24th Annual Kitchen of the Year Winners

Our four contest champions reveal their recipes for creating kitchens that cook.


Kitchen Design – Jenny and Eric Rothman, HammerSmith Home Renovations
Project Manager – Matt Sherman


A Morningside kitchen gets a dreamy update—complete with exquisite textures, pleasing contrasts and an ethereal glow

THIS MORNINGSIDE KITCHEN IS A REMODEL, BUT THE ROOM LOOKS SO CURRENT. DID YOU TAKE IT DOWN TO THE STUDS? Jenny Rothman: We actually worked on this house before with a previous client, but the new homeowners wanted to redo parts of the home with a new footprint. After expanding a closet upstairs, we talked to them about redoing the kitchen as well, making it larger and creating more of a view to the outdoors than before. The NanaWall [the folding glass wall to the pool area] keeps it fresh and free-flowing.

IT’S A BRILLIANT SPACE; EVERY MORNING MUST FEEL LIKE A VACATION. When the homeowners said they wanted a more modern feel to the kitchen, the ideas started rolling. Eric is great with large structures, and I’m more about details. We created a room where light plays off the whites and different textures—those disc tiles, the striations on the custom cabinet doors. It’s just really pretty. It flows so well because of how the elements interlock with each other. The Ann Sacks tiles actually wrap around the corner into the dining room to draw you in.

DID THE EXISTING STRUCTURE PRESENT ANY CHALLENGES? Because we didn’t want to demolish everything, we left the original wood finish on the wall cabinetry, but we added a layer of white paneling on top. For continuity, there’s a wood band that runs the length of the white cabinets, and the floors are a very dark-stained oak. It helps all that modernity feel warm and inviting.

HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THAT CREATIVE CEILING STRUCTURE? We’ve been experimenting with ways to hide lights, because we’re tired of the ubiquitous can lights, where you walk in and that’s all you see. By carving out parts of the ceiling, we made the room appear taller, and we were able to install long strip lights flush with the ceiling, which gave it a cool look.

FROM THE CUSTOM HOOD TO THE THICK CHROME HARDWARE, THE LINES ARE SO PLEASING TO THE EYE. We wanted everything it to be simple and elegant, which is hard to pull off in construction, because there are no truly straight walls or level floors and ceilings. You kind of have to cheat, and that was the genius of having a very good project manager [Matt Sherman] executing the design.

THE WATERFALL COUNTERTOPS WERE A CHIC CHOICE. It’s a sleek way to finish off the sides of cabinetry. It’s more expensive, because you’re paying for more material, but it looks so nice. And those pieces of Calacatta are especially beautiful!

THAT HIGH TOE-KICK IS A UNIQUE FINISHING TOUCH—THE WAY IT LETS THE ROOM BREATHE. Yes, it’s made to look like it’s floating. And the stainless work is all custom. I like the open space underneath it; we could have fit more stools, but the idea was to have everything be airy and open.

KITCHEN DESIGNERS Jenny and Eric Rothman, HammerSmith Home Renovations, 807 Church St., Decatur 30030. (404) 377-1021; hammersmith.net BUILDER HammerSmith Home Renovations PROJECT MANAGER Matt Sherman through HammerSmith Home Renovations STAINLESS STEEL COUNTER AND INTEGRAL SINK Custom by Rite-Made Fabrication Inc. CALACATTA MARBLE COUNTERTOPS Atlanta Kitchen & Bath APPLIANCES Miele Integrated and Sub-Zero Integrated FAUCET Newform Forma in chrome, Cotswold Kitchen and Bath HARDWARE The Matthew Quinn Collection, ADAC West BACKSPLASH TILE Andy Blick, Ann Sacks Tile & Stone GLASS DOOR NanaDoor, NanaWall CHANDELIER IN DINING ROOM SwitchModern




Interior Design
– Susan B. Welty, Susan B. Welty Interiors
Architecture – Scott Newton
Contractor – Brice Andrus, DaCapo Properties, LLC
Carpentry – Dameon Torrey


Surrounded by Tudors and Craftsman homes, musicians Susan B. Welty and Brice Andrus opt to add a little European elan to their Morningside dwelling

YOU AND BRICE ARE BOTH PROFESSIONAL MUSICIANS IN THE ATLANTA SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA. HOW DID YOU BREAK INTO DESIGN? Susan Welty: There’s a new symphony model coming across the nation, and we’ve been downsized. We’re exploring other options, and designing homes is one of our passions. We’ve flipped a few houses around Atlanta and, throughout our home, Brice and I have always designed things like built-in shelves and furniture. We’re very excited about design as a potential new career.

YOU’VE BEEN IN THIS MORNINGSIDE HOME SINCE 2001. WHY DID YOU WAIT TO TACKLE THE KITCHEN? I suppose I did have about 10 years to imagine it. We added an entire second story in 2005, which gave us two extra bathrooms. After that, we were comfortable with getting rid of a tiny bathroom and pantry on the side of the kitchen, bringing the footprint from 13’x17’ to a square 17’x17’.

I’M SURE THAT BY THEN, YOU KNEW WHAT AESTHETIC YOU WERE AFTER. Yes, I wanted a relaxed style, with a bit of a European country feel, which is why we went with the beautiful French metal windows with the cremone hinges. We added the Venetian plaster on the walls, which I just love, and I designed the hood with its decorative profile brackets.

YOU WORKED WITH BELL CUSTOM CABINETRY, WHO WE’VE USED IN SEVERAL OF OUR SHOWHOUSES. They were a pleasure to work with all the way through, and the installation was just seamless. I was really impressed.

THE ENTIRE ROOM HAS A HAND-HEWN, OLD WORLD WARMTH TO IT. That’s one of the reasons I love the white hood. It made the room so much warmer than stainless steel. And the subway tile is unusual; it’s sort of a taupe-y gray. Honed soapstone on the perimeter countertops also warmed it up, and they feel great to the touch. Plus, they’re basically impervious to damage.

THE FINISH OF THAT LIGHT FIXTURE IS GORGEOUS. HOW DID YOU CHOOSE IT? I’m not a fan of a bunch of lights dripping down from the ceiling. I much prefer one large element. This pendant is a Thomas O’Brien fixture from Circa Lighting, and the sconces are from Restoration Hardware. We thought both had that vintage look, and that tied in with the other fixtures in the room.

IS THIS THE KITCHEN YOU’VE ALWAYS DREAMED OF? Absolutely. I’m actually very thankful that we didn’t do the kitchen years ago. And the original one was dreadful, with blue Formica countertops, cheap cabinets and blue handles. We lived with that for a long time, but I think we were able to create a much better kitchen because we allowed the house to progress.

DO YOU EAT AT THE COUNTER NOW? Yes! We do it all the time. I don’t know how we ever lived without this kitchen. I don’t know where we lived. We spend almost all of our entertaining time in here now. The renovation just makes it that much more comfortable.

INTERIOR DESIGNER Susan B. Welty ARCHITECT Scott Newton CONTRACTOR Brice Andrus, DeCapo Properties, LLC CUSTOM CABINETRY & HOOD Bell Custom Cabinetry RANGE Wolf DISHWASHER Bosch COUNTERTOPS Honed Calacatta marble (island) and honed soapstone (perimeter), La Piedra Inc. VENETIAN PLASTER WALLS Eve Gray, Tuscan Impressions AMERICAN CLAY CEILINGS Dameon Torrey METAL WINDOWS Russell Millworks CARPENTRY Dameon Torrey ISLAND PENDANT Goodman Hanging Lamp by Thomas O’Brien, Circa Lighting SCONCES Restoration Hardware FARMHOUSE SINK Rohl, PDI Plumbing WALL TILE Sonoma Tile Makers Stellar line 2×8″ ceramic tile in platinum crackle finish, Specialty Tile HARDWARE Restoration Hardware ISLAND FAUCET Rohl, PDI Plumbing CLEANUP SINK FAUCET Kohler, PDI Plumbing



Kitchen Design – Matthew Quinn, Design Galleria Kitchen & Bath Studio
Contractor – Joe Prohaski, Total Home Services


Two Ansley Park gourmands call upon Matthew Quinn for a cook’s quality kitchen steeped in tradition

THE BUDGET FOR THIS PROJECT—$31,000-$50,000—STAYED NICE AND LOW CONSIDERING THE STRIKING RESULTS. HOW DID YOU KEEP EVERYTHING ON TRACK? Matthew Quinn: For one, we didn’t use real marble, but the next best thing—”Super White” granite. We kept the door style very simple, and only modified one wall. This is Ansley Park, so we couldn’t do anything to the windows. There are also a lot of stainless appliances, which the homeowners felt strongly about using, so we didn’t have the costs associated with cabinetry panels. This is why I chose to powder-coat the hood. It creates a tailored look without too much stainless steel.

DESIGN GALLERIA HOODS HAVE BECOME A SIGNATURE IN ATLANTA. It’s the stainless steel banding. I love a Chanel suit, or the details Paul Smith may add to the collar of a men’s shirt, or the lapel on a jacket. It’s those tiny tailoring details that I like to add to my work—subtle things that make it more special.

THE STORY BEHIND THIS KITCHEN IS VERY CURIOUS; WHEN THE HOMEOWNERS MOVED IN, THE HOUSE WAS MODERN, BUT THEY WANTED TO DO AWAY WITH EVERY HINT OF IT. Yes, they wanted the peace of mind that we’d stripped this house of everything modern and brought it back to its roots. The kitchen and the master bath were the last rooms they did. The rest of the house had a transitional feel to it. The kitchen was the final frustration, but once it was redone, the home felt complete.

I NOTICE HOW YOU RELEGATED ALL OF THE VERTICAL ELEMENTS TO ONE CORNER SO THAT THE REST OF THE KITCHEN COULD SPREAD OUT. It’s important in a small kitchen to always group tall elements together, because if you scatter them, not only does it break up your countertop space, but the separate zones can overtake the room. Containing storage in the corner helps the room feel much bigger, and here, every square millimeter has been maximized. The man of the house loves his coffee bar.

THE HOMEOWNERS ARE FOODIES WHO DESIRED COMMERCIAL FEATURES. HOW DID YOU BRING THOSE ELEMENTS IN? First, they wanted a big range and hood. And he loved the idea of having all of his pots, pans and knives close at hand, so we allotted the wall to the left of the sink for them. It has a very restaurant-like look. This worked well, because it wouldn’t have made sense to run the cabinetry all the way to the window, and it saved space, too.

FROM TASK TO AMBIENT, YOU’VE GOT THE LIGHTING COVERED. In my kitchens, lighting is always the most important element. It’s not only having the right fixtures and the right amount, but having the flexibility to turn the right ones on and off. You’ve got to be able to set the mood for a romantic evening, for cleaning, for cooking, for entertaining; it must work from morning to night, and you should be able to create an emotion for each occasion.

KITCHEN DESIGNER Matthew Quinn, Design Galleria Kitchen & Bath Studio, 351 Peachtree Hills Ave. NE, Suite 234, Atlanta 30305. (404) 261-0111; designgalleria.net CONTRACTOR Joe Prohaski, Total Home Services CUSTOM CABINETRY Downsview “Verona” by Design Galleria APPLIANCES KitchenAid refrigerator, range and dishwasher; U-Line wine cooler HOOD Custom by Design Galleria COUNTERTOPS “Super White” granite by A&S Marble, fabricated by Holloway Tile & Marble BACKSPLASH TILE “Mercer” in dove crackle, Renaissance Tile & Bath CABINET HARDWARE The Matthew Quinn Collection, ADAC West PLUMBING Kindred stainless sink with Kohler “Vinnata” faucet, PDI Plumbing SCONCES OVER WINDOWS Pimlico in polished nickel, Circa Lighting



Interior Design – Karen Ferguson, Harrison Design Associates
Architecture – William H. Harrison and Dawn M. Bennett, Harrison Design Associates
Kitchen Design Consultant – Shirley McFarlane, McFarlane Design
Builder – AFG Builders


A kitchen designed with mobility and sustainability in mind achieves equally high status for spaciousness and style

THIS KITCHEN IS MODERN, YET COZY. WHAT DID THE HOMEOWNERS DESIRE? Karen Ferguson: When we began this project, they said they wanted a room that was clutter-free, but warm and inviting. Your typical gray-and-white scheme just wasn’t going to work. This cream color, combined with the wood panels, was what I ran with. We kept the walls in a similar tone to keep everything fresh and neutral, with Silestone countertops in a similar palette. The uniformity is what creates the clean, modern look.

YOU DELINEATED EACH PART OF THE ROOM BEAUTIFULLY. Because it was such a long space, we defined each area with a soffit above, and enhanced that with carefully placed lighting.

I LOVE THE SENSE OF OPENNESS. Their son has special needs, so they wanted extra-wide pathways that would allow his wheel chair to move easily. The walkways give it such great flow, and having that large island is really conducive to entertaining. They’re empty nesters now, so they also wanted to make sure that as they aged, they’d be able to stay in the house as long as possible. That’s one way it’s sustainable. Layout-wise, it’s built to last.

BUT THAT’S NOT THE ONLY “GREEN” FEATURE, IS IT? We put the refrigerator on one side of the induction cooktop and the double ovens on the opposite, so the appliances don’t have to work twice as hard to keep cool, or vice versa. The cabinets are made with recycled particle board, with cherry veneer from a renewable forest. We used a blue-green recycled-glass tile on the backsplash, which has great dimension. Its reflectivity almost mimics a window, with the depth that it brings.

IT’S SO ARCHITECTURAL; ADORNMENTS WERE MINIMAL. THE SLEEK HARDWARE AND PARSONS-STYLE STOOLS LOOK SO SMART. It’s funny, because the hardware took me a couple days to figure out. In a kitchen like this, the handles have to have the perfect proportions and the perfect placement; otherwise, it will appear off-balance. I’m so particular about details. I even had the pendants rewired to make them more attractive. Attention to details like these may go unnoticed, but if we had left them alone, your eye would go straight to them.

THAT FLOOR IS ONE GREAT EXAMPLE; IT EXUDES LUXURY AND WARMTH. It’s an antiqued marble, a natural material that didn’t come from far away. The homeowner wanted this kitchen to be super-durable, to be able to handle anything. She tortured a sample of the flooring for six weeks, pouring red wine and lemon juice on it. It held up nicely.

YOU SELECTED AN INDUCTION COOKTOP, WHICH IS SUPER HIGH-TECH. WERE THE OTHER APPLIANCES AS FUTURISTIC?  I love the clean look it creates. With the appliances, we really integrated anything we could integrate. The selections were very current, but after a few years, appliances can date a kitchen right away. Integrating these elements gives this kitchen longevity and timelessness.

INTERIOR DESIGNER Karen Ferguson, Harrison Design Associates, 3198 Cains Hill Pl., Atlanta 30305. (404) 365-7760; harrisondesignassociates.com ARCHITECT William H. Harrison and Dawn M. Bennett, Harrison Design Associates KITCHEN DESIGN CONSULTANT Shirley McFarlane, McFarlane Design BUILDER AFG Builders CABINETS Berkeley Woodworking APPLIANCES Wolf and Sub-Zero COUNTERTOPS Silestone BACKSPLASH & FLOORING Materials Marketing FAUCETS & SINKS KWC CABINETRY HARDWARE Häfele DECORATIVE LIGHTING Flos Fucia