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Kitchen Confidential

Sawhill Kitchens’ timeless approach to design and excellence

Sawhill Kitchens has a long history of custom projects. They started in 1971 as a custom furniture company focusing on tables, chairs and unique cabinets and “quickly evolved into a kitchen company,” says Matt Cook, the president of Sawhill Kitchens. From those roots, Sawhill grew to the full-service design-build firm that it is today. 

Sawhill Kitchens has been working in the Twin Cities for more than fifty years. That means they’ve had plenty of experience working in the many eras of homes that characterize those in the cities. “We want to design a space for people that fits the home,” says Matt. That can be anything from lacing hardwood floors together to make sure the new and old match to “taking the best elements of the home and pronouncing those features in a remodel,” Matt explains. 

Era homes are a point of pride for the Twin Cities, and being able to work with them and keep that character while updating is key. “Our philosophy when you work in a home is you want to take the original style of the home and design something consistent with that,” says Matt. 

Emphasizing the inherent elements of a home is a key aspect of Sawhill Kitchens’ design team. Sawhill Kitchens employs several designers to help customers create the spaces they actually want. According to Matt, the importance of designers “is not just their skillset, but the fact that they are really good at listening to people and listening to what they are saying to understand what they want.” Designers can provide options that customers didn’t know existed to make a customer’s home “actually work for the intended purpose of the space,” says Matt. 

One distinction Matt underscores is the difference between full-service design build firms and independent designers. While independent designers sell products and work with other general contractors for installation, full-service design build firms work across the entirety of the project. That difference has two major factors. 

First, when the independent design firms are working on a project, "they are very focused on the design elements of the project, but not as focused on how that design impacts the cost and feasibility of the build. They aren’t fully serving the budget of the customer,” says Matt. 

Second, because the contractors and designers aren’t necessarily working together as co-workers, the overlap between companies can cause problems with both communication and ownership of the project. When a mistake or miscommunication happens, the solution can be more difficult to reach and uncomfortable for all involved.

For a full-service design build firm, there is a cohesive team from design all the way through construction. The team has 100% ownership of the outcome and works rigorously to make it a success. “The goal is to make sure it’s always what’s best for the customer,” emphasizes Matt. 

Matt has been working in kitchens and remodeling for decades. He has seen trends come and go and explicitly works to create spaces not beholden to them. That being said, being aware of trends is part of the job. Here are some of the 2024 kitchen trends that Matt sees for the year ahead. 

While “the white kitchen will always remain popular,” says Matt, “the bright white kitchens are giving way to warmer colors with more wood and paint added to the mix. More color has come to the kitchens of 2024, and in particular, greens are the new blue.” To unpack that quip, Matt explains that blues have become popular kitchen colors over the past several years. The blue hues of 2024 have tones of green that have become increasingly popular. The eye for detail here is essential. 

When it comes to appliances, elevated countertop appliances are the name of the game in 2024. Combination air frying toaster ovens and sous vide machines are increasingly popular, as well as speed, induction, and steam ovens. Matt also mentions the importance of storage space, particularly cabinets. “It’s what’s behind the door that matters,” says Matt. Internal cabinet lights to see inside and elements that make storage more accessible, like pull-out corners, have also become increasingly popular. 

For more than fifty years, Sawhill Kitchens has been working in the Twin Cities on projects big and small to deliver the absolute best for their customers. That trend shows no sign of stopping anytime soon. 

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The goal is to make sure it’s always what’s best for the customer.