31 March 2010

Philadelphian Honored for Kitchen Design

Philadelphia Inquirer
Joanne Hudson won a prize for her work on a 19th-century Center City brownstone.

The kitchen is the hub of most homes, evolving into an area that offers as much personal style as a living or family room, says a regional winner of a national design contest.

Joanne Hudson of Joanne Hudson & Associates Ltd. in Philadelphia is the Eastern Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey winner of the 2010 Sub-Zero and Wolf kitchen-design contest, beating 60 area entries. Hudson will receive $500 and a March 24-28 trip to the Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach, Fla. During that visit, the winners of up to $15,000 in prizes will be announced.

"This is the first time I entered the contest," Hudson said. "I usually don't enter contests. My staff kept encouraging me to enter the contest. Finally, I said OK, I'll do it."

In the kitchen-design business, winning this competition is grabbing "the brass ring," says Doug Durbin, a judge and former winner. Judging is based on the integration of kitchen appliances, functionality, and aesthetics of the design, Durbin said.

Hudson's winning entry is for an urban kitchen in a Center City brownstone built in the 19th century. Originally the kitchen was in the basement, but it later was moved to the home's first floor.

In considering a new design, Hudson wanted to maintain the house's classic style. Her urban kitchen is unique because "it's respectful of the architectural space," she said.

The completed kitchen, 27 by 20 feet, features a butler's pantry for storing china and separate work stations for preparing food, cleaning, and entertaining. There are two islands, one with an ice shaver, a wine cooler, and stools for entertaining guests, Hudson said. The second is for preparing food.

"We didn't want it to look like a commercial kitchen," Hudson said of her plan.

David Stimmel, an award-winning designer, appreciated Hudson's design. "I like the positioning of the doorway. The light streaming through the French doors runs straight down the hallway," Stimmel said. "I liked how she concealed the kitchen appliances. It balances out the room."

The focal points of Hudson's architectural design are the French doors leading into the garden. Hudson wanted to give the room a "symmetrical feel," so it was essential that "everything line up" or "flow . . . ."

"It was important to the clients to have plenty of storage for linen, silver, and china."

Key elements in the design included using dark cabinets to reference the past, Hudson said. But to avoid creating a very dark room, she did not want to use the traditional dark oak for hardwood floors and woodwork. Instead, she selected raven-stained maple cabinets, a stone floor, and marble countertops. The end result was a "dramatic and contrasting contemporary kitchen," Hudson said.

Hudson, who grew up in Toronto, graduated in 1962 from the University of Manitoba Faculty of Architecture in Winnipeg with a bachelor's degree in interior design. After graduating, she began working on commercial designs such as office buildings and hospitals. In 1979, she started her own business in Toronto.

She later moved to this area, and since 1984 Joanne Hudson & Associates Ltd. has been at the Marketplace Design Center. Now, she has three showrooms: Joanne Hudson Kitchens, Joanne Hudson Bath and Plumbing, and Joanne Hudson Tile and Stone. She is well known for her designs for kitchen remodeling in Pennsylvania.

Drawing has always come naturally, Hudson said. She still loves to pencil sketch. French designer and interior architect Andre Putman, whose clients include Bisazza and Louis Vuitton, influenced Hudson's interior designs. She described Putman's designs as "classic and beautiful."

"They are pure designs with an edge," Hudson said.

In April, she will travel to the Milan Furniture Fair to see the latest designs in kitchens.

"Life goes through the kitchen," Hudson said. Today, people use their kitchens for everything. "It's where life happens."

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