The Magnificent Nine From Our Kitchen Issue

Kitchens with splash, panache, and a little something extra

Cooking. Eating. Sharing. Gathering. Here, we offer nine inspired takes on the place we do this most. 

Photo: Gibeon Photography

Kitchen design by Carolyn Samuelson, William Ohs

“Architecture and design are in my bones,” says Kirsten Schmit, marketing and product manager at Decorative Materials. So when she and her husband Chad began thinking about the interiors of their new-build home in Aspen, it’s only natural that they’d want the kitchen to be a knockout.  “We are really social—I’d say we have guests in our home every week—so we wanted to make sure that the house was comfortable and the kitchen was seamlessly integrated with the dining and living areas,” says Schmit, who worked with Samuelson.

Casual comfort starts in the middle of the kitchen with what the Schmits call “the egg”: an oval table (topped with Valley Gold Vein marble that was mined in Marble, Colo.) that “has become the conversational hub of the house.” The egg, which is surrounded by three Design Within Reach stools, backs up to a curved wall clad in white marble Cloud Nine penny rounds (available at Decorative Materials); it’s part of an extended island topped with Caesarstone Labos Blue, which is used for prep and holds a second sink and dishwasher.

But taking center stage in the kitchen is the CornueFé dual-fuel range (gas on top, electric in the ovens), a housewarming gift from Kirsten’s “very sweet” mom. “This is their trademark look: stainless steel with brass trim,” Schmit says. “It’s so beautiful—it definitely encourages me to cook.” The range is topped with an oversize hood of the same materials. “We wanted a real statement piece that would ground this side of the house,” she says.

Upping the wow factor is a Petite Herald Waterjet Mosaic backsplash made of Calacatta Oro marble, frosted glass, and brass (from Decorative Materials). “To me, the backsplash is the finishing touch of a kitchen—the showpiece,” Schmit says. “This kitchen is a quiet, clean space, so this was an opportunity to bring in a pattern that ties in the white marble of the egg and the brass of the range and hood.”

Facing the windows, which look out over a mature aspen grove (and in the winter, views of Aspen and Sopris mountains), the oatmeal-colored cabinets (from William Ohs) are topped with Caesarstone Lagos Blue countertops, a worry-free surface for a young family that likes to entertain. The floors are equally easy-care: The large-format Pietra del Nord Belgian bluestone (from Decorative Materials) “won’t scratch or stain, and they provided a really clean palette to work from,” says Schmit.

Presiding over it all is Apsara, a wooden Hindu and Buddhist deity from Cambodia. “When I saw her, she just spoke to me,” Schmit says. “She was the first thing we purchased for the house. I love her organic nature, and the way she brings a Zen energy into the house. She is a welcoming goddess.”


Photo: Damon Searles Photography

Photo: Damon Searles Photography

Kitchen design by Kira Koldeway, HighCraft Builders

If these walls could talk, they’d have more than a century’s worth of tales to tell. This kitchen, situated in the heart of a 1907 Queen Anne cottage in Fort Collins’ Old Town, took a 100-year-old space and brought it into the 21st century. “The owners wanted to maintain as much of the home’s original character as possible,” says design manager Koldeway of Fort Collins-based HighCraft Builders. That meant revivifying the cottage’s original Douglas-fir floors (unearthed from layers of oak and vinyl flooring) and carefully removing, preserving, and reattaching the original baseboards and ornate door casings. The “throwback” butter-yellow Viking stove and hood carry through the vintage feel, complemented by artisan-glazed mosaic tile backsplashes from Ann Sacks, yellow-veined soapstone countertops, and Shaker-style wood cabinets with reeded-glass panes.

To give the kitchen a retro-industrial touch, Koldeway hung Cast-Iron Barn Door Trolley Pendant Lights (from Restoration Hardware) from a reclaimed-wood beam over the peninsula. And to provide light, the kitchen opens onto a library-turned-sitting room that overlooks a capacious backyard complete with a chicken coop. “This is one of the most eclectic homes we’ve ever had the pleasure of helping design,” says Koldeway. “Every element completely speaks to the client’s personality.”


Photo: Emily Minton Redfield

Photo: Emily Minton Redfield

Kitchen design by Angela Otten, William Ohs

“Authentic Craftsman detailing that looks like it was original to the house”—that was Otten’s goal when she created the kitchen of this 1908 house in Denver’s Country Club neighborhood. She began by using quartersawn oak (a hallmark of the Arts & Crafts period) not only in the cabinetry around the stove and in the island but also in the floors and the box beams on the ceiling, the latter of which offer their own symmetry by lining up exactly with the stove hood and with the cabinets that bookend the leaded-glass windows.

Carrying out the Arts & Crafts feel are schoolhouse-style pendant lamps over the island, which is topped with Carrara marble. Otten added simple, geometric design elements for the inset cabinet doors (which sit flush with the frame, with exposed hardware) and door casings, including the mullion detailing on the glass cabinets and refrigerator panels.

Finally, by insetting the Wolf range within its own cubby and hiding the hood within an oak frame that is part of the architecture, “we created a true hearth; you could imagine even having a fireplace in there,” Otten says.


Photo: Kimberly Gavin

Kitchen design by Mary Knape & Kelly Zibell, Knape & Zibell Interior Design

This contemporary, light-filled kitchen in Denver’s Observatory Park mixes and matches surfaces in surprising ways: The warm maple cabinets on the perimeter are topped with black granite and accented with tortoise glass subway tiles (on the far wall next to the sink). The center island is capped with a thick Caesarstone (a versatile, man-made surface more durable than granite and easier to maintain because it does not need sealing) in a rich honey color. The Calligaris stools (available at Charles Eisen & Associates) are made of zebrawood, with low backs so they don’t detract from the kitchen’s clean lines. But the pièce de résistance is the beautiful reeded-glass mosaic tiles (from Decorative Materials) that accent the end of the island and the area over the stovetop. “The clients were looking for a mountain-modern feel, but we wanted to add an edgy design detail,” says Zibell. “Some of these tiles are tortoise, some a warm golden color, some mirrored. And the mirrors are repeated in the bottom of the chandelier [from Currey & Company].”


Photo: Robert Kittila

Kitchen design by Rachelle Addoms

In a midcentury modern kitchen loaded with drama—16-foot-high vaulted ceilings and a wall of glass leading out to a covered patio that dates back to 1954—the wall of sleek blue cabinetry (from Kabi) is the star of the show. “I wanted a ’50s color that really popped,” says homeowner Rachelle Addoms. “And I really love blue. It’s one of those colors I feel I can grow old with.” Addoms, a realtor in Denver who had redone a number of homes before buying this W. C. Muchow house in the Wellshire neighborhood, tamed the blue with an inset of beige cabinetry around the sink as well as a tan-and-white Caesarstone island. “Our island is 114 inches long, and Caesarstone comes in 96-inch slabs, so I did a racing stripe on both ends of the island and waterfalled it down the ends so it looks like a piece of furniture,” she says. That wasn’t the only place where necessity was the mother of invention: For a variety of architectural reasons, the original industrial-size stove hood could not be moved, “so I covered it with a roughed-up silver to match the stainless-steel appliances,” says Addoms. “In this room, it feels very authentic; I think everything plays well together.” For lighting, she chose whimsical artichoke pendant lamps from Lamps Plus, which hang from custom blue metal arms created by International Ironworks of Denver, and added orange stools for another pop of color. But for Addoms, the best part of the kitchen is what lies beneath: “My favorite thing is the terrazzo floors, which have flecks of marble, tan glass, and mother-of-pearl in them that reflect blues, pinks, and browns. It feels like you are walking on a beach.”


Photo: Teri Fotheringham Photography

Photo: Teri Fotheringham Photography

Kitchen design by Chris Awadalla, Sanctuary Kitchen Design, LLC

“I wanted to blend rustic materials with new ones,” says Awadalla, who chose reclaimed wood from a circa-1930s Wisconsin machine shed (available at Front Range Timber, starting at $6 a square foot) for the kitchen of this 1970s-era North Boulder home. “I love the play of that weathered wood against the stainless-steel farmhouse sink, the crisp Caesarstone countertops (in Frosty Carrina), and the white inset-construction Shaker-style cabinets. It creates a great effect.” Awadalla dressed up the area around the sink with Carrara marble laid in a herringbone pattern and accented with 3-inch-thick floating wooden shelves. Finally, he added bold hardware on the cabinets. “In transitional spaces—which I think of as bridging modern and traditional, with clean lines and understated, square moldings—I like to add hardware that really pops, so this kitchen has big, chunky, 8-inch-long polished-chrome handles,” he says. “I think of it as the jewelry of the kitchen.”


Photo: Michael Kaskel Photo

Photo: Michael Kaskel Photo

Kitchen design by Andrew Williams, currently of Andrew Williams Designs

Nothing says “period piece” like an antique stove. Case in point: the 40-inch refurbished mint-green O’Keefe & Merritt stove that presides over the kitchen in this Louisville home. “The homeowner really had her heart set on designing the kitchen around that piece,” says Williams, “and it became the focal point. The stove is what made this a true period kitchen.” To up the game, Williams, who worked with Westmark Design and Construction, added a farmhouse sink. He topped the simple Shaker cabinets (from Holiday Kitchens), which include seeded-glass panels and old-fashioned cup pulls, with glossy, richly stained alderwood counters. The adjacent dining area—painted a daffodil yellow—has beadboard (some of it original) on the ceilings and lower walls and is bathed in light not only from the windows but also from an opening to the house’s upper level. “The design elements aren’t necessarily new,” Williams says, “but somehow when they came together in this kitchen, it was perfect.”


Photo: David Patterson

Photo: David Patterson

Kitchen design by David Hintgen, DH Interiors

Contemporary but not cold. Pretty but practical. Those were the traits that Hintgen was going for in this kitchen in Denver’s Hilltop neighborhood. “The linear wood grain makes the cabinetry [from the German company Leicht] more inviting,” he says, “and the organic feel of the countertops [a virtually indestructible marble-like porcelain by Neolith] softens the angular, clean shapes.” Large-format (24-inch-square) Tivoli Silver porcelain tiles from Artistic Tile were laid not only in this space but also throughout the house “and on such a grand scale, they look like real stone,” says Hintgen. As a counterpoint to the hard edges and clean lines of the cabinetry and countertops, Hintgen added circular LED Corona pendant lights by Sonneman and striking faucets by KWC. The stools, covered in white vinyl, are from Soho Concepts. “I try to make projects as timeless as possible,” says Hingten. “I wanted this kitchen to be beautiful and do some fun things without being trendy.”


Photo: David Lauer

Photo: David Lauer

Kitchen design by Miranda Cullen, Duet Design group

How do you add warmth to a white-on-white kitchen? That was the challenge faced by Duet Design Group in its redo of the kitchen of this midcentury modern home in the Green Oaks area of Greenwood Village. “The client wanted all white: walls, cabinets, and countertops,” says Cullen, lead designer. “But she also wanted to juxtapose old and new. By mixing finishes and textures—the glossy cabinets [from BKC Kitchen and Bath], the Caesarstone countertops [in Frosty Carrina], and the matte walls—we were able to get a warmer, eclectic feel.”

The addition of different reflective surfaces—the hammered-iron pendant lights accented with brass (from Arteriors), the industrial-look metal French T-Back Stools (from Restoration Hardware), and the shiny Kohler ProMaster faucet—also helped warm up the space. The homeowners liked rustic, too, so the final touch was the addition of reclaimed European white oak by DuChâteau, supplied through the Floor Club, in 7-inch-wide floor planks and wide ceiling beams. “This kitchen is clean and contemporary, but it’s also really inviting,” says Cullen.

Categories: Kitchens