Design — 03 October 2014
Designer recipes for remodeling the kitchen

By Charlyne Varkonyi Schaub

Remodeling your kitchen can be baffling. Should you mix cabinet finishes? Will you get bored with all white? Should you select a cooktop and wall ovens or free-standing range? Is a glass, granite or ceramic backsplash best? We asked four South Florida kitchen designers for inspiration.

DESIGNER: Sean Daigle, Downsview Kitchens,
Palm Beach Gardens

PHOTOGRAPHER: Daniel Newcomb

We have seen trophy kitchens for unlimited budgets, but what does a kitchen designer select for himself?

Sean Daigle and his wife often cook together in their Palm Beach Gardens home, so they wanted top-end appliances – Wolf cooktop and ovens, a Miele coffee machine and Sub-Zero refrigerator.

Daigle selected a transitional look with modified shaker door cabinets and frosted glass. The dish cabinet features a 4-inch-thick zebra-wood accent. Stainless-steel drawers with oak surround add texture. The same oak was used in a cabinet that conceals the refrigerator with freezer drawers underneath.

“It is OK to do trendy things if you change the look often,” he says. “A painted white kitchen is never dated. Good modern with simple materials and clean lines is timeless. Contemporary is dated in five years.”

Daigle says the preferred choices in countertops are marble, quartzite, Caesarstone and glass. His backsplash is Carrera marble with gray veining. Countertops are marble.

“We are seeing much less granite,” he says. “It was one of those things that got shoved down your throat. Granite all looks the same. Marble is back in, and we are starting to see white marble with white countertops.”


DESIGNER: Faye Underwood
of The Kitchenworks


A white kitchen is serene. It’s stylish. And it’s the favorite neutral of South Florida remodelers. A good example is the kitchen Faye Underwood designed for a home on the New River in Fort Lauderdale.

“The clients wanted super clean lines,” she says. “They wanted it to be minimalistic but warm. They also wanted a bright space with a lot of counter space so that people can prepare things at the same time.”

The owners found white Calcutta marble for behind the gas range and the pendant lighting on one of their world travels. Although the kitchen was large, she says, it was a challenge to fit in the appliances, including a large Sub-Zero refrigerator, two wine units, a Wolf range, steam oven and microwave.

Wall cabinets were eliminated to give the kitchen a cleaner look. A pantry to the right of the cooling units and a butler’s pantry provide additional storage.

“The owners are very creative and have great taste,” Underwood says. “They really like a stylish kitchen and enjoy the aesthetics. They are a young couple that enjoy design work and enjoy the process of being involved. It was a joy for me to be involved with those who cared about the details so much.”


DESIGNER: Bill Feinberg, Allied Kitchen & Bath,
Fort Lauderdale


Bill Feinberg says this large kitchen in a home in Las Olas Isles in Fort Lauderdale was the most elegant he has designed. It was also one of the most challenging.

“The ceiling circle was part of the original house,” Feinberg says. “We had to follow the circular room. That was probably the hardest part of the design. We had to tie the cabinets into the edge of the circle.”

The client wanted a big island with a lot of seating and a big cooking center. The appliances, all Sub-Zero and Wolf, include double ovens and two beverage drawers.

The original kitchen had a small island in the middle and a sink on the far wall. To enlarge the space, a walk-in pantry and a closet were removed and the entrance was relocated. A new ventilation system with a high-velocity exhaust fan required cutting through the tie beam to exhaust properly.

A tall built-in cabinet replaced the small closet. Feinberg reconfigured the island with smaller cabinets so the granite could fit without a seam. Two levels were created for the 6-by-10-foot island to accommodate bar stools. The range was moved to the back wall, which caused some construction challenges during the four-month renovation.

“One of my guys dropped one of the hand-painted tiles for over the range,” Feinberg says. “You just couldn’t repaint the tumbled marble. It all had to be redone.”

The floor was also a big challenge.

“We had to chop up the floor to bring plumbing to the island,” he says. “We searched and searched until we found matching marble. Otherwise we would have had to redo 3,000 square feet of marble.”


DESIGNER: Arnold Schulman of Arnold Schulman Design Group

PHOTOGRAPHER: Robert Brantley

Even a small kitchen can be designed to include plenty of storage and appliances.

Arnold Schulman took space from the laundry room to enlarge a galley kitchen in Bal Harbour. He opened the ceiling and lit the soffit edges to produce more light.

“We wanted to maximize the amount of storage space because the clients cook,” he says. “To the left of the ovens is a large pantry. Everything is on pullouts with self-closing drawers. The top cabinets were made two inches deeper than normal to hold more.”

The clients wanted a contemporary kitchen, but they didn’t want lacquer, so Schulman designed custom anigre wood cabinets with a satin finish. The granite countertops are green with a golden vein to blend with the cabinets. The floor is white marble with a six-inch border of green granite.

Although Sub-Zero refrigerators were installed, Schulman also added two refrigerators and two freezer drawers in the adjacent laundry room. The kitchen also has an induction cooktop, microwave, convection oven, warming drawer and a pair of dishwashers because the clients keep kosher.



Allied Kitchen & Bath: 616 W. Oakland Park Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, 954-564-1611,

Arnold Schulman Design Group: 20880
W. Dixie Highway, Suite 107, Aventura,

Downsview Kitchens: 12800 Federal Highway, Suite 100, Juno Beach, 561-799-7700, Another location is at the Design Center of the Americas in Dania Beach.

The Kitchenworks: 1808 E. Sunrise Blvd.,
Fort Lauderdale, 954-764-1482,


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