6 award-winning projects and showrooms that will inspire your next improvement project.

Diane Coker winner of NKBA Service AwardBack and bigger than ever, the Designs of Distinction Awards by the National Kitchen & Bath Association Georgia Chapter showcased top projects by some of the chapter’s leading members. Designed in compliance with strict criteria determined by NKBA, these works were studied and scored by the NKBA GA/SC Coastal Chapter in Savannah, Georgia.

My Home Improvement proudly served as the exclusive media sponsor for the Designs of Distinction Awards held on Oct. 10 at Summerour Studio. In addition to the six kitchen, bathroom, and showroom categories, five special category awards were presented. A standing ovation was given to Diane Coker (above), the first recipient of the Service Award, in recognition for her contribution to the design community. Other winners included Simone Feldman, CKBD, CAPS (Merit Award); Jim Meloy, CKD (Ken Thelen/Harry Hurt Award: Best Technical Design); Dee Bell (Student Award); and Traditions in Tile and Stone (Judges Choice Award).

See this year’s winning projects. Congratulations to all!

 

NKBA Designs of Distinction Large Kitchen winner

This ’70s Decatur home presented its owners with the opportunity to revamp an outdated galley kitchen into an elegant entertaining space. Enter Lisa Brooks, owner and principal designer of LB Designs, with 19 years of experience. A crisp white theme was chosen to match the couple’s desire for a bright and airy kitchen. Details such as custom heightened cabinetry, like that above the custom panel refrigerator, were also chosen to complement the 6-foot-plus heights of the homeowners. Appliances like a convection steam oven were also installed to feed homeowner Bob Gunkel’s passion for gourmet cooking. He says, “Every week, I bring my niece and nephew over for ‘Bob’s Night’ and cook different meals for them to show them there is more food to enjoy than just chicken nuggets.” To complete the dining destination, a reclaimed Baccarat chandelier beloved by the couple was selected as the focal point above the island.

 

NKBA Designs of Distinction Award - Medium Kitchen winner

Wanting to create the perfect hub for casual gatherings, this Marietta family of three—and a dog—enlisted the help of Stephanie Ives, co-owner and vice president of Custom Dwellings, Inc. Inspired by the clients’ love of clean lines and the wife’s rural upbringing, Ives used her 20 years of industry experience to plan a space that would be both functional and aesthetically pleasing. Utilizing natural elements was a must for the family. Conceptualized as a modern farm table, the oversized island with a walnut countertop is a primary work space for canning, daily food preparation, and entertaining. Workflow was also key. The family needed a pantry that wasn’t detached from the kitchen. Ives transformed an unused gun closet off the dining room, into a pantry suitable for supporting the kitchen.

 

NKBA Designs of Distinction Award small kitchen winner

Visions for dream spaces don’t always come easy, but that was not the case for this homeowner. From cabinet colors to hardware, she had it all planned out. The only missing component? A designer to pull it all together. Trudy McGinnis, owner of McGinnis Group, LLC, helped this Marietta homeowner implement her ideas to create a functional space that maintained the loft’s original look. To help maximize the limited space, the longtime designer installed roomy custom cabinets with super Susans (a turntable mounted to a shelf) for better accessibility of items stored in the back. Downsizing to a single-bowl sink, a detail McGinnis often incorporates into her projects, increased counter space. Another space-saving signature tactic of McGinnis’ was to install a wastebasket underneath the sink. A final request from the homeowner—and the perfect personal finishing touch—was an aesthetic display of her cherished teapot collection.

 

NKBA Designs of Distinction Award Large Bathroom Winner

What started as fixing a simple shower leak resulted in a complete overhaul of this couple’s master bathroom. The Doraville homeowners yearned for a space to unwind in after a long day and entrusted Cailin M. Thelen, owner of Thelen Designs, LLC, alongside Oneida Builders, Inc., to make their dream oasis a reality. The top priority? A large shower with multiple water sources for that spa-like feel. The homeowners selected tiles that added visual intrigue, such as the Tantrum collection tile in Blue Bayou by Sonoma Tilemakers, which resembles cracked glass, and the wavy Almond Muretto tile from the Castlestone collection by Piemme. Attention to organization was also given—the custom cherrywood cabinetry by Schuon Kitchens and Baths, Inc. features pullout drawers complete with interior outlets.

 

NKBA Designs of Distinction Award - Overall showroom winner

Kimberly Warren, CKD, CAPS, owner of Chestatee Kitchen & Bath, fell in love with design when her father took her to a National Kitchen & Bath Association show in Chicago at 21. Later, having earned her degree in interior design from Purdue University and working 20-plus years for other design firms, Warren decided it was time to branch out. She teamed up with her husband, Billy Warren, a licensed residential general contractor, in 2012 to create Chestatee Kitchen & Bath. What started as a less than 1,000-square-foot showroom has quickly grown.
In January 2019, the pair (and four-legged colleague Cooper) moved the company to a new 3,400-square-foot space in North Georgia.
A one-stop shop for full kitchen and bathroom remodels, this locale features a variety of the latest design trends like two-tone cabinets and Cambria® quartz countertops.

 

NKBA Designs of Distinction Award - Showroom vignette winner

In collaboration with fellow designers at Schuon Kitchens and Baths, Inc., seasoned designers Lisa Grider and Marc Tyson envisioned a display that would showcase the latest trends. The vignette, which was a pop-up on display in the 2019 Luxury Living Show at Phipps Plaza (and is now installed in the Schuon Kitchens and Baths, Inc., showroom in Roswell), includes sleek slab inset drawers and sophisticated linen towers. Grider and Tyson note that their favorite features are the rich hues of the vanity and honey bronze hardware, which they say are eye-catching pieces that immediately draw in clients at the showroom.