4th Annual NKBA Designer Awards Announced

The NKBA hosted a beautiful evening at Prime, Saratoga National last night to celebrate their annual New York Tri State Chapter Awards. Columbia Cabinets was honored to receive five awards with two of our talented designers being recognized for their work. Justina Auer was honored with three awards: Best New Kitchen Up To 300SF, Best Remodel Kitchen Over 300SF and Best New Full Bathroom. Amy Van Wie was honored with two awards: Best New Half Bathroom and Best New Kitchen 150SF+.

Justina (1)


Congratulations to both Justina and Amy…we are all so incredibly proud of you.

Some details and photos of the projects follow.


Best New Kitchen Up To 300SF

Brookhaven I – Frameless Cabinetry
Door: Vista Plastic with Aluminum Edgebanding
Upper Cabinet Finish: White Laminate
Lower Cabinet Finish: Broadwalk Textured Laminate
Main Countertop: Silestone Quartz – Mont Blanc
Bar Top Countertop: Color Quartz – Star Wars
Designer: Justina Auer

Color Palette Replaces Natural Light

New up to 300

New up to 300 (3)

New up to 300 (2)

We defined this thoroughly contemporary kitchen by a modern color palette of black, white and gray. To add just a touch of color, the backsplash pops with an accent of red tile.

Textured high pressure gray laminate on the base cabinets have an aluminum edging accent which seamlessly connects them to the appliances. The white upper cabinets are also finished with the same aluminum edging, keeping the main area, which is windowless, bright and open. Antique glass above the sink area, a modern metal and glass hood and strategically placed decorative light fixtures also help to compensate for the lack of natural light.

Best Remodel Kitchen Over 300SF

Brookhaven I – Frameless Cabinetry
Door: Fremont Raised
Perimeter Finish: Antique White Painted on Maple
Island Finish: Java Stain on Maple
Countertop: Cambria – Laneshaw
Designer: Justina Auer

The Island Makes a Statement

Remodel Over 300 (2)

Remodel over 300

The first task for this project was to open the space. We removed the original wall between the dining room and kitchen and then opened up the stairway with a baluster. Finally we added glass French doors to the formal living room space.

The focal point of the kitchen is a massive uniquely shaped island that maximizes kitchen storage, contains the main clean up area with sink and dishwasher and also provides seating for casual meals and/or a space for guests to enjoy a glass of wine.

Some of the truly special features of this project are interior space enhancements like the special paper towel drawer that allows you to keep the paper towel roll hidden, but accessible, next to the main sink. The tall pull-out pantry/ spice cabinet to left of the refrigerator allows for added storage rather than a large filler and gives the fridge the maximum capacity when opening up the door to access interior storage bins.

The hutch area provides extra tall pantry storage as well as utility storage with beautiful antiqued glass inserts on the upper cabinets to provide more light. We intentionally did not allow the moulding to go up to ceiling, making the area feel more like a free standing furniture piece.

An original stain glass pane from the wall that was removed is now an accent back lit art piece at the dining side of the space.

Best New Full Bathroom

Brookhaven I – Frameless Cabinetry
Door: Bridgeport Recessed
Finish: Java Stain on Maple
Countertop: Carrera Marble
Designer: Justina Auer

Masculine Chic

full bath

Warm dark java stain was selected to create a masculine feel to this expansive master bath project. To prevent the bath from becoming dark and heavy, light Carrera marble countertops and chic porcelain tiles made the space spa-like. To add another element of Zen, we used crystal handles on the cabinetry which sparkle against the java stain. A tucked away water closet and a large tiled walk in shower finish off this exquisite master bathroom.

Best New Half Bathroom

Brookhaven I – Frameless Cabinetry
Door: Bridgeport Recessed
Finish: Matte Dark Lager on Heartwood maple
Countertop: Caesarstone
Designer: Amy Van Wie

Fit for Guests but with Storage to Spare


The half bath was designed to have a tilt out hamper and a built in medicine cabinet to keep everything neat and tidy. The custom drawer heads have plumbing cutouts so the drawers are still operable.

Best New Kitchen 150SF+

Brookhaven II – Framed Inset Cabinetry
Door: Lewisburg Recessed
Finish: Alpine White, Black with espresso glaze and the Hutch is Vintage Putty, and Hazel on Distressed Pine
Countertop: Soap Stone
Designer: Amy Van Wie

Rustic Chic



This was such a fun project. Our clients were razor focused on all the details, which of course, as a designer, I loved! We decided to expand the finish palette from the traditional one or two to three: alpine white on the perimeter, black with espresso glaze for the island and vintage putty and hazel for the hutch area. We wanted to differentiate the hutch from the rest of the kitchen but still make it part of a unified whole. The third finish kept the area distinct and the matching door style kept it integrated.

The symmetrical balance gives the kitchen a sophistication which reflects the owners perfectly. The Kohler Whitehaven farm sink, backsplash and hardware introduce the rustic elements reflective of the rest of the home and its bucolic setting.


Dinner with the Incomparable Jaime Ortiz at SkyFall

This past week, guests enjoyed the extraordinary culinary talents of Jaime Ortiz of 677 Prime at the exquisite home of Stephen and Rick Cutting-Miller, SkyFall.


Co-hosted by Continuum Wealth Advisors and Columbia Cabinets, the evening began with champagne and welcomes from Evan Levey, Stephen and Jaime.


The kitchen, designed by Justina Auer, one of Columbia Cabinets talented designers, is fitted with Brookhaven cabinetry. The coolness of the natural stone countertops in both the kitchen and pantry is warmed by the soft white pantry cabinets and rich tones of the rift cut oak kitchen cabinets. The result is an inviting sophistication…a perfect synthesis of urban chic situated in bucolic splendor.



The space worked exactly as Stephen and Rick intended. The main kitchen, bookending the magnificent great room, served as an ideal place to gather and, in this case, watch Jaime demonstrate and breakdown the evening’s recipes. The uber functional, separate chef’s pantry was the perfect venue to complete all the prep work, plating and clean-up, adjacent and convenient but out of sight and therefore not distracting.



The menu was a nod to the cooler months headed our way:




Many thanks to our gracious hosts, Stephen and Rick, and of course to the extraordinarily talented Jaime Ortiz.



Celebrate Columbus Day Weekend with a Nod to Liguria

During your holiday weekend, try making a classic Pasta with Pesto from Christopher Columbus’ hometown of Genoa in the province of Liguria.

Here’s an original documented pesto recipe dating back at least 150 years.

50g basil leaves, preferably the variety grown in Liguria and only small leaves from young plants, no stems; half cup extra virgin olive oil from Liguria; 6 tablespoons of grated Parmigiano Reggiano DOP cheese and 2 tablespoons of Pecorino DOP cheese; 2 Italian garlic cloves; 1 tablespoon pine nuts; a couple of granules of coarse salt.

Use a marble mortar and wooden pestle. All ingredients should be at room temperature.

Wash the basil leaves with cold water and dry well with a clean cloth. Crush the garlic in the mortar. Add a couple of granules of salt and crush. Add about 30 basil leaves and crush.

The oils and aroma of the basil are in the veins of the leaves, so don’t be aggressive when crushing; use a gentle, rotating motion. Keep at it, adding a few more leaves at a time and the pine nuts, again not all at once! Add the cheese, one spoon at a time, alternating with a drizzle of olive oil until you’ve included all the ingredients.

Use it as a sauce for pasta, put some into a minestrone or try it instead of a stock cube in other dishes. Variations on the theme include substituting the pine nuts with walnuts.

If you are feeling adventurous, tweak your pesto pasta in the classical style of Liguria by adding green beans & potatoes.

Open a bottle of Vermentino and enjoy!



Summer Evening of Mexican Street Foods with Ric Orlando on Saratoga Lake


Columbia Cabinets was thrilled to host a flavorful evening with Lisa and Scott Grimmett at their magnificent home overlooking Saratoga Lake. Having worked with the Grimmett’s on designing their kitchen and cabinetry, we were thrilled to receive the honor of Pinnacle Home – Best Kitchen at the 2014 Parade of Homes.

Project 4_1

What a fitting celebration for friends to gather and enjoy an evening learning from Ric Orlando, celebrated chef of New World Bistro Bar.


The evening began with refreshing margaritas and continued with a powerfully flavored array of Mexican street foods including:


  • The best Guacamole north of the border
  • Ceviche “Mixto”…not as frightening to prepare as I thought
  • “Green” Chicken Tacos, the new slider
  • Jicama Slaw: Jicama is a crunchy, slightly sweet root veggie native to Central America that tastes like a cross between a water chestnut and an apple. It makes amazing slaw.
  • Queso Fresco
  • Perfectly Mexican Black Beans
  • Yellow Rice


Ric explained that since these foods are powerfully flavored with acidity, spice and herbal notes, skip the big red wines and gravitate towards those bright whites like NY Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Soave and Albarino. Of course beer, margaritas or sangria are perfect to enjoy with these dishes as well.

Special thanks to Ric, Lisa, Scott and CC’s special event planner Michele and designer Mary for organizing such a memorable evening!

For some details, as well as additional pictures, of the Grimmett’s magnificent home, visit the portfolio section of our website:




Enjoy these final weeks of summer,


An Evening with Jaime Ortiz

What an extraordinary evening earlier this month! The Kuhn family graciously opened their fantastic kitchen and beautiful home to Columbia Cabinets, friends and Jaime Ortiz, corporate executive chef of Mazzone Hospitality who demonstrated/cooked a magnificent, scrumptious meal!



Senior Designer Amy Van Wie had recently finished a multi-room project for the Kuhn’s when she, and our special events coordinator Michele Weiser, thought it would be a great idea to ask Shannon and Jim if they would be willing to host a cooking event in their spectacular kitchen. The rest, as they say, is history.


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Evan Levey greeted everyone and turned the evening over to Jaime who was amazing. Funny, entertaining, informative, organized…an absolute perfect instructor chef! Friends gathered around the island to watch, learn and enjoy!



The menu was a celebration of summer:

Edamame Dumplings with a Riesling Broth

Diver Seared Scallops with a Fennel, Arugula, Orange Salad with Cauliflower Puree

Seasoned Filet Mignon, Heirloom Tomatoes with a Pebre Sauce, and Fingerling Potato Hash with Veal Glaze





Thank you Shannon and Jim, and of course Jaime, for such a memorable evening.




CRBRA Best in Building and Design Awards Announced

The CRBRA hosted a beautiful evening at the stunning EMPAC at RPI in Troy, New York  last Thursday. I am so proud that two incredibly talented Columbia Cabinets designers were recognized for their work. Justina won for Best Kitchen Design over $75,000 and for Best Bathroom Design under $40,000. Amy won for Best Bathroom Design over $40,000.



Some details and photos of the projects follow.


Best in Kitchen Design – Over $75,000
New Construction – Saratoga Springs, NY
Brookhaven I – Frameless Cabinetry
Door: Kitchen – Vista Plus and Pantry – Colony Recessed
Finish: Matte Eclipse on Oak and Alpine White Painted on Maple
Countertop: Kitchen – White Macaubus Quartzite and Pantry – Original  Soapstone
The design of Skyfall flows seamlessly, an organic journey that is magically connected to earth and sky. The central axis solidly anchors the design and it just unfolds from there. The sleekness of the interior selections, especially the kitchen cabinetry, has a very metropolitan feel which plays beautifully off the Cape Cod inspired lines of the exterior of the home. The coolness of the natural stone countertops in both the kitchen and pantry is warmed by the soft white pantry cabinets and rich tones of the rift cut oak kitchen cabinets. The result is an inviting sophistication…a perfect synthesis of urban chic situated in bucolic splendor.

New construction, in particular, allows homeowners to really prioritize what is important to them. Skyfall’s main kitchen, bookending the magnificent great room, is an ideal place to entertain long into the evening, necessitating an uber functional, separate chef’s pantry where all the prep work, cooking and clean-up takes place, out of sight.

Skyfall is a testament to refined elegance.

Kitchen over $75,000

Design-Best Bathroom Design-Over $40,000

Remodel – Troy, NY
Wood-Mode 42 – Inset Cabinetry
Door: Pavilion Raised
Finish: Vintage White
Countertop: Marble
Designer: Amy Van Wie
The ultimate spa master bathroom; fluffy white towels required!
No detail was overlooked and no shortcuts were taken in creating this oasis of tranquility that is the homeowners’ favorite room in their magnificent home. The completely custom nine foot vanity includes elegant tall wall cabinets. A tailored valance spans the entire length of the piece to cover the mood enhancing task lighting. Plenty of storage drawers and cabinets keep the magnificent marble countertop clutter free. A walk-in steam shower and spa tub complete the experience

Bath Over $40,000

Best in Bathroom Design – Under $40,000
New Construction – Halfmoon, NY
Brookhaven I – Frameless Cabinetry
Door: Bridgeport Recessed
Finish: Java on Maple
Countertop: Carrera Marble

A spa bath with a distinctive masculine touch. Plenty of drawer storage allows countertops to remain clutter free maintaining the clean angular lines of the vanity, sinks and mirrors. Plenty of natural light enhances the dark wood and the modern details of the shaker style door and square stepped toe-kick valances add classic refinement to the serene space. The eye-catching cabinetry hardware finishes the project with a bit of fun bling.