2017 National Kitchen and Bath Association Minnesota Design Awards

Photo by J.H. Peterson

Large Kitchen (more than 350 square feet)

First Place

Mississippi River Makeover
Mary Maney, CKD, ASID
Crystal Kitchen + Bath

A retired couple purchased this home because it offered almost everything they needed on one level. They loved the location right on the Mississippi River and wanted to take advantage of the view. Their goals for the remodel: Transform the dark, ornate kitchen into a clean, contemporary space that would flow into the adjacent rooms and add island seating for four oriented toward the windows. The designer created flow by installing large floor tiles that run throughout the kitchen and into adjoining rooms. She added a beverage station with space for two beverage coolers and wine storage. Layers of light—recessed downlights, under-cabinet lighting, and pendants—allow the homeowners to set the level they desire for cooking or entertaining.


A kitchen with all white cabinetry, stainless steel appliances, center island with surrounding stools and dark, hardwood flooring by Ispiri Design-Build, a winner of the National Kitchen and Bath Association Minnesota Design Awards.

Photo by Spacecrafting

Second Place

Urban Escape
Laurie Butler, CKD
Ispiri Design-Build

This client had recently downsized from a suburban home to a downtown condo, which offered a great skyline view and proximity to downtown restaurants and entertainment. The kitchen needed a style refresh and more.  Since the homeowner loves to cook and entertain, high-end appliances were a must. A dual-fuel range, Sub-Zero refrigerator, and microwave drawer were arranged in the prep and cooking zone; the back side of the island features under-counter refrigerator drawers near the bar’s icemaker and beverage center. By changing out the dark woodwork and doors, updating all lighting to LED, and selecting crisp white cabinetry with marble countertops, the designer transformed the condo’s kitchen into a lavish and beautiful space.


Pretty kitchen with gray cabinets and staircase coming down from second floor.

Photo by Andrea Rugg

Third Place

Kate Roos
Kate Roos Design, LLC


An all-white kitchen with stainless steel appliances, subway tile backsplash, and center island, a winner of the National Kitchen and Bath Association Minnesota Design Awards.

Photo by Andrea Rugg

Medium Kitchen (150-350 square feet)

First Place

Farmhouse Panorama
Kate Roos, Kate Roos Design, LLC
Stacy Sullivan, The New Old House Co.

After looking for years for a location to build their vacation home, these homeowners finally found the perfect property overlooking Lake Pepin in Wisconsin. The home would be used for large weekend getaways with family and friends, and the kitchen had to function flawlessly while also taking advantage of the beauty outside. The architectural plans were lacking the impact the client desired, so the space was rearranged to create symmetry and take advantage of the spectacular views of the lake and birch forest. To better host large gatherings, the homeowners installed a 48-inch range and two dishwashers that could be used for high-volume cooking and cleaning. They created a modern farmhouse aesthetic by using a white palette that feels fresh and cheerful.


A kitchen with stainless steel appliances, island with fruit bowl perched atop, and splashes of tangerine color by Sawhill Custom Kitchens, a winner in the National Kitchen and Bath Association Minnesota Design Awards.

Photo by Todd Hafermann

Second Place

Texture & Tangerine
Sarah Maly, CKD
Sawhill Custom Kitchens

So much opportunity awaited in the kitchen of this Minneapolis townhome. Tops on this client’s “must-go” list: poorly used space for the refrigerator, closet, and eat-in kitchen table. A built-in counter for kids’ seating was a priority, as was their love of cooking and baking. For starters, the geometric wall formation was removed to open up the kitchen to the dining and family room areas. The unused eat-in table was traded for a built-in prep counter and kid zone. Textural melamine with splashes of tangerine are interwoven to create a striking, yet harmonious color palette. Durable surfaces for this growing young family will provide them with a creative and functional space for years to come.


White kitchen with touches of black and hardwood flooring.

Photo by Andrea Rugg

Third Place

Liz Schupanitz, CKD
Liz Schupanitz Designs


White kitchen with white cabinets and light brown floor

Photo by Edwin R. Figueroa

Small Kitchen (less than 150 square feet)

First Place

Chef's Kitchen
Edwin R Figueroa, CKBD
Sawhill Custom Kitchens

She is a baker. He is a cook. The homeowners needed a space where their expertise could come to fruition. First to go: some of the partition walls. With the added square footage, the design began to develop. The baking area was placed at one end of the kitchen to separate prep areas from baking. A lower counter at 32 inches, the perfect height for kneading dough, anchored that area. The homeowner, a wood craftsman, created the intricate Burmese teak floor. White inset shaker cabinetry, Labrador Brown granite, and white subway tile come together with subtly painted walls to invoke a sense of tranquility. It’s as if nothing had changed, but everything now belongs.


Grey and white kitchen with white countertops and grey accent furniture

Photo by Brian Shultz

Second Place

Updated Split Level
Tamara Johnson, CKD
Arrow Cabinet Gallery

The young homeowners, one of whom is an up and coming chef, wanted to transform the tiny kitchen in their split-level home into a functional space that would accommodate cooking, entertaining, and family life. To achieve this, the designer incorporated the bay window into the kitchen, substituting shorter windows that allowed for a raised ledge behind the sink for the chef’s herb garden. She also removed the two partial interior walls between the kitchen nook and dining/living room to create an open floor plan. Cabinetry painted medium gray and white quartz countertops are durable and low-maintenance finishes. Large storage drawers with rollout shelves instead of standard base cabinets make it easier to gather what they need even when their hands are full.


A small, white kitchen featuring center island, stainless steel appliances and hardwood flooring. A bowl of strawberries sits on the center island, and an open book with desk lamp sit atop a nearby desk.

Photo by Jill Greer

Third Place

Susan Palmquist, CKD, Sawhill Custom Kitchens
Michal Crosby, Michal Crosby Interiors


White bathtub with stone walls and glass shower

Photo by John Magnoski

Large Bathroom (more than 55 square feet)

First Place

Double Vision
Jaque Bethke
Pure Design Environments

This client’s residence is a modern interpretation of a Prairie-style home with fabulous lake and city views. The couple wanted their master bath to become a serene and balanced space where they could each prepare for their days. Their wish list included a large walk-in closet, dressing room, and laundry space; his-and-hers vanities, a coffee station, and more natural light. The designer converted the bedroom adjacent to the bath into a walk-in closet, while the existing walk-in became the laundry and dressing room space—which also provided a perfect place for a coffee station with easy water access. A new entrance separated the vanities and masterfully achieved balance.


Modern looking bathroom with green glasses sink and dark counter space

Photo by John Magnoski

Second place

A Stellar Outcome
Jaque Bethke
Pure Design Environments

When this couple sold the suburban home where they raised their family, they decided on a lifestyle change and relocated to a penthouse. They lived in the two-bedroom condo for a couple of years before purchasing the adjacent condo and expanding the footprint to create additional living spaces and this stellar master bath. They wanted it to feel like a clean and bold hotel suite. To incorporate all their desires—his-and-hers closets and vanities, a hospitality station, and concealed storage—the designer divided the space into individual components. The laundry, hospitality, and folding stations are located on the wall adjacent to the bedroom to provide a natural flow between the walk-in closets.


A large and elegant bathroom with two sinks, larg-tiled floor, wood cabinetry and large rain shower.

Photo by Paul Linnebach

Third Place

Paul Linnebach
Mantis Design + Build LLC


Powder room with wood walls, Chinoiserie art mural and black toilet

Photo by John Magnoski

Powder Room

First Place

Eclectic Expectations
Jaque Bethke
Pure Design Environments

For this modern interpretation of a Prairie-style home the homeowners wanted to reflect their casual sophistication, world travels, safari hunting expeditions, and love for Chinoiserie art. Clean architectural lines and an organic contemporary flair is fashioned into every space in the home. The homeowners wanted to extend this style into the powder room with a special challenge: The room, located on two outside walls, includes a mail drop. The designer considered that an opportunity to create an art niche, storage for toiletries, and a place for mail to drop unnoticed. She achieved a bold look with a ceiling made entirely of glass beads that sparkles in the light and the large mural on the far wall.


Powder room with modern walls and black counter space

Photo by Gilbertson photography

Second Place

Powder Room Wow
Anne Newman, ASID
Partners 4 Design

A couple living in a Minneapolis downtown industrial-style condo wanted to transform their powder room from a space that felt like a utility closet into a “wow.” The design challenges were many: dark and dated finishes, glaring lighting, and a door that opened to hit the entrance door into the condo. Since the couple also has two preschool age children, they wanted to use only kid-proof materials. The designer went to work, adding a cantilevered vanity with black laminate drawers and a sink in a solid slab of honed black granite. A porcelain tile entrance wall in a deep blue and silver and low-maintenance vinyl charcoal wall covering add texture and interest. A long linear slot was cut in the existing maple door and textured, colored glass inserted to bring in some light from the adjacent space.


An elegant powder room with dark walls, large mirror, and white sink flanked by pink flowers in vases.

Photo by John Magnoski

Third Place

Jaque Bethke
Pure Design Environments


Wood nook with black chair and black bottom cabinets and white windows

Photo by Jill Greer

Utilization of Cabinetry (In other areas)

First Place

Wood Nook
Sarah Maly, CKD
Sawhill Custom Kitchens

A tiny corner of an old farmhouse was the perfect spot to carve out a charming nook. The client wanted a small, but functional, office to fill the awkward second-floor space. Barely coming in at 6.5 by 8 feet, a lot needed to be packed into this little nook. Original flooring reclaimed from the first floor and cherry wood harvested from the client’s land clad the floor, ceilings, and walls of the space. Black opaque-stained cabinets separate the woods, and create a desk and credenza covered with a “wood-look” laminate countertop. A hanging light, a floating shelf… and there you have it: Out of a tiny “unusable” corner comes a fully functioning and cozy Wood Nook.


White bathroom with white toilet and black and white palette and pinwheel designs on tiles

Photo by Mary Maney

Small Bathroom (less than 55 square feet)

Second Place

Pinwheel Master Bath
Mary Maney, CKD, ASID
Crystal Kitchen + Bath

The master bath was added to this 1937 house during a 1988 remodel. Now outdated, the bath needed a transformation to the clean and classic design the clients desired. Since the footprint of the room had to remain the same, the designer carefully planned the space accordingly. By replacing the entry door with a pocket door, installing a compact toilet, and replacing the tub with a large walk-in shower and clear-glass shower door, she created more room for storage and gave the room a more spacious feel. The black-and-white palette and pinwheel design on the tiles kept the bathroom simple yet classic.


A room with large dark-wood cabinetry, two chandeliers, hardwood flooring, and a basket sitting next to a large window.

Photo by Scott Amundson

Third Place

Megan Dent, AKBD
Mingle LLC


Showroom with mosaic backsplash, stainless steel vent, twisty light and white cabinets

Photo by J.H. Peterson

Showroom (installed showroom displays)

First Place

Minnesota Modern
Chelsey Preuss
Jolynn Johnson, CMKBD, CAPS
Crystal Kitchen + Bath

The designer’s goal with this showroom space was to blend the trends she sees emerging with a cool, modern, and fun edge. Transitioning modern into Minnesota involves warmer colors, texture, and depth. Creamy white paired with a rich and earthy textured melamine provided the perfect canvas for this design. A bubble mosaic backsplash, bubble-glass doors, and decorative spheres was a fun way to make a statement in an otherwise angular space. In order to make this kitchen functional as well as beautiful, Preuss incorporated cabinetry accessories to emphasize organization, such as a hands-free waste bin, knife and utensil pull-out, container and Keurig K-Cup organizers, dishware drawers, and a tall pantry pull-out.


Storage showcase with medium light wood cabinets and black countertop

Photo by Brian Shultz

Second Place

Storage Showcase
Tiffany Wingen
Arrow Cabinet Gallery

The designer knows how important it is to utilize every inch of valuable space when displaying a showroom remodel. She wanted to showcase all of the roll-out tray options available through the cabinet manufacturer, so she displayed the wood tray dividers in the top section of the pantry, wood lazy Susan options, and two different spice storage options. Since base microwaves are becoming more prevalent in today’s kitchens, it was important to show this manufacturer’s standard base microwave cabinet. She also showed specialty cabinets, including a two-drawer base with a hidden storage tray and a wall cabinet with a hidden mail organizer.


Kitchen and dining with dark wood tables and light wood cabinet space with stainless steel fridge

Photo by Jill Greer

Artisan Materials

First Place

River View Inspiration
Susan Palmquist, Sawhill Custom Kitchens
Michal Crosby, Michal Crosby Interiors

This downtown condominium makeover blends form, function and beauty drawn from a distinctive river view. One of the key design goals was to create a backdrop for the homeowners’ Asian folk art collection. While the existing perimeter of the kitchen remained, a bar area was added for entertaining. A new, larger island was designed, including a custom-made Peruvian walnut countertop with an attached custom-designed molded glass table. The basket weave pattern in the glass is reminiscent of an Asian hand-woven basket, and the custom-designed textured glass backsplash in the kitchen and bar has a grass cloth feel. Together, the amber- and copper-colored glass visually warm the space and add contrast to the light maple cabinetry and flooring.


White cabinets with white brick backsplash and stainless steel dishwasher

Photo by Claire Hinrichs

Budget Kitchen (less than $40,000)

Second Place

Fresh and Blended
Claire Hinrichs
Mingle LLC

The owner of this 1950s rambler wanted an updated kitchen that was timeless, fresh and blended with the style of the rest of the house. To keep cost down, the existing layout remained the same. The designer centered the range on the space available and reconfigured the cabinetry, adding drawer storage for better accessibility. She also added cabinetry below the window to create more prep space and maximize storage. The client wanted warm grays and neutral taupes to complement the neutral brown color palette of the rest of the house. New vinyl tile flooring, which the client laid herself, is gray with warm brown tones that match the existing oak flooring in adjacent rooms.


Honorable Mentions:

A white kitchen with stainless steel appliances, and a large stainless steel range hood.

Photo by Steve Voegeli

Small Kitchen

Tami Holsten, AKBD
Bear Trap Design

An ornate kitchen with cream-colored cabinetry, large range hood, hardwood flooring, center island with surrounding stools, and stone countertops.

Photo by Todd Hafermann

Medium Kitchen

Sarah Maly, CKD
Sawhill Custom Kitchens

A white bathroom with gold hardware, two sinks with accompanying mirrors, and large soaking tub.

Photo by Scott Amundson

Large Bath

Tricia Tidemann
Mingle LLC

Light hardwood floors, marble kitchen island, black hanging pendant lights, black barstools with gray cushions

Photo by Andrea Rugg

Most Dramatic Makeover (Editor's Choice Award)

Open House
Kate Roos
Kate Roos Design, LLC

The owners of this midcentury home, young design professionals with two small girls, wanted a kitchen updated aesthetically and functionally. They wanted an open floor plan to better reflect the home’s midcentury past and give them space for dining, cooking, and entertaining. The designer removed load-bearing walls and replaced them with the steel beam, left exposed and painted charcoal gray for interest. Floating walnut shelves store dishware and add a focal point to the kitchen, while frameless cabinetry creates clean lines and the island’s waterfall countertop adds a modern touch. Gray and walnut tones add warmth to the space.

Kitchen with custom hood, caramel toned wood cabinetry and artful backsplash

Photo by Scott Amundson

Student Choice Award

Artful Warmth
Tricia Tidemann
Mingle LLC

This kitchen used to be a cold white space that did not match the personality of the family living there. The homeowners wanted to create a comfortable, yet sophisticated place to prepare meals, informally entertain, and enjoy time together. The designer created interest by mixing physical and visual textures and colors in the island countertop. A custom hood, ceiling beam details, caramel-toned wood cabinetry, and an artful backsplash bring warmth and life to the kitchen.