners a beautiful room to enjoy with friends and family,” Millner says.

INTERIOR DESIGNER Melanie Millner, The Design Atelier; (404) 365-8662; thedesignatelier.com
ARCHITECT Frank Heery, Harrison Design; (404) 365-7760; harrisondesign.com
CABINETRY DESIGNER Marcel Olariu, Kingdom Woodworks; (770) 932-6390; kingdomwoodworks.com
CONTRACTOR George Cooke, White Oak Fine Homes; (404) 557-8374; whiteoakfinehomes.com

KITCHEN CABINET & WALL COLOR Sherwin-Williams Agreeable Gray PENDANTS & SCONCES The Urban Electric Co. COUNTERTOPS Marmi Natural Stone APPLIANCES Sub-Zero Wolf Cove PLUMBING Kohler CABINET HARDWARE Armac Martin COUNTER STOOLS R Jones CUTTING BOARDS & COPPER POTS Robuck WINDOW SHADES Hartmann & Forbes  BREAKFAST ROOM DINING CHAIRS Hickory Chair BENCH Verellen TABLE BASE Bungalow 5 TABLE TOP custom by Kevin Scanlon CHANDELIER Remains Lighting SHADES Douglass Workroom 

Delicate Balance

Architect Frank Neely and interior designer Jessica Bradley tailor a practical but personal addition to a historic Brookwood Hills home

Written by Jeanne Lyons Davis
Photography by Emily Followill

Seamlessly connecting a historic structure with new construction is a delicate undertaking. The secret recipe is making it indecipherable where the original home ends and the addition begins, a feat masterfully achieved by architect Frank Neely and designer Jessica Bradley in this Brookwood Hills renovation.

The adjoining kitchen and dining room is the home’s main artery, as well as the connective tissue between the old house and new construction. Neely said it was important to connect the addition visually, so white cabinets, trim work and molding were “packaged” together, functioning as a whole rather than as individual parts so it appears to be original to the house. 

The thoughtful, highly functional layout allows the homeowner to cook and gather with ease—especially with three young children underfoot—while still feeling like a distinctive living space and not too, as Bradley says, “kitcheny.” 

“It doesn’t feel like a kitchen—it feels like a large, warm and welcoming space that can accommodate a lot of people and yet be very functional at the same time,” Bradley explains.

The primarily creamy room is anchored with a warm walnut island, which feels more like a large dining table. Bradley selected a lighter breakfast room table and chairs so the island would feel like the central gathering spot. The marble perimeter countertop boasts blue-green details that complement the tiled backsplash, as well as the striking pantry painted Farrow & Ball Oval Room Blue, which contrasts with the creamy room beautifully. “This anchor of color that Jessica selected really helps to ground the white kitchen,” Neely shares. 

 In the end, Neely notes that the kitchen addition is the hardest working room of the house, and takes on the responsibility with effortless grace. “It handles the circulation of the home, accommodates large numbers of people without getting in the way of the cook and is a joy to be around, as it’s easy on the eyes,” Neely notes. “It is genuinely a nice space to spend time in.”

ARCHITECT Frank Neely, Christian Reed, Neely Design Associates; (404) 817-0807; neelydesign.com
INTERIOR DESIGNER Jessica Bradley, Jessica Bradley Interiors; (404) 846-3220; jessicabradleyinteriors.com
CONTRACTOR Patrick Davey, Davey Construction LLC; (404) 256-1436

CABINET & WALL COLOR Sherwin-Williams Creamy  PANTRY COLOR Farrow & Ball Oval Room Blue PENDANTS Circa Lighting COUNTERTOPS Marmi Natural Stone ISLAND SEATING Beau Studio with back covered in Fermoie Hamble and seat in leather DINING TABLE AND CHAIRS Tritter Feefer custom Rita table in Seaside, Bungalow 5 Monaco in Natural with Kravet Slate faux leather LIGHTING Circa Lighting RANGE Wolf REFRIGERATOR Sub-Zero Wolf Cove