“What began as a small project to make over the aesthetics of one wall adjacent to their kitchen turned into a complete remodel for Michael and Karen King. “We had a pony wall with an oak rail,” he says of the spark that led to the undertaking. “We took the rail off, added cutouts, and then installed lighting underneath each of the cutouts. There was no choice after that; we had to upgrade the first floor.”
Michael, a designer by trade, was up to the task, though he did bring in fellow designer Terri Hosken, of Design Beyond the Box, to assist in the crucial planning stage. “I don’t have AutoCAD, and I needed a way to entire visually communicate things, like a tall bank of wall ovens. She understood our vision from the beginning,” he praised. Craving an ultra-modern, open plan, the Kings removed all of the walls between the kitchen and dining room to create one large space. Even with this blank slate, however, integrating everything on their wish list into their 1,500-square-foot condo was a challenge—though one that he relished. “I wanted people to realize that you can have a functional, spacious kitchen in a small area,” Michael explained. “A lot of times design magazines feature huge kitchens, live ” I wanted people to realize that you can have a functional, spacious kitchen in a small area.”
but many people don’t that way” ultra-modern
He did know that Alaskans lived with weather conditions that could lead to warped cabinets. Fortunately, his industry connections led him to Toronto-based NEFF “When I started looking at contemporary cabinets, I couldn’t find any that were well made and could hold up to the dry Alaskan air. That’s when I gave NEFF a call. Because it’s a Canadian company, I knew they had a lot of experience with cabinetry design that wouldn’t have that problem.” Though the cabinetry is unique, it’s the in-floor lighting that has emerged as the ultimate conversation starter in the Kings’ home. “As you walk through the front door and into main hallway toward the kitchen, there are 10 in-floor lights that are purely aesthetic. My wife and I entertain a lot, and we wanted to create a dramatic effect. It worked; it’s definitely one of the most talked-about elements of the whole remodel.” It certainly wasn’t the easiest, however. Michael’s idea required his building team to work a few miracles. “The tile contractor custom cut 12 x 24 tiles to receive the four-inch square glass tiles. Then the contractor had to fabricate a box using galvanized metal from stove piping,” he says. The result is a home that feels more New York than Alaska. “Our kitchen is simply an alternative to doing a traditional Alaska-style interior,” he asserts, pointing out that the key to his success is an overall cohesive design. “Everything integrates, and the materials were chosen for that reason. For instance, I used glass tile around the fireplace because it’s also in the backsplash. The concept of polished surfaces that reflect natural light was also used a lot.” Michael says that thanks to general contractor Dan Dunbar and electrician Bryan Fimpel, the Kings are living like, well, kings in their spacious new kitchen. “I got everything I wanted and more: a beautiful kitchen that’s functional and one that I know is going to be durable.”
Allen & Petersen Cooking & Appliance Center is proud to continue to be the sponsor of the Alaska’s Best Kitchens Design Contest. We know that it takes a lot of energy, foresight, organization and imagination to create the kitchens that grace these pages. We would like to thank those who took the time to share their beautiful kitchens with us.
I am continually amazed by the creativity of the designs we review. Each entry showcases different elements used together to turn a space that either didn’t exist, or that was old and tired, into something totally fresh and customized to the tastes of those that will enjoy the new kitchen.
It is fascinating to think of all of the little choices that are made in putting together a kitchen: from the color of the walls to the flooring, the cabinets, the countertops, the appliances, the light fixtures, and even the knobs on the cabinets. In addition, there are the decisions that must be made to make all of these pieces work together. We admire the hours upon hours that are spent analyzing and thinking about what would work best and the courage it takes to move forward and do it.
Again, we would like to thank those who shared their creations and we look forward to what the next contest entries will bring. So, if a new kitchen is in your future, please take a moment to share it with us.
Leon Barbachano CEO/ General Manager Allen & Petersen Cooking & Appliance Center