Local Interior Design Firm Wins “Contractor of the Year” Award

Kelley Evens (right) and Kolbe Clark accept the Contractor of the Year (CotY) award in the “Residential Kitchen $40,000-$80,000” Category.
Kelley Evens (right) and Kolbe Clark accept the Contractor of the Year (CotY) award in the “Residential Kitchen $40,000-$80,000” Category.

For the fifth consecutive year, Aurora Kitchens & Interiors of Somerville, NJ (www.auroradesignsnj.com) took home a prestigious Contractor of the Year (CotY) Award from the Central Jersey Chapter of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (CJNARI) for excellence in design and workmanship. 

At its Evening of Excellence Awards Dinner at Embassy Suites Hotel in Parsippany, NJ on Friday, January 24, the Association presented one of its coveted annual awards to Aurora for a difficult remodeling project in the “Residential Kitchen $40,000-$80,000” Category.  All entries were scored by an independent panel of judges in six separate areas: client satisfaction, functionality, aesthetics, craftsmanship, innovation and degree of difficulty.  This year’s entries were judged by a team of members of the North Jersey Chapter of NARI.

            “The project basically involved a complete redesign of this Hillsborough family’s outdated, builder-designed kitchen,” says Branchburg resident Kelley Evens, Managing Partner of Aurora Kitchens and Interiors.  “It lacked sufficient cooking and storage space, had a poor work flow and was not lighted properly.  Fortunately, the appliances were in excellent condition, just poorly located, so we were able to use nearly all of them as part of the new design.  Pretty much everything else, however, was replaced.”

            The refrigerator, for example, was positioned in such a way that its open door blocked the walkway between it and the oddly shaped island, frequently triggering a traffic jam.  The microwave sat on the counter and the existing cooktop occupied most of the top of the island, both taking up valuable work space,  There was no convenient surface near the wall oven on which to place hot items taken out of it.  “The homeowner had to turn around with hot items and place them on the island, and with children in the area, this was less than ideal,” Evens explains.

            Relocating the refrigerator and the wall oven, replacing the cooktop with a professional unit and exhaust hood, and relocating both to a countertop location made food preparation more efficient.  Replacing the existing cabinets and using full extension guides on all the drawers for better access, creating a built-in space for the microwave and redesigning the island provided more usable storage space.  It also increased the available surface work space by 84 inches without reducing the floor area.

“These changes not only made the kitchen more attractive, but much more functional as well,” says Hillsborough resident Kolbe Clark, Managing Partner of Aurora Kitchens and Interiors.  “To make it even more attractive, a large window was installed in place of the single window over the sink to allow as much natural light as possible.  A combination of adjustable recessed lights and hanging pendants over the island provide plenty of light for food prep or can be softened for dining.  LED lights under the cabinets also serve as task lighting.”

A description of the project, complete with before and after photographs, can be seen on the Central Jersey NARI website at www.cjnari.com.

Aurora Kitchens & Interiors is a full service design firm offering a wide array of products and services from design consultation to complete project management, including both residential and commercial designs, throughout central New Jersey.  Projects range from new furniture for a family room to complete kitchen remodeling.  For additional information, contact Kolbe Clark (kclark@auroradesignsnj.com) or Kelley Evens (kevens@auroradesignsnj.com) at (908) 566-8555.


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