Kitchen Innovator Winners

Contemporary goes warm with these three outstanding kitchens.

photogprahs by willie cole


Classic design meets family function in a busy mother’s dream kitchen

“My client has an extremely artistic eye,” says Katherine Hodge of Sage Design, “and had a clear vision from the beginning.” The Greenwich homeowner wanted to combine the practical needs of a kitchen with beauty, and to make it a gathering space for the family of five.

Hodge delivered by using classic materials in a straightforward, bold manner. The cabinets are a pared-down door-style topped with creamy Afyon sugar marble, which also lines the walls behind hammered stainless-steel shelves. “It was about using simple materials really well,” Hodge says, “and emphasizing the great architecture that was already in place.” The shelves are lit from underneath to cast a warm glow and to keep the material from appearing cold.

Unexpected furniture adds a layer of comfort to the room. Instead of a traditional island, the designer chose a table where the cook can sit and chop vegetables while the children do homework. And the busy mom can keep an eye on her toddler napping on the sofa as the pasta boils. The room also features a large window seat with striped linen cushions for reading, a play table where the kids can color and a custom-made desk.  

Still, Hodge stresses that the process was highly collaborative. “I was really more of an advisor,” she says. “I was a therapist for fifteen years, so I pride myself on good listening.”



PhotoGRAPHs BY Michele Scotto of Sequined Asphault Studio

Innovator 2

A waterfront kitchen opens up with pairings of bucolic charm and modern refinement

When designing this waterfront kitchen, Bruce Beinfield, Mark Goodwin and Colin Grotheer of Beinfield Architecture were challenged with satisfying a Greenwich couples’ varying tastes. The husband, a Canadian from the Northwest, has an affinity for handcrafted, rustic elements, while the wife, a native Californian, prefers the tailored and modern.

The home has a symmetrical layout, Goodwin explains, “so the central space on the water side was the best spot for the kitchen but also for the main living area.” To unify the space, the team used hemlock floors throughout the kitchen, dining and living areas and cabinetry that wraps around the room, transforming into bookcases or built-ins. The island is designed with minimal hardware and finished in a whitewash that allows the ash’s wood grain to show through.  

Rough sawn beams and a hemlock plank ceiling create a warm contrast to the simple white millwork, resulting in a palette of whites, grays, woods and stainless steel. The result is comfort mixed with elegance, refinement with craft. “We live in a blend of stylistic elements on a daily basis,” Goodwin says.



PhotoGRAPHs by Read McKendree

Innovator 3

Cathedral ceilings and seamless cabinetry complement this kitchen’s river view

The low ceilings in this ’70s contemporary were a nagging issue for the 6-foot-8 homeowner. Plus, drab interiors failed to do justice to the home’s Connecticut River view.  



By raising ceilings and removing non-load-bearing partitions, architect Christopher Arelt was able to create a cathedral-within-a-cathedral structure in the kitchen, dining and living area. Decorative mahogany rafters open the space’s height, introduce a warmer palette and create a welcoming framework for light.

The homeowner, a Frank Lloyd Wright fan, wanted to emulate the famed architect’s use of reddish-brown concrete floors, and the result further warmed the interior. “Concrete has a connotation of cold and industrial but can be just the opposite,” explains Arelt.  

Clunky European hardware was replaced by hidden pivot hinges, and outside cabinet corners were mitered so there is no evidence of a drawer or door from any angle.