With the help of interior designer and HGTV personality Candice Olson, last week we formally announced the winners of the Thermador Kitchen Design Challenge.

Candice’s presence was a total surprise to the eight finalists who were flown in for an all-expense-paid, week-long celebration at our new Thermador Design & Experience Center in Irvine, Calif.

What wasn’t a surprise, however, was that the two grand prize-winning kitchens were sterling examples of the full potential a luxury kitchen has when outfitted with Thermador appliances. Take a look:

Morgan Keister, Traditional/Transitional category (Morgan Kofron, LLC):

Keister’s entry, from a residence in Paradise Valley, Ariz., achieved the goal of creating an energetic center of the home — which also happened to be her own. Keister’s design was created to entice guests into instantly gravitating to the kitchen.

Thermador products used by Morgan Keister:

–48-inch Professional Series Pro Grand Range

–48-inch Professional Series Hood

–30-inch Built-in Fresh Food Column

–30-inch Built-in Fresh Freezer Column

–24-inch Built-in Wine Column

–Built-in Convection Microwave

–30-inch Professional Series Convection Warming Drawer

–Star-Sapphire 24-inch Dishwasher

–Built-in Coffee Maker

Tamie Glass, Contemporary/Modern category  (Tamie Glass, Inc.):

Glass’ kitchen, the Ledge Mountain Residence in Austin, Texas, featured full overlay cabinetry that provided a natural fit for the Thermador Masterpiece Series while supporting the goal of incorporating a sleek and integrated appearance without sacrificing function and innovation.

Thermador products used by Tamie Glass:

–Masterpiece Series Steam and Convection Oven

–Masterpiece Series 30-inch Single Wall Oven

–36-inch Built-in Bottom-Freezer

–Masterpiece 36-inch Induction Cooktop

–Sapphire 24-inch Dishwasher

All eight finalists had already been awarded $5,000, and the two grand prize winners were awarded another $20,000 each. Additionally, two runners-ups were awarded $10,000 each. Here are their kitchens:

Jennifer Rowe, Traditional/Transitional category (Kitchens Etc., LLC):

Derek Byler, Contemporary/Modern category (Heart of the Home Kitchens):

These designers know what culinary enthusiasts need and have created stunning, yet functional hubs of the home that beautifully showcase Thermador’s capabilities in the American kitchen. We can’t wait to kick off our next 2012-2013 edition of the Thermador Kitchen Design Challenge.

Take a look at all eight kitchens here!