Monogram Dream Kitchen Contest Winner: Karen Smith

The Monogram Dream Kitchen Design Contest was created to celebrate the imagination and creative vision inherent in beautiful kitchen design. All designs were required to integrate Monogram appliances and were judged across several award categories. We announced the winners last year and will be profiling each of them on Save Room for Design over the next few months.

The third place winner in Best Traditional Kitchen Design is Karen Smith from Integri Kitchens in Alberta, Canada.

Karen Smith, third place winner in the Best Traditional Kitchen Design category of the Monogram Dream Kitchen Design Contest

Karen Smith, third place winner in the Best Traditional Kitchen Design category of the Monogram Dream Kitchen Design Contest

SRFD: How did you become interested in design?

Karen: Well I do remember as a kid constantly changing my room around. I got my start in the kitchen business when I decided to renovate my own kitchen. I had a friend who worked in the kitchen business for many years whom I was working with on our renovation. During the course of the project she turned to me and said, “You should come and work for us, you’d be really good at this.” It was about a year later that I decided it was time for a change, went and spoke to the company she worked for, and the rest is history. That was in 1991 and as I look back, I can’t believe where the time has gone.

SRFD: Tell us about a recent project you really enjoyed.

Karen: I have to say that I enjoy every project. They all look amazing when they are finished and it’s so rewarding to have clients say how much they are loving their space. Whatever space you’re involved in, whether it be a kitchen, bathroom, closet, office, clients have different criteria they want met and sometimes they don’t know what they want, so you’re guiding them through the process. It’s definitely a team effort to see a project to fruition, from the clients, to contractors, designers, suppliers, and our own support team, job coordinators and installers. I think the goal of everybody involved in a project is to create a beautiful, functional space for the client that they’re happy with and proud of. I’ve met and worked with many great people over the years. What’s the expression … “It takes a village to raise a child” … it definitely takes a team to build a kitchen!

SRFD: A trend you’re over?

Karen: I don’t know that I’m necessarily over it but I’m concerned about the amount of grey out there. We’ve gone from dark charcoals and browns to greys. I do love many of the grey hues, but there’s just seems to be so much of it and I’m wondering if it is going to be a very short-lived trend.

SRFD: A trend you’re excited about?

Karen: I’m loving the touches of bling and glitz that are so prevalent these day. It’s so glamourous and sparkly ….. Combined with the amount of white cabinetry we’re doing, spaces are opening up and becoming light and bright and airy. We live in the north and the days are so short and nights so long that the brightness tends to lift the spirit.

SRFD: Tell us about your winning project.

Karen: This was obviously a great project to work on. The homeowners were looking for a comfortable, wide-open space to entertain in and to just hang out in and have a glass of wine. They like a traditional look off-set by the professional look of the appliances. The homeowners didn’t want to add square footage to the home, and by eliminating a large pantry, we were able to gain the space we needed to fulfill their wish list.  We’ve got a wall of tall cabinets which incorporates a 8” deep pantry, taking advantage of a space in front of a chimney, a bar space with textured glass pocket doors, as well as tons of convenient storage, stacked ovens and warming drawer. The built-in fridge ensures a clear walk-way, and rangetop and tons of drawers ensure an efficient cook centre with great ventilation. The rangetop is framed by narrow pull-outs  for spices, oils and vinegars. A touch of interest was added with the stacked glass doors flanking the rangetop area and an appliance garage with a lift-up door for storage was incorporated at the end. The main sink sits in front of the new, larger window that was installed. The huge island takes advantage of the space by following the flow of the room. It has a bar/prep sink, a beverage fridge and a wine fridge, garbage and recycle bins and still more drawers … The showstopper is the round stacked granite counter at the end with a clean edge, supported by  a round base covered with a ragged copper pattern.  The thicker edge on the counter adds some definition to the island without having to change the height of the stools. This keeps the seating at a comfortable height and gives the sense of a more intimate space. This project was a combined effort by many talented people, starting with the homeowners, to achieve the amazing end result.

pic_0007_karen smith


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