Architect Carolyn MichaelsonRegional Winner: Carolyn Michaelson, Covington, KY

The final regional winner in this year’s 2021 BlueStar Kitchen Design Contest is architect Carolyn Michaelson.  This project was truly a labor of love since the home renovation she was working on was her own.  She feels that a successful design project should be a reflection of the client and what they love which is why she incorporated many of the details into the design that she did.

They purchased the home that was originally built in 1910 for the Stewart Family who were prominent in the Cincinnati area and owners of Stewart Iron Works.  At the time, they were considered the largest ornamental iron furniture manufacturer in the US and the largest ornamental fence company in the world.  After the Stewart family moved out the home eventually had been converted into several apartments and her goal for this project was to restore the home back to its original single-family dwelling again.

48" BlueStar RNB Range in Carolyn Michaelson's Design

While it was important for them to respect and honor the historic aspect of the house they also wanted to open the kitchen, which was closed off from the rest of the house, to make it feel like a more unified living space.  They reflected on how much the role of the kitchen in the home has changed over the last century.  When the house was built the kitchen was a utilitarian space, but now it is the center of a family’s life.  The connection to the kitchen to the central hall transformed the space and the way they live.

The award winning kitchen design from Carolyn Michaelson

Before they settled on the design they had to demolish the space down to the original studs to understand the opportunities.  They discovered that the house incorporated a steel column and beam structure which was very rare for its vintage.  Seeing how beautiful the “bones” of the space were they were inspired to expose the ceiling, steel beams and brick wall.  They set out to honor the history of the house by reusing an original cast iron apron sink and reclaiming the demolished studs into a custom table-top with an iron pedestal base.  The picture frame moldings at the banquette were carried in form the original moldings that exist throughout the rest of the house.  They absolutely love the way it turned out and eat dinner there most nights.


When it came to cabinetry they wanted the cabinets to feel like large pieces of furniture in the space.  The 10’ wide custom hood placed above the classic black color of the 48” RNB Series range with 24” French Top is an incredibly striking centerpiece for the kitchen.

The BlueStar range and vent hood in Carolyn Michaelson's Design

When it came to selecting their appliances they knew one thing for sure that they wanted a French top.  They absolutely love to cook so the range was the most important piece of the kitchen for Carolyn.  She does a lot of roasting in the oven so having two ovens was also desired and of course they wanted it to look beautiful.  She did her research and discovered that there was no better option for her than the BlueStar range.  Not only did she have this incredible workhouse in her kitchen, which has changed the way she cooks and made life so much easier, but she also has this stunning range in a beautiful black color with brass accents to complement the space.

About Carolyn Michaelson RA LEED AP

Carolyn Michaelson is an architect in the Cincinnati area and is currently specializing in the renovation of historic homes. Having visited a historic mansion in Freehold, NJ as a young child, she was profoundly affected by the space and intrigued by the history of hundreds of years before. That experience stayed with her, and her career has come full circle to help create spaces that provide an emotional response. She received her degree in architecture from Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA, with a concentration in interior design. Her experience has ranged from Healthcare, Cultural and Government work in commercial settings, to designing new homes and renovating urban warehouses. Along with her travels, she draws inspiration from cooking, sketching and painting.