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Decadent Designs

Announcing the winners of Susquehanna Style's 2013 kitchen & bath contest

Nate Brubaker

Kitchen Winner: Wynwood

For Erin Barley and her husband, Tim, collecting ideas and inspiration for renovations was simply a part of life. After all, their kitchen would be the Washington, D.C.-based couple’s fourth home renovation in just five years. But it was the influence of popular British period drama "Downton Abbey" that fueled Erin to spend long nights sitting in bed with graph paper, plotting out floor plans. She envisioned the look of an old English country house, with dark cabinets and brass accents, for their own residence. And while Erin wanted to respect the historical aspects of the Capitol Hill rowhome, she also yearned for fresh, modern appeal.

In 2012, Lancaster County design and custom cabinet company Wynwood ( took charge of the project. They worked closely with the couple to tailor the kitchen to suit their distinctive needs. Tim wanted a social space in which visitors could feel comfortable and not intrusive. Erin’s needs were different: “I wanted a really functional kitchen with plenty of storage and counter space … and room to hide everything so my counters were mostly bare,” she explains. Designer Nate Brubaker kept the couple’s needs, a social room that was also rife with storage solutions, in mind while conceptualizing their new space. Yet, he would also have to tackle another design challenge: maximizing a narrow, almost-galley kitchen by creating pieces that were “super custom.”  
To achieve a more social atmosphere, Brubaker created room separation without lines, splitting the space between a small sitting area and the main workspace. The designer knew that standard 24-inch-deep base cabinets would crowd the kitchen, so he designed smaller cabinets that would still allow a comfortable fit for appliances. Brubaker’s solution to the varied brick wall depths behind the range were varied cabinet depths as well: a hinged spice cabinet to left of the range was fashioned to be 10 inches deep, while the other side was a mere 7 inches. “We were constantly re-checking the fit of the cabinets in each part of the room,” Brubaker shares. “It was like fitting puzzle pieces.”

To create additional storage for Erin as well as a boost in visual intrigue, Brubaker installed tall cabinets that stretched to the ceiling. A removable rolling ladder was added to access high-up storage space.  Brubaker then constructed a large pull-out pantry strong enough to hold 450 pounds but agile enough to be pushed out of sight.  Yet, the designer’s piece de resistance in the kitchen would be a “baking center” nearly the same size as the fridge. Brubaker fashioned entertainment center-style doors that slid on tracks to open and reveal a marble countertop workspace within the cabinet. Larger appliances, from blenders to mixers, are housed inside, while deep drawers hold canisters of sugar and flour. “Once [Erin] opens the door, she’s working,” Brubaker explains. “The special functionality of the area makes it easier to clean up.”

For Brubaker, the Barley’s dream kitchen was a labor of love, from the hours spent “inside” their virtual kitchen in his design program, to his insistence on hand-painting everything himself; delicate brush strokes in the direction of wood grains are visible reminders of this.   “The most important thing to me is that they are happy with the functionality,” Brubaker says. “It’s easy to determine right away if you’re happy with the look.”

 Luckily, both the look and functionality of the finished renovation were a success. The combination of Erin’s distinctive vision and Brubaker’s dedication led to a winning kitchen that strikes a balance between modern luxe and functional workspace. “I am thrilled with the results,” Erin shares. “It's our favorite room to hang out in.”


Bath Winner: Inspirations Bath & Kitchen Studio by Hajoca, Interiors Furniture and Design

Donovan Roberts Witmer

After a lifetime on the move due to work demands, Jeff and Christina Lilla were finally ready to put down their roots and invest in a home. Their goal was to make that home an enjoyable place, one that would reflect their distinct design perspective: clean lines, bold black and white pieces and good flow throughout the entire house. So when it came to remodeling the couple’s en suite bathroom in their Hummelstown home, Christina knew she could trust two designer friends to deliver a room that rang true to their style.

“Together they are amazing,” Christina says of Darren Trautman, of Inspirations Bath & Kitchen Studio by Hajoca (, and Tim Weishaar of Interiors Furniture and Design ( “They’re not typical designers for this area. I’m very picky.”  

One night over laughs and a few cocktails, Darren, Tim and Christina began conjuring up ideas for a luxurious bathroom that could be glamorous and functional. Both Christina and her husband wanted a contemporary look that was also timeless and swanky.

“I didn’t want anything you could open up a magazine and find everyone has it,” explains Christina. “I wanted something more formal. I wanted a bathroom that felt like you’re staying at a hotel.”
Working alongside contractor Mel Kelley of Mel Kelley Design/Build (, Tim and Darren took time to configure the slightly narrow bathroom space and guide the placement of every facet of the room. The designers wanted to give the Lillas their coveted hotel-like bathroom that still felt personal. They planned to introduce carefully selected, colorful pieces of artwork into the room. But, the designers knew they would first have to take Christina out of her “comfort zone” in order to add splashes of color.

“At first she wanted the whole house to be black and white.  We had to almost fight with her,” says Weishaar. “You need expressive color at the end to make it look interesting.”

Working with the accent color palette of chartreuse, acid yellow and peacock blue, the designers added color pops throughout the room: A large painting of a peacock above the marble tub immediately catches one’s eye; two contemporary pieces of artwork that resemble spirographs are displayed over the white vinyl console; natural flowers in a bold fuchsia sit cheerfully in one corner. Then, there’s the dazzling, chunky, gilded mirror, a talking point in and of itself.

“The gold mirror introduces warmth and glamour into the room,” explains Weishaar. Additionally, the large-scale Artworks Gallery and Custom Framing creation is designed to match a chandelier in the couple’s bedroom.With its detached showerhead and industrial-style door, one of the most unique aspects of the bathroom is the shower. Black tiles, glossy and matte, alternate to create vertical stripes that are deliberate and masculine, yet glamorous.

“Everyone wants their hardware, lamps, tiles, et cetera to be one finish,” Trautman explains, “but we both don’t subscribe to that idea.”

And while, in the end, Christina acquiesced in the designers’ addition of color and texture, she remained resolute about one facet: Kohler plumbing had to be installed throughout the bathroom, as well as the rest of the home. Having grown up in the Village of Kohler, Wis., Christina thought it only fitting. As for the final product, Christina says it perfectly suits both her and her husband’s needs, thanks to Weishaar and Trautman's consummate understanding of the Lillas' industrial-glamour style. “It’s exactly what we wanted,” she says.

Kitchen Resources:
Design: Layout and concept inspirations by Erin Barley; practical input, revised layout and additional concepts by Wynwood

Cabinets: Understated look, flush inset, flat panel doors, Wynwood

Countertops: Statuary marble, SNG Marble

Flooring: Original wood, pickled

Backsplash: Beveled-edge subway tiles, white, online purchase

Light fixture: Vintage pendants; gooseneck over sink, Restoration Hardware

Hardware: Mixture of bin-pulls, card holders and octagonal knobs, unlacquered brass, House of Antique Hardware

Faucets: Signature Hardware

Pot Filler: Newport Brass Faucets.

Refrigerator: KitchenAid Architect Series II KBFS20EVMS

Dishwasher: Bosch SHX3AR75UC fully integrated dishwasher with 14-place settings, 6 wash cycles, 2 options, sanitize option, delay start, adjustable upper rack and 50 dBA stainless steel

Range: Viking 30-inch dual fuel

Bath Resources:
Design: Darren Trautman, Inspirations Bath & Kitchen Studio by Hajoca; Timothy Weishaar, Interiors
Furniture and Design; Christina Lilla

Contractor: Mel Kelley, Mel Kelley Design/Build

Cabinetry: Custom by Oak Park

Cabinet Hardware: Atlas

Countertops, Tub Surround: Bianco Carrera marble from Down East Fabrication

All Plumbing: Kohler from Inspirations Bath & Kitchen Studio by Hajoca

Bathtub: Jason Forma Collection from Inspirations Bath & Kitchen Studio by Hajoca

Floor Tile: Fluid marble polished 12-by-24-inch, Arley Tile

Shower Floor Tiles: Glacier Blend 5/8-by-5/8-inch mosaic, Arley Tile

Shower Wall Tile: Ceramic, Rittenhouse Square

Block Gloss and Black Matte 3-by-6-inch, Dal Tile

Shower Door: Rolaire by Roda available at Inspirations Bath & Kitchen Studio by Hajoca

Console: White vinyl and nail heads, Custom-design, Vanguard Furniture from Interiors Furniture and Design

Wall Paint: “Backdrop” by Sherwin Williams

Mirror: Custom-made, Artworks Gallery and Custom Framing

Artwork and Accessories: Interiors Furniture and Design

Lights: Robert Abbey from Interiors Furniture and Design

Towels: Matouk from Inspirations Bath & Kitchen Studio by Hajoca

All Tile: Furnished by ProSource Wholesale Floorcovering Design

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