2020 Kitchen Design Contest Regional Winner – Payne & Payne Renovation and Design

Morgan Lepore is part of the Payne and Payne Renovation and Design Team based in Chardon, Ohio.  She has always had a passion for architecture and design and believes there is quality in every detail. Design is personal; being able to listen to clients describe their vison and make their dreams become a reality is the most rewarding part of her job.

BlueStar Kitchen Design Contest Finalist Morgan Lepore

Tell us about this kitchen
“This is a complete first floor renovation. It is a charming traditional home that has a kitchen with a big personality! My client is an incredibly talented artist with a fun, impeccable style. They allowed me to be creative and bold with beautiful pops of color and really think outside the box with texture. The kitchen maintains symmetry, balance and serenity while still having elements that were bright and vibrant. A kitchen is not complete without a stunning focal point, and this one has it. It could be the range, and hood, lighting, island detailing, backsplash, but one element needs to be bold and be the star of the show! My favorite element in the kitchen is the BlueStar® range and custom hood. My client was not afraid to do something different and “play it safe”. I love blue and so does she, but we did not want to do navy. It felt like that was the safe choice and while navy is stunning, it is also very popular right now. I wanted to create a space that was going to be different then everyone else.”

BlueStar Kitchen Design Contest Finalist Morgan Lepore

What’s the best way to get to know a client’s tastes and priorities?

“I believe you need to truly get to know your client on a personal level to understand their taste and priorities. Find out what they are passionate about, what they want their space to feel like, how they are going to interact in the area you are designing on a daily basis. Understanding what is important to them and how they are going to function in the space is a great way to understand their priorities, and asking them deeper questions, showing them different design options, you can very quickly determine their taste and style. We always ask our clients to send us inspiration photos before our first design meeting as well. This also helps getting a head start on figuring out their design taste.”

What was your biggest challenge with this design?

“We actually relocated the kitchen from a completely different area in the home. Where the new kitchen is now, used to be the existing dining room. To maintain symmetry and allow the range and hood to be the center and focus of the space, I eliminated two windows so that we were able to make that back wall more functional.”

BlueStar Kitchen Design Contest Finalist Morgan Lepore

Why did you select BlueStar® appliances?

“I love BlueStar®. While, I do not personally have BlueStar® appliances (yet!), I know several people who do, and speak very highly of them. I love being able recommend a reliable appliance while also being able to customize it.  It brings the entire space to life. Other major resources for the kitchen include Cambria Countertops: Cambria, Britannica Cabinets (custom built), Nate Byler Backsplash, Soho Studio Interlace Marble Backsplash, Jeffery Alexander Hardware and Brizo Fixtures from Ferguson.”

BlueStar Kitchen Design Contest Finalist Morgan Lepore

What’s your best advice on kitchen design?

“In my personal opinion, the kitchen is the heart of the home. Whether it be just family, or family and friends, everyone seems to gather in the kitchen. Make this space best represent you. It is important for everything in the kitchen to “have a home”.  Its best when everything is able to be put away when gatherings or meals take place. I love to have organizational factors in the kitchen as well. You also need to ensure when designing there is a good flow, from the refrigerator, to cooktop, to sink, to pull-out trash, to dishwasher; everything needs to have accessibility and flow so that if there are multiple people in the space, everyone is able to move around without bumping into one another.”