Wood accents, bold counters and a return of colour mixed with still-trending gold and black fixtures and the omnipresent white kitchen to offer a fun variety of kitchens and bathrooms at the 2022 Design Excellence Awards.
Organized by the Ottawa chapter of the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) and held in person for the first time since 2019 thanks to the COVID pandemic, the awards recognized the work of area kitchen, bath and other cabinetry designers at a Steampunk-themed gala at the Château Laurier May 7.
“I’m surprised at how many people dressed up,” says awards committee chair Sandra Gibbons. “They really embraced it and had a lot of fun. I think everybody was tired of not being together and it was just a really nice social event.”
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About 160 attended the gala as first- and second-place winners were named in 15 categories ranging from powder rooms, kitchens and bathrooms to the best transformation and creating a high-end look for a minimal budget. In all, 26 trophies were given out.
COVID disruptions meant that the awards, which are usually an annual event, recognized projects from both 2020 and 2021 and entries were lower than usual. Last year, which comprised projects completed pre-pandemic, there were 105 entries, says Gibbons. This year there were 73.
“They were down because of material shortages and designers were just so busy they didn’t have time to enter…. It was just one of those fluky years.”
But she’s pleased with the mixture of entries and the variety in materials used.
Designer Anne-Marie Brunet, who was one of six judges and the only local one, also liked the mix, both in materials and styles.
“There was a good mix of traditional, transitional and modern and there were a few entries that had Art Deco influences. They weren’t 100 per cent true Art Deco, but they did hint at those elements,” making a nice departure from the popular mid-century modern.
White quartz counters are still trending, as are both gold and black fixtures, she notes, but “there is a tendency of bringing in some wood elements, either in vanity cabinetry or in one section of a kitchen or bathroom. Wood butcher block sections of island countertops are also popular. It’s not all wood or not all white.”
There are plenty of white kitchens — “Ottawa is still quite conservative,” Gibbons notes — but we are seeing more boldness in things like veining in countertops or backsplashes and “all those small attentions to detail that make a big difference in the spaces,” she says, like light fixtures and cabinet hardware.
Brunet also picked up on “nice tile patterns and a resurgence in colour of tile for about half the entries, which was nice to see. Colour is coming back… I think we’re slowly moving away from all the white/grey thing.”
Here’s a look at the 2022 Design Excellence Awards winners
Best powder room – any style
1st place: Caroline Castrucci, Laurysen Kitchens. “It had a really great mix of geometrics,” says judge Anne-Marie Brunet, adding that “it was a really imaginative way of doing the vanity that didn’t look like just a regular wall-hung vanity.”
2nd place: Vida Kiani, Kari Design & Build. “It looks really sleek,” says judge Anne-Marie Brunet.
The look for less – kitchen
1st place: Paul Denys, Denys Builds Designs. This category is for projects that cost under $20,000 (not including labour).
The look for less – bathroom
1st place: Emma Doucet, Grassroots Design + Build. This category is for projects that cost under $10,000 (not including labour).
Best transformation (before & after) – kitchen
1st place: Wael Bakr, Laurysen Kitchens. “It’s a stunning transformation,” says awards committee chair Sandra Gibbons.
1st place: Ola Elmaghraby, Laurysen Kitchens. The bonus rooms category includes any room other than a kitchen or bathroom for which cabinetry is a major component. This project was also a finalist in last fall’s Housing Design Awards.
Editor’s note: For the kitchen and bath categories that follow, the pricing does not include labour.
Kitchen – classic/traditional ($20,000-$39,999)
1st place: Marcia Perrotte, Designs MCP.
2nd place: Julianna Dykstra, Distinctive Bathrooms and Kitchens.
Kitchen – contemporary/modern ($20,000-$39,999)
1st place: Vida Kiani, Kari Design & Build.
2nd place: Caroline Castrucci, Laurysen Kitchens.
Kitchen – classic/traditional ($40,000-$59,999)
1st place: Natasha Nash, The Cabinet Connection.
2nd place: Erika Matheson, BEX Interiors. The project also won the All Things Home People’s Choice Award at last fall’s Housing Design Awards.
Kitchen – contemporary/modern ($40,000-$59,999)
1st place: Julia Enriquez, Astro Design Centre.
2nd place: Mallory McCarthy, ARTium Design Build. The project, which also won an award at last fall’s Housing Design Awards, is part of the 2021 virtual Reno Tour organized by the Greater Ottawa Home Builders’ Association.
Kitchen – all styles ($60,000-$79,999)
1st place: Wael Bakr, Laurysen Kitchens. In pointing out how important design details are in a project, awards committee chair Sandra Gibbons used this project as an example. “We have these beautiful light fixtures, we’ve got the mix of the flooring, we’ve got white cabinets, but we have glass that’s added, adding special interest to the space, lots of pot drawers.
“We’re getting a lot of function and storage and it’s that attention to detail, adding extra cabinet doors on the end, adding extra baseboard to the cabinetry, so it’s really paying attention to that fine detail.”
2nd place: Emma Doucet, Grassroots Design + Build.
Kitchen – all styles ($80,000+)
1st place: Julia Enriquez, Astro Design Centre.
2nd place: Rebecca Garvey, Rebecca Marilyn Design & Kristen Weese, Deslaurier Custom Cabinets.
Bathroom – classic/traditional ($10,000-$24,999)
1st place: Kelly Ouellette, Distinctive Bathrooms & Kitchens.
2nd place: Stacey Price, Stacey Price Design.
Bathroom – contemporary/modern ($10,000-$24,999)
1st place: Shannon Callaghan, Design Wise Interiors. “This one is quite stunning,” says awards committee chair Sandra Gibbons.
2nd place: Paul Denys, Denys Builds Designs. “We’re seeing a little more boldness” in countertops and wall tile, notes awards committee chair Sandra Gibbons.
Bathroom – all styles ($25,000-$39,999)
1st place: Emily Meechan, Distinctive Bathrooms & Kitchens.
2nd place: Julia Enriquez, Astro Design Centre.
Doris Lacroix Award
Designer Sara Edgerton won the Doris Lacroix Award, which is named after Ottawa kitchen design pioneer Doris Lacroix and awarded to someone in the association who makes an extra effort to give back to the kitchen and bath industry.
She’s been an NKBA board member and has worked on the gala committee, but what really makes her stand out for the award is “she’s always eager to help anyone with any task that needs to be done,” says awards committee chair Sandra Gibbons. “She’s just very outgoing, she’s extremely knowledgeable… she’s really contributed to her industry and helping her colleagues.”