Tag: Best contemporary kitchen design

Universal Design – A New Approach to Kitchen Design

Have you heard of Universal Design? If not, you will! It’s quickly gaining ground as a major design initiative. Universal Design refers to designing products and spaces that are simple and accessible for everyone regardless of their age, abilities or limitations. In the words of Steve Jobs – one of the early adopters of the discipline – “Design is not just what it looks like. Design is how it works.” And kitchen designers today should look at a number of human factors when specifying everything from countertops, flooring and paint color to storage, lighting and plumbing.

Appliance manufacturers are also supporting the goals of Universal Design by developing products like ovens that have built-in temperature probes with large visual displays and audible alerts to insure safer food preparation; dishwashers with customizable height adjustments and full extension racks to eliminate the need to bend down; and microwave drawer ovens for ease in food loading and unloading. Additionally, details such as large handles, easy-to-turn knobs, and bright interior lighting are being designed into products.

The new Monogram French door wall oven combines design and functionality, and features one-hand opening and closing of both doors at the same time for ease of use. New induction cooktops use magnetic energy to transfer heat making them safer to use and easier to clean. Surfaces cool rapidly and surrounding areas do not get hot. And although these features are particularly helpful to those with limited abilities, they are “universal” in their appeal and usefulness.


Induction technology allows instantaneous heat adjustment, assuring exceptional cooking results. In seconds, you can bring a delicate sauce to a boil and then quickly reduce heat to ensure a smooth and rich consistency.


Inspired by the finest restaurant kitchens, Monogram’s French-door wall oven offers professional styling and distinctive touches inside and out. Each oven is built with premium-grade stainless steel and meticulously crafted by hand to make a delicious statement in any kitchen.

Monogram Dream Kitchen Design Contest Winner: Mark White

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 month and will be profiling each of them on Save Room for Design over the next few months.

The second place winner in Best Contemporary Kitchen Design is Mark White from Kitchen Encounters in Annapolis, Maryland.

Mark White, second place winner in the Best Contemporary Kitchen Design category

Mark White, second place winner in the Best Contemporary Kitchen Design category

SRFD: How did you become interested in design?

Mark: My dad was good at repurposing things into something new and useful and my sister always encouraged my creativity. When I was a kid I always liked to see houses under construction and imagine what the finished rooms would be. I even designed and built models of homes from cardboard and other materials when I was young because I thought it was fun.

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

Mark: We helped our clients create a very special high-end kitchen using contemporary custom cabinets in an eclectic waterfront home. The homeowners are very creative and artistic and their vision included work from local artisans to complete the space with unique features. The cabinets are wrapped with beautiful natural edge timbers, custom inlaid glass panels are the focal point behind the range and custom forged hardware resembles icicles on some feature cabinets. The talented carpenters reused beautiful wood paneling on the walls and trim, the open beams were also wrapped in wood and the floors were laid in a large scale herring bone pattern that defines the spaces. A tall wall of finished cabinetry conceals the refrigerators, abundant storage and a matching flush door leads to the large “pantry” which is almost a complete second kitchen with an island.

SRFD: A trend you’re over?

Mark: I don’t like cooking “niches” where the cooktop is surrounded by cabinets or tile work that comes down to the counter on both sides blocking access to adjacent work space.

SRFD: A trend you’re excited about?

Mark: I embrace the increased interest in a clean uncluttered look which is often seen in contemporary designs but can also translate nicely in ”transitional” kitchens.

SRFD: Tell us about your winning project.

Mark: The 80’s kitchen in this contemporary home was in desperate need of an update.

Everything from the old tile floors to the unstylish cabinets needed to be replaced and there was significant opportunity to improve the layout for better function and improved flow to the adjacent areas.

We started by exploring numerous layout options with the clients then combined the preferred design elements from different sketches to create the plan that would meet their needs and fit the space in the best possible way.

The highlights of the new kitchen are:

An added window in the corner increases the panoramic view, brings in more natural light and creates better symmetry around the sink area.

A new passage from the kitchen to the family room was added for a more convenient traffic pattern and a round wooden counter extends from the corner for added seating.

The main work area consists of an L-shaped layout with an island. This arrangement includes the built-in refrigerator with TV above, an elevated dish washer with appliance garage, curved front corner sink cabinet and the cooktop with integrated curved front stainless chimney and glass backsplash.

The island offers plenty of storage, knee space on the inside for the cook and room for three more stools for dining and entertaining. The soft curves make it easy to move around and compliment the overall design very well.

The wall oven is on the back wall with landing space on both sides and extra storage by the sliding doors to the deck.

The large walk-in pantry was reconfigured to allow for a wrap-around bar with sink, refrigerator drawers, additional storage and glass front upper cabinets.

The new wood floors have an inlay at the step to the family room for better visibility and safety. The wood counter and ledge flank the entry from family room to kitchen and match the floors, support post and cylindrical pedestal at the stools.

The entire transformation brought the kitchen up to today’s standards and meets all of the client’s desires for function and style.

Second place winner - Best Contemporary Kitchen Design

Second place winner – Best Contemporary Kitchen Design