2021 Kitchen Design Contest Regional Winner – Karen Swanson

Regional Winner: Karen Swanson, New England Design Works Gloucester, MA

BlueStar’s annual kitchen design contest recognizes designers, architects, builders and remodelers for advancing outstanding kitchen design by celebrating inspiring and innovative projects.  Our next Regional Winner, Karen Swanson of New England Design Works, did just that in this project that puts a British spin on historic New England design. 

BlueStar 2021 Design Contest Regional Winner Karen Swanson

The clients, an American and a Brit, wanted to bring a particularly British flair to their kitchen renovation in a home listed on the historic registry in New England.  Swanson immersed herself in British kitchen design, also working with the color masters at U.K.-based Farrow & Ball to curate the kitchen’s stunning blue-green color palette with a richness befitting British royalty. She sought out other British vendors for the hardware and lighting but went with a decidedly American handcrafted range from BlueStar® for its pro-style performance and unique customization options

“This is a family that loves to cook and entertain, and their new kitchen gives them all the tools to do so,” said Swanson.

The clients have a large family and love to entertain and cook with friends, so Karen was exceptionally savvy with creative use of space and efficiency. The kitchen was originally three tiny rooms, and the designer opened it up into one big room with French Doors leading out to a terrace. She eliminated the number of upper cabinets to open up the space further. The kitchen features a prep sink across from the range to aid in cooking and a separate sink for clean-up. 

“We wanted to maximize storage but kept the key wall areas open for art and open shelf display,” explained Designer The entire cooking area is quite impressive….large windows with a very dramatic kitchen hood, incredible tile backsplash with a 48” BlueStar® Platinum Series range beneath it.  “I love the old world feel of the backsplash and that it brought more color in…so much more than a subway tile or a chevron. The painted terra cotta has such a nice quality—it does not feel new,” said Swanson.

Why an American brand like BlueStar® in this European inspired kitchen?  Simply put, it’s the perfect marriage of form and function.  The husband is an accomplished home chef; he loves to cook.  BlueStar’s professional-style features and high-performing burners are second to none, explained Swanson.  “And, as a designer, the products’ versatility and the options for customization from color to trim allow me incredible design freedom to create a truly bespoke look for my clients.”

Clear walls leave room for art, but the traditional molding and trim define a traditional space, respectful to the home’s origins but at the same time creating a fresh, modern and functional home for a busy family. As a designer, Karen listened carefully to understand her clients’ needs, their tastes, and how they wanted their  kitchen to work.  She interpreted their input into a design that produced not only a showstopper kitchen, but one that works beautifully within the context of the rest of the house.

About Karen Swanson, New England Design Works

As a kitchen and bath designer, my principal goal is to act as a dedicated and experienced guide at every step of the renovation, from the first meeting until after the dust settles. I work with architects, builders and directly with homeowners on projects in the greater Boston area and beyond. My approach identifies what will ultimately make life in the kitchen more visually pleasing, functional and harmonious. The development of a detailed floorplan is followed by materials selection and aesthetic choices with the result being a kitchen that reflects my client’s style while functioning in an ideal way.