Winning Kitchens: Finalists

Get inspired by our top-10 kitchen contest finalists—creative, functional and oh-so-modern

kitchens then and now

The residential kitchen space has come a long way over the past 50 years.

Today's architects, professional kitchen designers, and contractors, as our top-10 best-kitchen remodel finalists demonstrate so well, routinely take a sophisticated 'big picture' approach to updating yesterday's kitchens while reflecting a keen eye and understanding of evolving contemporary lifestyles.

Magazines, books, and design showrooms are all great sources for inspiration. Need more? Read on to see how our kitchen finalists created their picture-perfect kitchens.

Congratulations to the mid-century modern homeowners behind the ten dazzling kitchens profiled below. They are the top-10 finalists of 'CA-Modern Magazine's Best Kitchen Remodel Contest.' Our finalists were selected for their overall beauty and functionality and cohesion with the mid-century modern design aesthetic. They are kitchens that work well with the lifestyles of their respective homeowners, and at the same time pay respect to the homes' architectural tradition of clean lines and connection to the outdoors. They also exhibit a fresh, modern vibe.

From the ten kitchens below, two winners were selected—one by reader's votes, the other by our own panel of judges. See our profile on the final two winners.


tong kitchen

Tong kitchen
Eichler home, Palo Alto, 1973-'74
Kitchen cost: $108,000

Design: Stacy Eisenmann (in collaboration with Anthony Chau & Partners)
Contractor: Green Thumb Construction
Cabinetry: Arclinea

Photography: Mark Compton

Pleasant and open

tong kitchen

John and Renata Tong dreamed of having a kitchen that would accommodate cooking, kids, and pets. Their Eichler's original L-shaped kitchen posed an awkward relationship for the Tongs between the oven, refrigerator, and sink.

"It was tight to work in," John says. "The walls blocked the flow of light through the house, making it feel even more confined."

To create better flow, designer Stacy Eisenmann with architect Anthony Chau began by taking down walls. "The kitchen needed to be opened up to really embrace the quality of their Eichler space," Eisenmann explains. "It needed better organization for each station of the kitchen, the right relationship of workspace to storage, and a fresh material palette. The cabinetry finishes and colors had to be kid—and dog—friendly." The design also had to accommodate a built-in aquarium.

The Tongs chose contemporary laminate cabinets by Arclinea in a bold grey and orange color palette topped by low-maintenance stainless steel countertops. A large center island houses a Miele cooktop with two burners, a wok, and grill, and a Gaggenau hood floats above. Against the back wall, the couple now has a food prep area with wall hooks that hold ladles and strainers. Eisenmann positioned the built-in aquarium in the adjacent dining area.

"The renovation has changed the whole flow of the house and the way we use it," Renata says. "It's opened up the living space, making it more pleasant to live in. We spend better-quality family time in the kitchen, and cook more than before."

arrellano citron kitchen

Arrellano-Cintron kitchen
Streng home, Sacramento, 1970s
Kitchen cost: $125,000

Design: Thimgan Architectural Group, AIA
Contractor: Ron S. Sims Construction Services
Cabinetry: 14th Street Millworks

Photography: Mike Graffigna

Vibrant centerpiece

arrellano citron kitchen

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