2020 Best Kitchens Over $225,000



Family Legacy

Susan Brunstrum, Studio Brunstrum, Chicago, IL


Purchased by a son of the original owners, this three-bedroom penthouse at the Four Seasons in Chicago was a family legacy – and the full-scale remodel needed to take into consideration both its history and the homeowners’ specific needs. These included catering to three young children, acting as a space for entertaining professionally and hosting philanthropic gatherings.

Since entertaining was key, designer Susan Brunstrum began by replacing the existing island with a peninsula that would better facilitate traffic flow and allow for multiple people to prep food simultaneously.

Three bar stools at the peninsula also provide a quick dinner spot for the children, while a three-quarter waterfall of the Iceberg Quartzite peninsula countertops not only hides much-needed outlets, it also simplifies clean up.

To personalize the space, Brunstrum – who partnered with contractor Gary Hattam – worked with the couple to custom design insets for the Abruzzo cabinetry, including a knife rack, pull-out cutting board and cabinetry dedicated to their favorite appliances.

In deference to the children, the refrigerator was painted with a metallic paint so the kids’ artwork could be displayed.

Metal details on the hood and cabinet feet keep the kitchen cohesive with the rest of the home, as does the continuity of the cabinetry color throughout.

Finally, the kitchen was visible from the entrance of the home, so the floorplan needed to be aesthetically pleasing from multiple vantage points without blocking the view from the entrance. To do this, the designer transformed the existing closeted hallway leading into the kitchen into an open bar area/butler’s pantry. This has the added benefit of allowing for additional counterspace and workspace for staff when hosting parties.

The space is finished off with Chadwick’s limestone flooring, Fineline backsplash, Kohler sinks and Rohl faucets.




Luxe Kosher Kitchen

Christopher Grubb, Arch-Interiors Design Group, Beverly Hills, CA


A larger footprint, an expansive island, improved functionality and more natural light were all on the wish list for this Beverly Hills family of five, who charged Christopher Grubb with the renovation of their kitchen. The clients frequently entertain, and also keep a kosher household, so the kitchen needed to feature two of most of the appliances, prep areas and sinks.

Opening up the kitchen presented challenges, as did
creating the opening for new double doors from the kitchen
to the den.

To provide a modern yet elegant focal point, Grubb designed a large, furniture-style island with sumptuously carved legs, offsetting this with such casual elements as the porcelain tile with interesting linear cuts and the ceramic harlequin pattern backsplash, as well as the area behind the range with a classic but fun 3D relief effect.

The off-white custom cabinetry creates a light and bright vibe, and expanded windows bring in plenty of natural light. The Wolf range, oven, microwave and microwave drawers, Sub-Zero refrigerator and Asko dishwasher enhance functionality.




Contemporary Appeal

Kevin Mullen & Mark Cayen, Empire Kitchen & Bath, Calgary, AB


Looking to update their kitchen to reflect more contemporary sensibilities, this empty nester couple came to Kevin Mullen and Mark Cayen for help. With a passion for culinary pursuits and entertaining, the clients needed improved functionality along with some ‘wow power.’

Because the clients wanted to maintain the design flair of the Arizona firm they’d worked with previously, the Canada-based design firm had to work across the border in a collaborative effort with Wiseman & Gale Interiors.

To open up the kitchen, a second island was removed, while full-height Downsview custom cabinetry with drawers and glass doors was used on one wall to make up for the lost storage.

The custom La Cornue range and island create a dramatic focal point, featuring black metal with stainless steel trim, complemented by striking black tile on the walls. The dark trim is also carried through the other rooms to help integrate the spaces.

A Modern Metals custom hood with Wolf blower, Breccia Imperial Granite countertops and Wolf and Sub-Zero appliances finish off the bespoke look.


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