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Prizewinning Projects

Love getting an inside look at amazing spaces to fuel your own home design aspirations as much as we do? Each year, we take you inside the “best of the best”: local kitchens and baths that earn our accolades for design ingenuity. So take it all in.

Contemporary Kitchen Winner
Polished Perfection

There’s nothing amateur about the bright, contemporary kitchen of Karen Viscito. The space’s thoughtful layout, styling and appliance choices suggest that an experienced design professional had a hand in the project. But it was Viscito herself—a homeowner with impressive design savvy and practical DIY experience—who envisioned and designed this award-winning space.

The kitchen is part of the semi-custom home the Viscitos recently built in a move from Chester County to Mechanicsburg. While she’s had no formal training, Viscito has a natural flair for creating beautiful, functional spaces. In fact, the kitchen renovation in her previous home earned national media attention in Better Homes & Garden’s “Real Life Kitchens and Baths” in 2012.

“It was great starting with a blank canvas after our last kitchen project, which was a renovation. We weren’t tied to any specific footprint,” Viscito says.

Viscito was already in touch with her design preferences, which include light, airy color palettes that make the room “a little happier.” She selected Dutch Wood, a Myerstown cabinetmaker, to create cabinets that extend to the ceiling, maximizing height and storage.

“We went with a Shaker style so the cabinetry didn’t come off as too sleek,” Viscito says. “The cabinets read white but they’re actually a very pale gray to tie into the grays of the countertops and the island.”

The countertops are composed of an elegant light gray Quartzite, a natural stone that’s more durable than marble, but provides similar aesthetic qualities with its soft, swirling veining.

The backsplash is adorned in white, beveled tiles in an Arabesque pattern. Viscito used the distinctive tiles in her Chester County kitchen after she won them in a contest from the manufacturer. Imagining her new space, she was hard-pressed to find a tile she liked better.

“They are really quite different, the way the beveled edges catch and reflect light and complement the crystal chandelier,” Viscito says.

Functionality was equally important to Viscito. Dividing the room into different work zones for specific tasks makes the space conducive to comfortable and convenient food prep, cooking, clean up and entertaining.

The prep zone features an expansive island equipped with a Kohler Stages under-mount sink with integrated accessories. Spacious countertops provide ample space for “spreading out and baking.”  A glass-doored, Sub-Zero refrigerator and Sub-Zero freezer drawers are within easy reach.

In the cooking zone, a Blue Star range, manufactured in Reading, was selected for its superior performance. Under-counter speed and steamer ovens in the island meet Viscito’s versatile cooking needs. Double ovens were incorporated into the prep area out of the way of the cooking area because, as Viscito says, “When you’re baking, you’re not active.”

In the clean-up zone, two Fisher Paykel drawer dishwashers flank either side of the sink. Their custom paneled fronts are a precise match with the cabinetry, allowing them to blend seamlessly into the space.

With her dream kitchen complete, Viscito is looking forward to a new endeavor—a design consultancy ( that will allow her to use her natural talent for design to help clients enjoy functional and beautiful spaces like hers.

Resource List:

Design by: Karen Viscito, Karen Viscito Interiors,
Cabinets: Full overlay door, maple painted in off-white, Dutch Wood Cabinets, Myerstown
Island Color: London Fog by Benjamin Moore
Countertops: Super White Quartzite, Stone Masters, Kennett Square
Flooring: Prefinished Andale Oak in Saddlebrook Hardwood by Mohawk
Backsplash: White, beveled Arabesque tile, Mission Stone & Tile, Nashville, Tennessee
Wall Paint: Gray Owl by Benjamin Moore  
Refrigerator: 36” Sub-Zero refrigerator with glass door
Freezer Drawers: Sub-Zero freezer drawers
Range: 36" Blue Star Rangetop Model, Martin’s Appliance, Quarryville
Ovens: Miele Master Chef double wall oven, Martin’s Appliance
Steam Oven: Miele Steam Oven classic design, Martin’s Appliance
Speed Oven: Miele Classic Chef Speed Oven, Martin’s Appliance
Dishwashers: Fisher Paykel single dishwasher drawers
Beverage Refrigerator: Perlick beverage center


Traditional Kitchen Winner
Elegant Transformation

Photography by Peter Leach

An elegant home calls for an equally elegant kitchen. With its rich mix of textures, classic European details and layout optimized for entertaining, this recently renovated kitchen fits perfectly in its stately York home. Designed and renovated by Columbia-based Steiner & Houck (, the space stands as testament that warmth and luxury can co-exist seamlessly.

Sandra Steiner-Houck and Heather Rineer are the creative forces behind the home’s new kitchen and family room. Their clients, empty nesters with a penchant for entertaining, were drawn to classic European design. In addition to making the space more conducive to entertaining, Steiner-Houck set out to create a more sophisticated space with design choices in proportion with the scale of the home.

“The home is set in the rolling hills of Southern York. It’s embellished with exquisite architectural details and is surrounded by European-influenced gardens,” says Steiner-Houck.

The kitchen’s warm, light-hued color palette is punctuated with subtle yellow and blue accents. Its mix of dramatic textures includes natural stone, man-made quartz, luminous glass and several species of natural hardwoods.

“We played on texture to create interest and a timelessness in a neutral color palette. It has a natural appeal that will last over time,” says Steiner-Houck.

Among the first goals was to enlarge the window at the sink, bringing in light and outside views. Under the wide window, the clean-up area features a one-of-a-kind copper farmhouse sink. The custom apron-front sink features a French-influenced design, making a statement in the Old World European style kitchen. A Bosch dishwasher with a custom wood door panel disappears into the room’s cabinetry.

The room’s focal point—a grand custom hood in a cream-toned natural stone—mimics the classic European-style balusters on the patio, visible from the kitchen and adjacent family room. Over the range, an Azul Arc D’midi natural stone spiral mosaic tile with a Lagos gold accent was installed in a diagonal pattern. On either side of the range, a backsplash comprised of glass mosaics in an earth-toned hue add dimension and luminosity.

Custom-built maple cabinetry in cream with a hand-applied glaze extends to the ceiling, evoking an old world feel while keeping the space bright. For the perimeter countertops, a cream-toned quartz with a 6 cm thick profile was selected for its scale and durability.

The spacious island expanded much-needed prep space. The island’s hardwood walnut countertops introduce natural texture. A prep sink and microwave drawer were incorporated into the prep side of island, while seating on the opposite side provides a “friendly barrier” for entertaining. Adjacent to the island, a Wolf range is flanked by two under-counter Wolf convection ovens in stainless steel finishes.

The Sub-Zero refrigerator and freezer are fully integrated into the cabinetry with custom-designed rustic alder cabinet panels. The armoire’s arched detail pays homage to the grand, arched windows in the adjacent family room, where Steiner-Houck also incorporated the shape into custom-designed built-ins.
From layout to installation, and appliances to finishes, the Steiner-Houck design-build team has created timeless and sophisticated spaces deserving of this stunning York County home.

Resource List:

Designer: Sandra Steiner-Houck
Cabinetry: Premier Custom-Built Maple Cabinetry in cotton white with a Bristol finish
Refrigerator Armoire: Premier Custom-Built in Alder/Rustic
Countertops: Silestone Carmel Rhine in leather finish
Custom Hood: Old World Stoneworks “Waverly” in cream with stainless steel liner
Cook Top Backsplash: Lagos Azul Mosaic stone tiles with Lagos Azul grand brick perimeter border
Backsplash (to left and right of cook top): Original style tumbled earth glass with broken joint pattern
Refrigerator: Sub-Zero TR fully integrated refrigerator
Freezer: Sub-Zero TF-I fully integrated freezer
Ovens: Wolf Built-in convection oven with stainless steel finish
Cook Top: Wolf 4-burner with griddle stainless steel cook top
Main Sink: Manhattan Interior Designs triple bowl copper under-mount farmhouse sink with custom design apron front
Dishwasher: Bosch fully integrated dishwasher with custom wood panel
Microwave: Sharp under-counter stainless steel microwave drawer
Prep Sink: Manhattan Interior Designs single bowl copper under-mount sink


Traditional Bath Winner
What’s Old is New Again

There’s something special about bringing new life to a home that’s seen generations of owners. That’s the feeling you get from Joe and Lauren Duff, a young couple who garnered our nomination for best traditional bath while renovating and restoring their 1790s historic stone farmhouse in West Hempfield Township.

The spacious second-floor bath was a bedroom when the home was originally built. Prior to the Duffs' purchase, the space had been renovated to accommodate modern conveniences. However, the bath was cramped and narrow with closets that were essentially unusable.

“My thinking was that we could remove these large, dysfunctional closets and use cabinetry and built-ins to make better use of the space,” Joe says.

To provide ample storage space, the Duffs added custom, built-in cabinetry with help from Mylin Cabinetry in Millersville. A rustic glaze was applied to give the cream-toned cabinets depth and character. The room’s bead board wainscoting, also in cream, contrasts the wall’s subdued blue-green tone, evoking a sense of balance and calm in the space.

Renovating the bathroom with sensitivity to period details was important to the Duffs, whose home search brought them back time and again to older historic homes. Carefully sourced trim work complements the original 1790s trim found throughout the house. Behind the tub, the home’s original stone wall is exposed, lending historic character to the space.

“Exposing the wall was an idea we had mid-project. Now, it’s one of my favorite parts of the room,” Lauren says.

Among Lauren’s top priorities for the new bath was incorporating a double vanity that accommodated both her and Joe. Also built by Mylin, it features double mirrors and period lighting fixtures from The Tin Bin in Neffsville. Venetian bronze faucets pick up dark tones in the Santa Cecilia granite countertops. The same granite is utilized in the shower seat, which is fully integrated with the adjacent tub surround.

A builder by trade with Duff Builders (, Joe was drawn to glass enclosed showers in the houses he had worked on. The glass-walled shower features a handheld showerhead and body sprays, as well as a traditional showerhead. An almond-toned glazed porcelain injects natural texture and a glass/ceramic mosaic border provides visual interest. On the shower floor, 2 by 2-inch honed porcelain tiles were used to reduce slipperiness.

Opposite the shower, a deep MAAX Pearl whirlpool tub provides a relaxing escape. While the space strikes a decidedly historic tone, the Duffs weren’t opposed to including modern amenities, including the 40” flat-screen TV mounted above the tub.

Radiant heat set on a timer was installed beneath the porcelain floor tiles. Eliminating the need for other heat sources, it’s set to 85 degrees, providing a warm welcome on chilly mornings.

With a preservation mindset, the Duffs kept the room’s original doors, stripping them to reveal layers of blue, brown and cream hues that complement the room’s tranquil color palette. In the process, the couple acquired an even deeper appreciation for their home’s story.

“There were five layers of history in those paints,” says Joe. “Every time I work in an old house, I’m drawn to it more and more.”

Resource List:

Design and Construction: Duff Builders
Cabinetry: Custom-built, Mylin Cabintrey
Cabinet hardware: John Wright Company
Countertops: Santa Cecilia Granite, Ilkem Granite
Floor tiles: 18” x 18” American Florim Stonefire Beige Glazed Porcelain
Shower wall tiles: 9” x 12” American Florim Stonefire Almond with Bliss Glass Stone Mosaics in Cappuccino accent border
Shower floor tiles: 2” x 2” American Florim Stonefire Almond with 4” x”4 Stonefire Beige border
Fixtures: Delta Victorian Collection in Venetian Bronze, Hajoca
Tub: MAAX Pearl, Hajoca
Toilet: Kohler, Hajoca
Vanity and ceiling light, towel bars and toilet paper holder: The Tin Bin
Wall paint: Benjamin Moore Tranquility
Woodwork Trim: Valspar Lovely Bluff (similar to)


Contemporary Bath Winner
Clean, Calm, Contemporary

When it’s clean, it’s clean. Those are the words and vision of Darren Trautman of Inspirations Bath & Kitchen Studio by Hajoca (, the designer behind this polished master bath in Palmyra. Working with design partner Tim Weishaar of Interiors Harrisburg, Trautman’s “crisp, clean” design transformed the bath into a relaxing retreat with a subdued luxe feel for the home’s owners.

Homeowners Todd and Francine Schaeffer have come to depend on Trautman for his design talent and experience. Indeed, most of the couple’s home has Trautman’s signature on it, including the living room, dining room, kitchen and upstairs hallway. While the rest of the residence features bold color choices and an urban-mod aesthetic, the homeowners opted for a more relaxed, spa-like atmosphere in the master bath.

“Urban mod in a bathroom can be very challenging to execute without introducing avocado fixtures and orange shag carpet, and that’s not where the homeowners wanted to take the design,” says Trautman.

With its relatively small footprint, the room didn’t lend itself to a different floor plan, according to Trautman. So the design team thoughtfully selected finishes that would make a big impact, starting with 12 by 24-inch glossy white tiles stacked vertically on the walls. To inject some earthy texture into the space, the pair decided on 1 by 1-inch travertine listellos arranged vertically.

“The travertine brings a bit of nature into the room,” says Trautman. “We opted for a unique vertical pattern versus the typical horizontal pattern at shoulder height.”

For the vanity, a zebra-wood laminate was favored over natural wood for its durability against moisture in the small space. The distinctive grain pairs well with the unstained walnut in a nearby hallway, providing a sense of continuity. Topped with white quartz countertops, the vanity features a vibrant Kohler sink in a Vapour Orange slump glaze with color that gets richer toward the bottom.

“It echoes the colors in the travertine and looks great,” says Trautman. “With such a small space, the sink provided an opportunity to make an impact.”

Furthering the room’s warm, amber-toned accents, the designers selected fixtures in a French Gold finish from the Kohler Purist collection for the sink and shower. Purist wall sconces flank either side of the mirror and feature integrated LED night lights.

The glass-doored shower includes a small corner bench and both rain and hand-held showerheads for different shower experiences. A hatbox toilet was selected to diminish its presence in the bath. For the door, the homeowners opted for a pocket door with fluted glass to maximize space and enhance the connection with the master suite.

Modern conveniences and storage space were incorporated into the wall opposite the vanity, at the owner’s request. A flat-screen TV fits neatly into the wall and niches with glass shelving provide space for decorative accents and frequently used items.

With its minimalist lines, polished white walls and bronze and orange accents, this contemporary master bath epitomizes the design team’s vision of “crisp, clean” design.

Resource List:

Project Team:
Design: Darren Trautman, Inspirations Bath & Kitchen Studio by Hajoca, Harrisburg, and Tim Weishaar, Interiors Harrisburg
Contractor: Chris Engle

From Inspirations Bath and Kitchen Studio by Hajoca, Harrisburg:
Lights: Kohler Purist® Sconces in French Gold
Faucets and Accessories: Kohler Purist in French Gold
Sink: Kohler Iron Tones in Vapour Orange
Cabinet: Bertch Bath Insignia in Macassar
Toilet: Kohler Purist Hatbox
Countertop: Solid White Quartz
Floor and Accent Tile: 1” x 1” travertine
Wall Tile: 12” x 24” ceramic in high gloss white

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