When your kitchen wins you $75,000


Alexandria designer Jeff Jenkins thinks of his kitchen as one that marries form and function.

The idea of the kitchen as merely a room to prepare and eat food is long gone, Jenkins says, replaced by the concept of the kitchen as central gathering space for eating, cooking, relaxing, working and socializing.

Luckily for Jenkins, the livein room concept was also Electroluxs interpretation of what the future holds for the kitchen, and was the basis for the fi rst Live-In Room of Tomorrow $110,000 Kitchen Design Competition.

The competition was sponsored by Electrolux Major Appliances and Interior Design magazine, and was open to practicing designers, architects and students nationwide. Applicants like Jenkins were required to submit a kitchen rendering that conveyed their interpretation of the theme.

Jenkins entry was judged on his application of the live-in room concept, visual appeal, creativity, elements and principles of kitchen design and innovative integration of at least fi ve Electrolux ICON appliances. The budget was limited to $100,000, and the room had to incorporate elements not typically found in the kitchen.

Jenkins, who lives in Hollin Hills who owns Jeff Jenkins Design + Development in Del Ray, took home top honors in the contest for his innovative indoor/outdoor design that encouraged social interaction.

His take home prize was sweeter than the Bell Peppers he might cut up on the kitchens chopping block. Jenkins design garnered a $50,000 cash prize, plus a suite of Electrolux ICON appliances valued at $25,000. It was phenomenal, he said. It took some time to farbricate a version of it for the Chicago show. Im currrently building a version of that for a client in $60,000 range.

Jenkins is currently celebrating his tenth anniversary at 1509 B Leslie Avenue in Del Ray. I rely on a big network of craft smen and design professionals in my business, he said.

An industrial designer by trade, Jenkins does interiors, furniture and home products. His line of furniture, sold under the brand name of Atmosphere 5, was showcased at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair in 2006. His winning kitchen design was presented at the Electrolux booth during the 2008 Kitchen/Bath Industry Show in Chicago last month, and will be featured in Interior Designs July 2008 issue.

Judges for the competition included an editor of Interior Design magazine, a famed designer, a top Manhattan chef and Electolux design exec.

When they announced the competition, I had already begun the process of building almost a duplicate of the kitchen kit for a client, Jenkins said. I was using the Electrolux appliances in the kitchen, so it was a natural fit. I just reoriented the concept for the live-in room idea and modified the outdoor pergola, making it an extension of the kitchen.

Jenkins said hes always been fascinated with this idea of being able to open up the kitchen to the outdoors. I think it would be an ideal scenario when the weather is good or when youre entertaining, he said.

The kitchen incorporates a lounge area, with a built-in custom leather loveseat in off-white, and freestanding furniture that would traditionally be seen in the living room. On that side of the room, it doesnt really feel like a kitchen, he stresses. The cabinets feature custom sliding textured fused glass doors that move horizontally to cover one side or the other.

A mobile work table in the center acts as a gathering place for both food prep and socializing. On the other wall, we included a very functional kitchen for preparing food in an efficient way, he said.

The main wall features a 30 single wall oven with glass front situated below the 36 gas drop-In cooktop and a 36 downdraft vent, as well as the series dishwasher. Fixtures include a rectangular sink from Blanco America, teamed with a Hansgrohe Axor steel faucet.

Tiled flooring makes the transition from indoor to outdoor space seamless, he said. Both the work table inside and dining table outside are mobile for ease of use.

The functional portion of the kitchen is found along one wall, and includes cooktop, downdraft, oven and dishwasher. Stainless steel paneled cabinets, butcher block counters and glass tile backsplash add distinctive modern appeal without being cold, he said.

The outdoor living space includes a mobile dining table in the center, with an outdoor grill and outdoor television. Inside, a panel-ready refrigerator features a slate front for writing. Instead of traditionally constructed kitchen cabinets, both walls of cabinets and the work table are Jenkins Lyric kitchen system, a kit of parts that all go together using plates and posts, Jenkins explains.

The main posts are square, solid maple legs, and on top of those are stainless steel plates that have been laser cut. The baskets and shelving are all adjustable. As a result, you can very easily take these components and adapt them to any kitchen any space, really, he said. Weve used them against the wall in this design, but they can act as freestanding furniture in the middle of the room.

To finish the cabinets, Jenkins used Tried and True, an all-natural polymerized linseed oil wood finish. Its great over time, because it allows homeowners to repair it on their own, he stresses. Its low tack, there are no harsh chemicals, and it builds up a really nice oil wax finish. It was applied directly to the maple on the cabinets.

The fronts of the cabinets are stainless sheet material that has been bent and formed. The same sheeting is featured on the work table, as well as the backsplash behind the butcher block counters.

We incorporated stainless steel elements throughout the design for obvious reasons, offers Jenkins. One, its very functional in a working kitchen, but it also integrates well with the Electrolux ICON series.

However, he notes, too much stainless would have given the room an industrial look. So, to lighten it up, he incorporated a traditional butcher block countertop made from hard maple. The rest of the framework the handles, pulls and the post and panel system, all of the vertical supports are also solid maple, so it feels more like a living space.

Jenkins took a risk with the glass tile backsplash a mix of vibrant orange/red and silver from Erin Adams Design called Zen Weave. We used it for visual appeal, to really contrast with the stainless steel and maple, he comments.

He notes that the colors were chosen for several reasons. One, we had already incorporated a bright orange Maharam fabric on the Jasper Morrison stools by Cappellini that sit around the central work table. So, we didnt want that to stand out as the only bright color in the space, he explains.

Jenkins believes one of his greatest risks in terms of the competition was using a panel on the refrigerator. We used the 42 Built-In Panel Ready Sideby-Side Refrigerator and covered the front with slate. Since the purpose of the competition was to design a room that would show off the Electolux ICON appliances, this was a significant risk, he comments. But,the slate works for this room, and the refrigerator acts as a chalkboard for writing notes and things.

He adds that the same post and panel system was incorporated around the entire refrigerator, so it comes off as a custom piece. Then, we floated shelving on the outside, he adds.

Courtesy of Kitchen & Bath Design News.