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1st Place Transitional Award KDC 2013-14

Third time’s the charm with Mountain Bliss. Twice before, Mikal Otten has been a regional winner in the Sub-Zero, Wolf, and Cove Kitchen Design Contest (KDC). What made his Mountain Bliss project a global-winning design in the 2013-2014 KDC?

"My entries the other years were very much in the mainstream," Mikal says. "They were all Denver homes, in the 'white beautiful kitchen' vein. This kitchen was different – up in Vail, in a beautiful setting with a pond and other natural features. We were challenged to create a kitchen space that brought some of that natural feel indoors, and fit the relaxed lifestyle of the client's family." He is humbled by his win: "To be recognized by this panel of judges – people I've admired for years, real rock stars in the business – is amazing." But Mikal comes by his humility naturally. His father was a kitchen designer in the Minneapolis area, and as a child Mikal saw his dad working long hours – and loving it. "One thing he taught me is, don't ever settle. When you feel like you are at the top of the mountain, keep going. So I want to keep growing, keep challenging myself to take each project to the next level." "My dad is German and a super perfectionist," says Mikal. "It was tough living up to his standards. He came out for a visit not long ago, and was super impressed with our showroom at Exquisite Kitchen Design. We got to talking about how we the way we do our design work. 'What kind of measuring do you do, in the field?' he asked me. I said, 'I measure to 1/16 of an inch.' He said, 'I always measured to 1/32 of an inch!'"


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When you see "Mountain Bliss" and other kitchens Mikal has done, all multi-layered and full of distinctive finishes, you realize that he has inherited his father’s perfectionism, and that’s one reason he has become such a regional and even national force in kitchen design. But there's more to his success.

"It's all about relationships," he explains. "When a client is comfortable with you, they want you to work on all their projects. So I might do a house in Denver, then do a mountain house, like Mountain Bliss, then even do something out of the country – all for the same client."


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