14 All-Star Kitchens
These kitchens do it all, all day long—and look good while they're at it
From rise-and-shine to wine-and-dine, the kitchen is every household’s hangout venue, rendezvous point and board room. These kitchens do it all, all day long—and look good while they’re at it.
Photo by Shauna Intelisano
In Evergreen, a distinctive blue “matches the Colorado sky,” designer Angela Otten says of the kitchen she remodeled as “an extension of mountain living.” What was a tiny, cramped space now feels twice as large, by omitting a tiny breakfast table and reorienting the peninsula, she says. “[It now] does its trick to allow people to hang out in the kitchen without being in the way of the cook.”
Photo by Shauna Intelisano
The workspace is lined with alder lower cabinets—with five-piece doors and drawer fronts—stained a soft blue and topped with white-quartz countertops. “The uppers and the tall cabinets have a more modern, slab-style door in a whitewashed wood,” Otten says. Subtle standouts give the space its distinctive look: a custom, barn-wood hood tops the 36-inch JennAir range, and the room’s only decorative light fixture appears in the window-wrapped corner over the sink.
“[The kitchen] is bright and has a ton of light, even with the darker cabinets and blue-tile backsplash,” Otten says. “It feels homey, comfortable, casual—and it begs to be lived in.”
“I like to design a kitchen in zones: cook zone, prep zone, clean zone and entertaining zone. They should work independently, as well as together, with all the necessary tools within reach.” — Kitchen Designer Angela Otten
Photo by Megan Larsen
This striking Cherry Creek North kitchen exudes modern and traditional styles all at once—much like a classic tuxedo. “When we first acquired the project, the cabinets were an abysmal yellow with gold-granite counters,” interior designer Ashley Campbell says. The lighting was terrible, and there was not enough storage, she adds. A high-contrast aesthetic was a “must,” to match the other rooms in the house and the clients’ art, she says. Painted-white cabinets wrap the room and the adjoining pantry/laundry like a crisp, white shirt. The Colorado Yule marble-topped island is made of dark-stained alder and is “more chocolate brown, not black,” kitchen designer Anna Gustason says. “That is what gives the room warmth and texture.”
Rich-black accents pepper the room: pendant lighting from Rejuvenation and black-leather bar stools from Design Within Reach. Painted-black cabinet doors frame glass inserts on the upper cabinets. “Mostly because of the size of the room—it’s pretty small,” Gustason says. “Glass gave us some depth and interest without feeling closed in.” Cabinet pulls from Rocky Mountain Hardware “have texture and a natural-iron look. We used a mix of sizes—15-inch on lowers, 8-inch on uppers,” Gustason says. “The hardware is the cuff links.”
The room’s gleam comes from stainless-steel appliances and accents. A 48-inch Wolf range “doesn’t eat the room alive, because the stainless SubZero fridge balances it, and we chose to not cover the fridge for that reason,” Gustason says. “The custom hood’s stainless banding is polished stainless and echoes the faucet. The kitchen needed that sparkle.”
“Please put your trash in a cabinet. And then install a Servo-Drive. It’s motion technology to open and close drawers automatically. Hands-free! It’s fabulous.” — Pro-Kitchen Designer Anna Gustason
Photo by Kimberly Gavin
“It is simply a wall of cabinets and a generous island, but it’s very efficient and functional,” architect Pavan Krueger says of this Edwards home that, she adds, exudes a modern Southwestern style. Designers Siân Christie and Olivia Grayson note that the homeowners “have a very fashionable sense of design and look to Europe for inspiration.” The Arclinea kitchen—a single wall of glossy slab doors that cover “ample storage to keep everything clean and organized”—and integrated Gaggenau appliances “are both beautiful and sleek,” Grayson says. The island provides stainless-steel countertops for the kitchen’s workspace and seats five between stainless-steel waterfall ends. Rustic larch floors by Arrigoni Woods provide a rich, organic counterpoint to the streamlined kitchen elements.
“The cool floating fireplace harkens back to a midcentury-modern feel,” Krueger says. “It makes the space approachable and inviting.” The designers add, “The Kartell stools add lightness, with a nod toward classic midcentury lines.” Krueger describes the space as beautiful in its simplicity. The designers call it contemporary and minimalist. “Every piece is interesting and speaks for itself,” they say.
“I love Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter, but there are tons of good whites. I like a dramatic color for an accent wall but prefer to keep most of the walls neutral to allow for art, rugs, furniture and lighting to stand out.” — Architect Pavan Krueger
Photo by Susie Brenner
This Lone Tree kitchen offered designers “the unique challenge of mixing modern elements with classic farmhouse design,” co-designer Nikki Holt says. “With the open layout, we wanted to use design elements that were seen throughout the home and make sure the space had plenty of visual and textural interest.” The range wall is anchored with white cabinets and clad in a countertop-to-ceiling backsplash in Daltile’s Brickwork Studio tiles. A sleek, modern range hood is a sculptural centerpiece, flanked by charcoal floating shelves, as well as windows and upper cabinets—which work together to provide pleasing symmetry. The MSI Fossil Gray countertop picks up the tile’s hue and is a seamless transition to the JennAir induction cooktop.
An 8-foot-long island is dressed in contrast to the kitchen’s perimeter. Its color (Mid Continent Cabinetry’s Flint) and marble-look quartz countertop (MSI’s Calacatta Laza) make a contemporary style statement against the more traditional elements of the wall behind. “For an urban feel, we used oversized, matte-black metal LED pendants from Fiess,” Holt says. “Then we balanced out the modern pendants with more-traditional farmhouse bar stools from Orient Express.”
“Aim for a good mix of look and functionality. The look makes you happy, and the function makes you thankful.” — Cabinet Designer Jason Williams
DESIGNERS: Kimberly Timmons-Beutner, Nikki Holt, Becca Clark and Carter Brasch; Kimberly Timmons Interiors
ARCHITECT: Godden | Sudik Architects
BUILDER: Berkeley Homes
CABINETS: Jason Williams, Colorado Classic Cabinets
Photo by Draper White Photography
“Inspired by the client’s rugged, multigenerational cabin located in the Morgedal region of Norway, this project explores relationships between architecture and landscape,” architect Todd Kennedy says. “The interiors are quiet and natural, which allows the views to be the focus.” The kitchen, like the rest of the Aspen-area house, is restrained yet hardworking. Concrete floors ground the white oak that wraps the space as cabinets, walls and ceiling.
The architects created visual contrast—rough-hewn against refined—by using two grades of the wood. “The ceiling and wall paneling are a lesser grade and have more character and a little more texture,” CCY Associate Gage Reese explains. “The cabinet doors are the same material but a higher grade for a cleaner detail. It’s a subtle variation that brings a refined quality to the space.” Caesarstone countertops match closely in color to the floors, and a small, 4-inch backsplash of the solid surface material gives way to glass. “The location of the kitchen was prioritized to connect to some of the best views in the house,” Kennedy says. “The window-as-backsplash concept was our way of blurring the lines between inside and out in that room.”
A 48-inch stainless-steel Kallista sink matches the size and scale of the large window above it. “One thing the clients asked for was a foot actuator for the main sink,” Reese says, “so there’s a pedal in the toe-kick to activate the faucet.” Another subtle touch: Cutouts in the cabinet doors and drawer fronts replace hardware. The kitchen also lacks a standout light fixture—recessed can lights and under-cabinet task lighting fill in when daylight fades. The dining table, however, enjoys a custom chandelier. “The clients wanted a real-flame candle chandelier,” Reese says, so he designed one. “It relates to the house and the sloping of the room.”
“Eliminate cabinetry hardware to allow the natural material of the doors to be the focus. It makes for a utilitarian yet elegant solution.” — CCY Associate Gage Reese
Photo by Shawn O'Connor
Interior designer Pamela Chelle describes this kitchen in Denver’s East Wash Park as “a family-friendly kitchen, elegant enough for entertaining and well-equipped for even the most serious of foodies.” Her goal, she says, was to create a modified version of the typical white kitchen.
To that end, Aspen Leaf Kitchen’s custom cabinets—painted Benjamin Moore’s Simply White—line the perimeter, where dual appliance garages bookend a 48-inch Thermador range. The 10-foot-long island, with storage on both the working and the seating sides, is coated in Benjamin Moore’s Universal Black. “The backsplash, lighting and Emtek brass-finish cabinet hardware all tie into the color palette,” Chelle says, noting the classic, black-and-white pairing with gold accents.
Photo by Shawn O'Connor
The backsplash’s 8-inch-square encaustic-cement tiles from Villa Lagoon usher a graphic pattern into the mix. “The hand-painted tiles provide a nice, imperfect textural element with a chalky, matte finish in contrast to the polished countertops [Della Terra quartz from Arizona Tile] that resemble white marble but have the durability of a low-maintenance, nonporous quartz,” Chelle says.
More sophistication comes in the form of lighting by Kelly Wearstler for Visual Comfort. “The pendants and sconces are white- and black-painted metal, with brass interiors on the shades,” she says. Pendants over the island have crystal-ball finials, and diffusers, “so you are not staring at the light bulb while seated at the island” in counter stools from Serena & Lily, Chelle says. As a whole, the kitchen design shines in a very open floor plan, Chelle says. “It has a traditional farmhouse feel that is warm and inviting, yet polished.”
“I often use quartz for a low-maintenance, workhorse countertop surface, but I incorporate natural stone in the backsplash. This way you get the beauty and reflection of the natural stone on a vertical surface, without the wear and tear that can occur on a horizontal surface.” — Designer Pamela Chelle
Photo by Emily Minton Redfield
More contemporary than midcentury: That’s where interior designer Kim Layne took this 1970s ranch in Denver’s Cherry Hills. “We wanted the remodel to nod to the midcentury time frame but give it a more glam, modern spin,” Layne says. The 300-square-foot kitchen combines gleaming, polished-marble floor tiles from Daltile with Elmwood cabinets in satin-finish walnut on the perimeter and a sleek, high-gloss white island. “We wanted that movement of materials and sheen just to create drama,” Layne says. Kitchen designer Seth Gammel adds, “You can see there is no hardware on most of the cabinets—they are touch-to-open. Everything is much cleaner and more streamlined that way.”
The performance continues to build with the addition of Daltile quartz countertops in a quiet, solid-white waterfall on the island and a spotlight-stealing marble look on the backsplash, perimeter cabinets and peninsula, where the counter-height quartz makes a distinctive backdrop for a bar-height walnut overlay. Both the peninsula and the island offer seating: satin-nickel stools from Horchow with white upholstered seats. “We kept the stools low and sleek,” Layne says. “You can sit in the middle of the kitchen, at the edge or in the casual breakfast area.” No matter the vantage point, the Wolf hood and 60-inch range take center stage, with the walnut-wrapped Sub-Zero refrigerator in a supporting role.
“We lifted the ceiling to give more volume to the space,” Layne explains. “Circular pendants are hung high, so they didn’t interfere with the architecture of the kitchen.” The Bodiam fixtures by Tech Lighting “felt modern and appropriate but not jumping out at you—understated,” she says. The final look is low-key finesse. “The wood with the high-gloss white is a great look,” Gammel says. Layne adds, “I love that dynamic between something very reflective and something more grounded and nature-inspired. The polished-white marble and gloss-white cabinets keep it crisp and upscale—it’s quite a glam house!”
“Soft-close doors and drawers are a low-cost way to really up the game in your kitchen.” — Kitchen Designer Seth Gammel
Photo by Emily Minton Redfield
“Our design mantra was about balance: livable and elegant, neutral and vibrant, classic and current, organic and modern,” designer Molly Bevan says about this 500-square-foot kitchen in the Lowry neighborhood of Denver. She and business partner Kim Blankenburg also had to create a design to work with existing appliances, fixtures and materials—hickory floors, original oak cabinets, granite counters. “We landed on a classic blue-and-gray palette, with tones that work well with the black countertops,” Bevan says.
Benjamin Moore’s Stonington Gray on the cabinets and a backsplash in elongated subway tile—Market Collection Ashbury tile in La Paloma gray—create a neutral canvas, but one with texture. “The tile has a gorgeous, subtle crackle glaze that pools around the edges for a handmade, organic feel, which works well to balance the sleek-black countertops,” Blankenburg says.
The existing island was made-over into a standout element in the space by adding color—Benjamin Moore’s Montpelier blue—to new custom millwork. “It is a very simple but high-impact detail,” Bevan says. Stools from Vanguard Furniture are dressed in a stain-resistant, subtle Duralee print fabric. Cedar & Moss’s Tumwater pendant lights line up along the island’s ledge. “They bring an unexpected nod to midcentury pottery,” Blankenburg says, “which adds some fun and interest to the more traditional setting.”
“Custom millwork can instantly elevate a space. In smaller spaces, it doesn’t have to break the bank, but in large spaces it can be an investment.” — Interior Designer Molly Bevan
Photo by Sean Litchfield
Boulder designer Emily Tucker fully admits her love for painted cabinets. “This serene, blue-green kitchen is such a nice departure from the classic white kitchen while still feeling timeless,” she says. The large space—almost 1,000 square feet—opens to the family room and continues the established color palette, while keeping to the home’s traditional design. Shaker cabinets wrap the room in classic cabinet styling, but the countertops and backsplash—both Calacatta Gold marble—are really the stars of the kitchen. “The complexity of the natural pattern on the marble started as a perfect base, because it adds so much warmth and texture,” Tucker says. “Then we added on the cabinets painted in Farrow & Ball’s No. 22 Light Blue.” The appliances, she says, “are perfectly hidden behind integrated panels, which really makes the space feel seamless.”
The finishing touches bring softness and shimmer to the room: subtly printed Roman shades, eye-catching pendant lanterns from Charles Edwards, and custom bar stools designed by Tucker and crafted by York Street Studio. “The result,” Tucker concludes, “is bright, open and stunning.”
“My favorite design trick for folks not ready to dive into color but who want to get their toes wet: Paint trim or doors. Painted trim is such a fun way to add personality to a room!” — Interior Designer Emily Tucker
DESIGNER: Emily Tucker, Emily Tucker Design
Photo by Timothy Gormley
A 1980s-era ski condo in the Arrowhead area of Edwards is home to this tiny kitchen, just off the property’s entry. “Only 150 square feet—pretty petite,” designer Elisabeth Reed says. But the size didn’t stop her from reimagining the space as “serene, warm and simple.” A neutral color palette, with cabinets painted Sherwin-Williams’ Panda White as the anchor, includes a Caesarstone work surface in polished Frosty Carrina, a countertop-to-ceiling backsplash of Breakwater ceramic tiles by Jeffrey Court and white-oak floating shelving crafted by Palisade artisans Lincoln Cabinets Inc.
“In light of the palette, we needed pops of color, pattern, texture and a little bit of what I call ‘timeless trendy style,’” Reed says. She chose a Rejuvenation sconce, Emtek cabinet hardware in brushed brass and Robert Allen’s Kavali Ogee fabric for a Roman shade above the relocated sink. “I felt strongly that we needed to get the sink to the perimeter of the kitchen, so that the outdoor light could be enjoyed while cleaning up,” Reed says. For Reed, the remodel was successful because it brought the Austin, Texas-based homeowner’s vision to life. “It feels warm and crisp at the same time,” she says.
“I love Benjamin Moore’s White Dove for the trim and ceiling. ‘Fresh’ and ‘clean’—my two favorite words.” — Interior Designer Elisabeth Reed
DESIGNER: Elisabeth Reed, Reed Design Group
BUILDER: Henry Reed, Reed Development Group
Photo by David Lauer
HMH Architecture + Interiors took the road less traveled with this 1970s mountain home that overlooks Boulder’s Bear Peak. “While it is easy to scrape a house, it is much more environmental and historic to work with the existing style,” architect Harvey Hine says. “We believe that the blend we accomplished is better than either old or new on its own.” Hine and the firm’s interior designer Leah Civiok were inspired by “the majestic mountains the house is located in and the clients’ concept of what constitutes a great kitchen,” Hine says.
This home celebrates the kitchen in the ultimate open plan. “It is located in the center of the great room and is open on all sides, allowing for socializing in all directions—similar to a social cooking school,” Hine explains. A pair of islands provide about 22 feet of counter space and lower-cabinet storage. An AGA Marvel induction range serves as the midpoint for one island, while a deep sink anchors the other. “A nearby wall is home to full-height appliances, pantry storage and a bar that serves the dining space,” Civiok says. “Since this kitchen is in the middle of the dining and living spaces, it was important that it be beautifully integrated and not have large appliances that stand out, so all of the appliances have paneled fronts and matching hardware.”
“[The kitchen materials] are true—steel, bronze, concrete and wood,” Hine says. Civiok adds, “We created a balance of raw industrial materials and softer natural materials full of texture. And we looked to really capture the craft behind each finish—the stone counters are leathered, the metal welding is exposed, and the wood ceiling has a dense, repetitive pattern, where you can really experience the artistry.” Blackened-metal pendant lights suspended from the wood ceiling have bronze interiors and glow while echoing the steel-and-bronze cabinets. “Having the kitchen centrally located provides a beautiful balance,” Civiok says.
“I don’t shy away from mixing metals. This space incorporates aged bronze, blackened steel and stainless steel, and the mix of tones really works and feels great.” — Interior Designer Leah Civiok
Photo by Michelle Gardner
“I love black accents,” says Doris Pearlman, founder and lead designer of Possibilities for Design—and owner of this Greenwood Village home. “The black trim throughout is what moves this 1980s contemporary house into 2020.” Architect Kelsey Nichols was brought in to solve “the classic kitchen problem of square footage dedicated to spaces that are not frequently used.” To keep the homes original footprint, Nichols relocated the adjacent laundry and borrowed space from the oversized dining room. “That added natural light and capitalized on the gorgeous property outside," Nichols says. "I also eliminated the south-wall cabinets and the small window over the sink, in favor of new patio doors and a new patio beyond.” Pearlman was thrilled. “We moved all the function from the south wall to the new island: a Blanco Diamond double-bowl sink with a Kohler Tournant semi-professional faucet, dishwasher and trash compactor, and seating for four at the end,” she says.
The island and perimeter counters are in waterfall-slab Macaubas quartzite. The north wall is a function fiesta, with a beverage bar, double wall ovens, counter space and the refrigerator. The east wall has a commercial-grade Wolf range and a custom hood. Its gold trim echoes the Berenson Swagger cabinet hardware and thin-framed counter stools that tuck under the island.
“Use black very judiciously, but use it. Black must be placed strategically to be visible but not dominate.” — Interior Designer Doris Pearlman
DESIGNER: Doris Pearlman and Lindsay Huhn, Possibilities for Design
ARCHITECT: Kelsey Nichols, KD Project Design, LLC
KITCHEN DESIGNER: Mike Thulson, JM Kitchen & Bath
BUILDER: Mike Denton, Malibu Remodeling
Photo by Emily Minton Redfield
In this Cherry Hills home, the dining table and chandelier were already in place—both from Restoration Hardware. “The combination of classic and rustic was just stunning, and those two pieces, along with the dining room’s elegant black-and-white wallpaper, were my inspiration for what the new kitchen would look like,” designer Melissa Fitzgerald says. “I wanted to mix classic design materials, while keeping the space feeling clean and modern.” But first, she had to straighten out a few things. “The cooktop was on an angled wall, and the island mirrored it,” she explains. There was not space to expand, but straightening the wall and island “changed the space completely” and allowed Fitzgerald to create a focal-point wall with a La Cornue black-and-brass range and hood, and a countertop-to-ceiling quartz backsplash. Rather than pendant lights that would block the view of the wall, she chose single-light rectangular brass sconces that hang above walnut open shelves.
While the island and perimeter countertops are the same material as the backsplash (Calacatta Novus by Colorquartz), “butcher-block countertops on each side of the range and the prep sink hidden under the butcher-block piece on the right make this area really functional,” Fitzgerald says. The island also has a surprise: “The countertop is heated, so on a cold Colorado morning, while enjoying their coffee, the owners can sit in the Serena & Lily bistro chairs and rest their arms on the warm countertop,” she says. The tile floor—AKDO Passage Modernista White from Decorative Materials—is also heated and offers a contemporary graphic pattern that enlivens black cabinets. “We chose a painted, one-piece MDF door, which is much more durable for Colorado’s dry climate,” Fitzgerald says. Every material, she says, “was chosen not only for beauty but also durability, as this family has two young girls and they live in their kitchen, so it had to be kid-proof but also entertaining-friendly.”
“Don’t be afraid to mix woods, metals, stones and patterns, but make how you use each well-thought-out so they live well together.” — Kitchen Designer Melissa Fitzgerald
KITCHEN DESIGNER: Melissa Fitzgerald, Exquisite Kitchen Design
BUILDER: Mark Harrell, Harrell & Associates Ltd
Photo by Scott Hasson
Tucked into a Denver Country Club Colonial (yep, you read that right), this 18-by-25-foot room is “a kitchen-living space,” designer Jed MacKenzie says. “A place where family and friends gather, prepare food and dine together.” Furnished with an old French farm table and leather chairs from Spain, the room allows guests to assemble near the pizza oven at one end of the room or spill out onto the patio through a wall of French doors. “The rustic table and chairs are nice counterpoints to the quiet kitchen,” MacKenzie says. The calmness of the cookspace comes from its focus on simple forms and materials. The cabinets are Bulthaup B3, with a matte-lacquer anthracite finish (gray/brown in color), stainless-steel toe-kicks and signature Bulthaup handles. The island’s top and the range wall’s backsplash are Carrara marble fabricated by Brekhus, while the countertops flanking the commercial-style Thermador range are stainless steel by Weld-Wright Fabricators.
Photo by Scott Hasson
Near the range, large drawers hold pots, pans, cooking utensils and cutlery; plates and bowls reside in drawers near the refrigerator. “We used the table side of the island for additional drawers that are touch-to-open [no hardware] latches,” MacKenzie says of the low-profile storage options. The working side of the island incorporates a microwave, trash compactor and dishwasher. “The island was too long for a single slab of marble,” MacKenzie explains, “so instead of a seam down the middle, we did one near each end and inlaid stainless steel to add character.”
Additional personality comes with the homeowner’s art: The painting over the pizza oven (wood box and surround fabricated by Weld-Wright) is by Willy Matthews of the William Matthews Studio in Denver, and displayed on built-in shelves opposite the oven is pottery by Denis Vibert of the Pine Tree Kiln and Studio in Maine. The low-key nature of the room continues with the choice of lighting. “No ‘wow’ lighting here,” MacKenzie says—only a couple of period-look sconces by Hubbardton Forge. “Keeping the space free and open was the goal. The matte-lacquer cabinetry finish is grounding. The stainless appliances are the business without taking center stage,” MacKenzie says. “It’s subtle and understated.”
“Authentic accessories in a kitchen are always nice. I like to find handmade cutting boards when I travel.” — Kitchen Designer Jed Mackenzie
KITCHEN DESIGNERS: Jed MacKenzie and William Landeros, Bulthaup Denver by Kitchen Distributors
ARCHITECT: Jocelyn Childs
Photo by Mick Follari
In a tiny downtown-Boulder kitchen, Belgian white oak open shelves by Aspen Leaf Kitchens float above a honed Carrara marble countertop and against a backdrop of hand-glazed Ann Sacks subway tile—both from Brekhus Tile & Stone. The surfaces, designer Mika Woyda says, hold items both practical and decorative, from local artists. “The cutting board is by a Denver maker, and on the shelves are things from two of my favorite home stores in Boulder: Island Farm and Cedar & Hyde Mercantile,” she says.