When she was planning her family’s Northwest-modern style home in Wexford with luxury home builder Barrington, Nikki Manilla knew she didn’t want it to be like some of the cookie-cutter homes seen throughout the region.
“I really wanted to have a clean look,” she says. “I wanted that white, with the matte black, but I also wanted some wood brought in to warm it up a bit.”
For that, Barrington partnered with Pittsburgh-based Laken Design to select finishes and furnishings that would create the home’s modern, organic feel — and at the center of that was the primary bathroom and the kitchen.
“I wanted everything in my home to feel like a high-end hotel, but also be homey,” Manilla explains.
The designers nailed the look; Best of Design judges chose two of the home’s spaces as winning rooms, Best New Bathroom and Best New Kitchen, for 2022.
Best New Kitchen
Best of Design judges fell in love with the Manilla family’s inviting dining space.
“I really enjoyed the way the design team balanced a contemporary material and color palette with warm wood tones to add depth and richness to the kitchen,” says judge Stephanie Schill Hayden, an architect at Schill Architecture in Cleveland.
Lindsey Longacre, co-owner of Laken Design, agrees achieving balance was a particular focus for the design team.
“Nikki had a vision of it being cleaner and more modern, but she didn’t want it to feel stark,” Longacre says. “That was something we prioritized, using specific finishes that would help feel soft but still clean.”
Besides a quartz countertop, walnut cabinetry and dark accents peppered throughout, the kitchen space also boasts a spacious pantry and a matte-black oven-range hood.
A herringbone wood design, accented by black beams, adorns the ceiling in the dining room, something Schill Hayden calls “one of the coolest new design details” she has seen recently.
Longacre and Laken Design co-owner Kate Tomalis say it was important that the kitchen feel just right; as a family home, it’s the space in which the family — including two children ages 4 and 6 — will prepare meals and entertain guests. Manilla also loves to cook, so functionality was a must.
“We want it to feel like somebody lives here,” Tomalis says. “Like it’s comfortable.”
Best New Bathroom
Staying true to Manilla’s spa-like vision, the bathroom boasts a full steam shower and a large soaking tub set against a feature wall of textured, geometric tile. The designers also balanced the bathroom’s light and airy tones by adding warm walnut wood and darker accents.
“It’s just so beautiful. Nobody would ever hesitate on owning a shower like that,” says Longacre.
There’s also a custom-height vanity built with enough storage to house Manilla’s plethora of makeup and skincare products.
“That’s a hobby of mine — I love all things beauty,” Manilla says. “It turned out perfectly.”
The designers also incorporated plenty of natural light into the bathroom’s design, adding transom windows above the cabinets as a way to bring daylight into the space without sacrificing privacy.
“It’s a big bathroom, but it’s not huge, considering the scale of the house,” says Tomalis. “The natural light makes it feel bigger than it is.”
The luxury bathroom also vibes with the additional “bonus space” — a full-blown massage room.
“That is probably one of my favorite spaces to be in,” Manilla says.
General Contractor: Barrington Homes
HVAC: Jeff Sorick Heating and Cooling
Electric: Mel Stettler Electric, Ferguson, Restoration Hardware
Plumbing: SPLASH/Nicklas Supply
Cabinetry: Barrington Homes (Kitchen Craft and Decora Cabinetry)
Hardware: Top Knobs
Appliances: Bridgeville Appliance, Monogram Appliances
Lighting: Ferguson, Restoration Hardware
Flooring: Prosource, The Tile Shop, Antenucci Flooring
Countertops: Premier Granite and Stone
Windows and Doors: Pella, Pivot Door Company
Furnishings: Denver Modern, Restoration Hardware
Tile: Prosource, The Tile Shop.