Designer Adolf Conradie of Optima Kitchens took top honours, winning first and second place in the Caesarstone Kitchen of the Year competition, announced at a lunchtime awards ceremony in Stellenbosch on Thursday.

In third place were designers Mariaan van Zyl and Andrea Neer, who designed a kitchen at the Espresso Design Studio.

The finalists have been featured weekly on DStv’s The Home Channel as well as on social media.

The winning kitchen is owned by businessman Tom Creamer, who along with Conradie wins R50 000 and a luxurious KitchenAid hamper. The home owners of the second place kitchen were Christo and Irene de Wett.

Both kitchens are in the famed, R6 billion Mr Steyn City, a residential estate in Johannesburg said to be bigger than the whole of Sandton and situated between Dainfern and Diepsloot.

Douw Steyn of Auto and General Insurance is among the richest men in South Africa.

Conradie said he had worked on at least 15 kitchens in the development already, all of which have the “look like furniture” approach.

Creamer’s kitchen is cutting edge; the centrepiece of a modern, triple-volume house overlooking the luxury estate.

Featuring Caesarstone Pure White countertops, Conradie paired Austrian composite material that has a timber look with imported Niemann poly gloss cabinetry to create a modern/classic kitchen.

“The kitchen had to be designed with both an eye-level view and the view from the top in mind, and the open space was one of the biggest challenges in our design,” Conradie said.

Incorporated into the kitchen space is a cocktail bar and serving spot hidden behind sliding doors, creating the ultimate evening entertainment area.

“All the products are high end and have a lifetime guarantee so apart from being on trend, they offer longevity.”

Bielle Bellingham, editor of Elle Decoration; celebrity chef, Reuben Riffel; creative director of the Expresso Morning Show, Bradley van den Berg; Mor Krisher, head of product design for Caesarstone International; and former Caesarstone Kitchen of the Year winner, Beth Haynes were the judges behind the selection of the eight finalists in the Caesarstone Kitchen of the Year competition.

According to Van den Berg, “What I loved about this kitchen is that it felt like a piece of furniture that worked well with the rest of the interior. There seemed to be a good flow between the kitchen space and the rest of the house.”

The second-placed kitchen also in Steyn City was designed in collaboration with homeowners Christo and Irene de Wett, who wanted a contemporary kitchen to match their modern, new home. Taking inspiration from the latest design trends, Conradie combined white, high-gloss cabinets with a striking, 5m kitchen island adorned with Caesarstone Piatra Grey countertops.

According to Bellingham, the judges selected this kitchen as a finalist because it was a bold choice, “It’s simple; it makes a statement. I thought the planning was quite intriguing. It becomes the centre stage from which to perform your masterpiece.”

Conradie said integrated furniture-look kitchens will dominate next year.

“Both these kitchens have utility areas for washing up dishes and doing laundry. There is also not a fridge, kettle or toaster in sight. It’s all about uncluttered, clean lines. Even the traditional bar has disappeared into a cocktail cabinet that can be tucked away behind closed doors when not entertaining.

“In 2016 the marble look remains popular. Preference for thin countertops continues and handleless cupboards will be the way forward.”

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