The DESIGN2012 Awards have been run and won, with Melbournite Patricia La Torre taking out the top prize of Certified Designer of the Year. Demonstrating its focus on the kitchen design market, Smeg Australia was the major sponsor of the awards this year.

Organised annually by the Kitchen and Bathroom Design Institute (KBDi), these awards recognise the best in interior design amongst members of the institute. In addition to industry recognition, winners of the three main awards receive a free ticket for the KBDi’s tour of Spain and Germany in May 2013.

Patricia La Torre’s winning kitchen design.

KBDi executive director Alex Milne with Certified Designer of the Year Patricia La Torre (OUTSIDEINSIDE Building Elements).

Patricia’s winning entry had the hallmarks of design excellence. Her clients, owners of a beautiful Victorian period home, sought an open design for their kitchen that acknowledged the needs of a young family and a lifestyle of constant entertaining. They wanted their kitchen to be complementary to a new and modern building addition and to be the hub of social activity, while not compromising on function. Heaps of bench space, easily accessible storage, privacy to the sink, appliances that could be quickly concealed, a pantry, storage for oils and spices in the cooking location and a bar refrigerator were all requested in the brief.

Eileen Middleton's winning kitchen design.
Eileen Middleton’s winning kitchen design.
Eileen Middleton (Eileen Middleton Interiors) accepting the award for Australian Kitchen Designer of the Year from Smeg Australia’s Tamara Buchanan.

Middleton successfully created a space that is sleek but casual: a real home with a real kitchen. Interesting and practical, all principles of kitchen design were incorporated: timber detailing adds texture and interest; clever use of lattice screens creates privacy and adds a graphic element; the splashback shows a different interpretation; and use of line in the island complements the floor. This kitchen has elements that draw you all around the room, material detailing is superb and the subtle use of lighting blends seamlessly with adjoining spaces.

Sam Robinson's winning bathroom design.
Sam Robinson’s winning bathroom design.
Designer Training executive office Julie Shaw presenting Sam Robinson (Royston Wilson Design) with the Bathroom Designer of the Year Award.

Sam Robinson’s clients especially wanted more light and a modern space, because the existing bathroom was cramped and dreary. A large window was added for natural light, and extensive use of strategically placed mirrors and a mirror ball over the bath provides more light and reflection. The vanity unit appears to float and the bench top protrudes through the shower screen to become a shower shelf. The drop-in bath has strong simple lines and all surfaces are seam free. A simple angled blade of glass delineates the shower area, with the shower head mounted flush to the ceiling.